Hal Hinkle Embraces Bamboo for Building

At fifty-one, Hal Hinkle was winding down a successful career on Wall Street and he was trying to figure out how to spend his retirement. He owned some property in Oregon, and launching an initiative to reforest the area seemed like a great way to reduce America’s carbon footprint. He recruited volunteers and sponsors for … Read more

Monumental Bamboo Restaurant Complex in Vietnam

The Keeng Seafood Restaurant complex consists of conference halls, private dining rooms, a kitchen, and a bamboo hall. The bamboo hall stands out with its lightly curved boat-shaped thatched roof, supported by bamboo structures resembling fanning palm plants. The restaurant’s owner required the architects to design an impressive building that would become the hallmark of … Read more

Pushing the Structural Boundaries with Bamboo

The Luum Temple in Tulum, Mexico is a pioneering example of what happens when traditional wisdom meets modern engineering. It is designed to stand against hurricane winds and significant seismic forces. The structural system has five intersecting hyperbolic paraboloids made of bamboo arches and split bamboo beams. Due to bamboo’s lightweight nature, particular attention must … Read more

Using Natural Tree Forms in Buildings

The use of trunks or branches of trees in their entirety can accentuate their innate mechanical properties for structural stability. By embracing the grain structure and longitudinal fibers of timber, these wood pieces demonstrate strong mechanical resistance. Some engineering companies, such as Whole Trees, and architectural research institutes, such as the Architectural Association postgraduate program … Read more

Showcase of Natural Building at OUR Ecovillage

Freya’s House is an off-grid green building that showcases multiple natural building techniques from straw bale, cob, and rammed earth walls, to earthen floors, a green roof, and reclaimed, salvaged and locally sourced materials. It uses solar power for electricity, a legal composting toilet, and on-site greywater filtration. The house is located at O.U.R Ecovillage … Read more

The Ins and Outs of Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters vary in design, efficiency, capacity and price, but they all replace a good chunk of the gas or electricity used to heat water with clean, free sunlight. The three basic designs all have a way to collect heat, a tank to store hot water, backup heating for when your system can’t keep … Read more