Auspicious Generation: The Bamboo LIfe Cycle of a Chinese Cultural Center

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Virginia Tech


This is an architectural thesis exploring bamboo not just as a material, but asking what the temporal nature of the material could mean for design. While bamboo is often considered sustainable because of its considerable growth rate, few really embrace the nature of bamboo. To exhibit this concept this project follows the line from source to destination, and from germination to structure; not representing a fi nished object in single moment, but an idea that spans time. To do this, bamboo acts as a catalyst for a cultural center. It grows and matures and is harvested, it changes the space; and as it is used, degrades, and fi nally taken down, it changes the design. From seed to opera house and back again to the earth, the cycle breaths continuous life into the site.

The project, located near 7th and H Street, NW, in Washington, DC is a dual program - both cultural center and public garden. The "bookends" or exterior buildings on the site are a balancing force to the ephemeral nature of the bamboo. The terracotta bearing walls buffer the peaceful inside from the outside. Their roles serve as stage to the street, gatehouse to the garden, and armature for the bamboo structures to be built upon. Their solidity holds in and allows the movement of time to ebb and flow with that of the bamboo grove.



bamboo, china, temporal, cultivate, culm