Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Grow your own museico

The Nomadic Museum just opened the exhibition of Gregory Colbert's "ashes and snow" in Mexico City. This time, the beautiful building was designed by Colombian architect Simón Vélez. The 5,130-square-meter structure is composed primarily of bamboo and utilizes other recyclable and reusable materials that demonstrate sustainable practices and an innovative architectural approach. He also used the cargo containers just like Shigeru Ban did previously. I guess those are also used to transport the museum itself. But this time the predominant element is bamboo which looks spectacular!

de BoerVelez's design of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives ZERI in Hannover attracted a great response and became a source of inspiration for other architects like Darrel DeBoer, whose Gatehouse design plans are for sale at for just 'round a thousend bucks... I loved those little storage sheds on the sides btw! I guess that bamboos are a better structural solution than cardboard. They are at least more sustainable if you think about all the industrial processes involved in preparing the cardboard tubes.

risaraldaNot just structural, but bamboo also offers great possibilities for social housing. Decent affordable housing is not just a problem in developing countries: New Zealand is also facing a dwelling crisis. Houses in NZ are now the least affordable in the world! Where is the kiwi ingenuity to produce decent houses at decent prices? The "Affordable Housing Bill" is just passing the problem (and eventually the blame) into city councils. That same article in the Herald shows that the real problem are developers and the Master Builder's Federation, because they are focusing on medium to high end dwelling which has a greater profit margin for them, and leaving behind the social or "entrance" level housing. Of course expensive houses have greater profit margins!

bamboo houseToday we went to Parnell to have an ice cream, after Sir Edmund Hillary's mourners were gone. Anyway, I had a good idea while eating ice cream (it may have been the sugar rush): NZ should limit or cease the power of those nasty master builders, and give the chance for developers to bring their own workers from overseas. Then... forget all those stupid regulations and get creative into allowing new viable options... think and build (literally) outside the square! Just look at this extraordinary examples of social housing and amazing architecture done around the world (check out this virtual reality movie of Velez and Villegas). Velez is proposing to "grow your own home" using guadua (bamboo) also known as Iron grass/vegetable steel; likewise, I've been saying for a while that Kiwis could use all that sheep's crap to manufacture adobes to build sustainable and better insulated houses. Those are more or less the issues that John Key mentions as the constraints that are killing the building industry but the government is just too shy to act upon that in an effective way.

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