Bamboo Sports Hall at Panyaden International School

Forests & Biodiversity

Promoting forest- and climate-friendly architecture by combining traditional construction materials with contemporary design and engineering

Project Facts

Chiang Mai

Applied Financing Solutions
Market-Rate Loans, Private Equity

Project Dates
Start: 2016
In operation since/from: 2018

The Story

Bamboo canes naturally have a high load-bearing capacity and higher tensile strength than steel. The Chiangmai Life Architects & Construction company’s philosophy is to integrate bamboo and other natural materials such as clay into mainstream architecture by showing that they can be designed to the needs of the 21st century and functionally can compete with common construction materials such as steel and concrete.

The architects’ bamboo sports hall for the Panyaden International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, demonstrates these characteristics, combining the traditional use of bamboo with contemporary, organic design. The 782 m² hall was engineered to modern safety standards of loads, shear forces etc. to withstand the local high-speed winds, earthquakes and all other natural forces. Its innovative structure is based on newly developed, prefabricated bamboo trusses with a span of over 17 meters that do not require any steel reinforcements or connections. Even all nails used are handmade bamboo dowels.

Unlike steel constructions, which cause a high amount of carbon emissions during production, the bamboo hall boasts a negative carbon footprint: The material has absorbed more carbon during growth than was emitted during treatment, transport and construction.

Success Factor | Hero Moment

One main inhibition for natural materials to be accepted as mainstream construction materials is the perception of the audience that they are poor people’s or antiquated materials. Bamboo has had the image of being a material that is easily harvested and used but has no strength and durability – easy come, easy go. But through modern science the company found that the material was better than steel once they understood its changing composition of starch and fibre over the lifecycle.

Bamboo is now seeing a renaissance. The company’s contribution was to create a reproducible and scalable bamboo construction component that can be calculated just like steel trusses and therefore gives mathematical credibility and replicability to the construction.

Chiangmai Life Architects & Construction, Thailand

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Innovation, Awareness Raising, Sustainable Building, Private Initiative