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OA Bamboo House
Various locations, Malaysia
image: Virtual image by DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Location:
Various locations, Malaysia
Category:
housing
Phase:
construction preparation
Updated:
2 January 2023
We have created a bamboo framed house for the Orang Asli in Malaysia. This bamboo design will be trialled as a substitute for the steel framed models built to date. Our bamboo design features modularity, scalability, prefabrication and it is built with volunteer,  end-user and community participation. The OA Bamboo House will bring back the bamboo tradition and kickstart bamboo infrastructure/economy for the Orang Asli.
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Introduction
The surging price and inavailability of steel led to a search  for an alternative material. Bamboo became the viable solution and we are working for it to replace steel in the future builds. It is affordable, ecologically friendly and easily available. We wanted to show that tropical passive design can still work with bamboo as a base material that can be sourced easily and for there to be some sustainable return to the community's traditional connection to bamboo.
Epic has built 185 houses for the Orang Asli with their unique volunteer system and community participation. We see an even stronger community involvement now with bamboo where we can begin to create a bamboo infrastructure that can provide for this community and hopefully also become an economic pillar for them.
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Impact
Bamboo is a familiar and previously well utilised material in the Orang Asli culture and tradition that was being lost to urbanisation and other factors. This bamboo building model will provide and convince the community with a working example of a sustainable, cool (as opposed to hot) and naturally ventilated dwelling. End-users are able to personalise, augment and maintain their houses by planting or sourcing bamboo directly from nearby forests. SEAD Build actually impacts the community by teaching them to plant, harvest and treat bamboo for sale and for their own use.
With the design, we have deliberately made the layout flexible and reduced the walls to a minimum. We re-introduced a larger verandah to the house - this inside /outside space is essential as a family and also social space that has lost its place and meaning in many of the new social housing designs. 
The design allows for future expansion or revision giving opportunities to persoalise and grow the house as required. Off ground living by elevating the living and sleeping areas on stilits encourages ventilation and also recreates traditional ways of living for the users. Kitchen , Toilet and wet areas are located on ground.
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Core team
This project is a result of a design competition for a bamboo house. In addition to the Orang Asli (community and house beneficiaries) there are 3 organisations that are working on this:
- DB3 (Designing Better Bamboo Buildings) as the architect/design concept team (https://www.betterbamboobuildings.com)
- EPIC Homes as the social enterprise/ enabler (https://epichome.org) and
- SEAD Build as the bamboo technologist/builder (https://seadbuild.com/)
The Orang Asli community are consulted during the process of selecting the beneficiaries of each house and also for site locations and consultations prior to and during the build. The beneficiary couple and family are involved and participate in the build.   
The prototype build video we shared shows how EPIC builds its Orang Asli houses - a house build is done with their certified and trained volunteers usually 20 or more together with the Orang Asli end user and members of the local community. EPIC works on social participation and design.
SEAD Build is an established bamboo technologist working on many aspects of bamboo including land restoration, developing local bamboo infrastrcuture and supply chains and bamboo construction.
Better Bamboo Buildings is a platform for bamboo information and insights. Their design group DB3 won the design competition for the OA House and will work with EPIC and SEAD to develop this bamboo house model to fruition and to evolve the design as more are built.
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Image gallery
DB3 Competition entry - sheet 1

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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DB3 Competition entry - sheet 2

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Bamboo replacing steel 1

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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DB3 Competition entry - sheet 2

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Bamboo replacing steel 3

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Bamboo replacing steel 4

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Bamboo replacing steel 5

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Bamboo design & construction training

image: EPIC | © all rights reserved
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Bamboo Design & Construction training

image: EPIC | © all rights reserved
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Using local bamboo grown and treated by Orang Asli

image: EPIC | © all rights reserved
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Prefabricating truss forms

image: Ewe Jin Low | © all rights reserved
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Carrying truss forms 1

image: Ewe Jin Low | © all rights reserved
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DB3 Competition entry - sheet 2

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Typical scissor truss form assembly

image: Ewe Jin Low | © all rights reserved
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Use of physical model during build

image: EPIC | © all rights reserved
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Physical model guiding build

image: Ewe Jin Low | © all rights reserved
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Prototype completed in 3 days

image: EPIC | © all rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Prototype Bamboo Frame 1

image: SEADBuild | © all rights reserved
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Prototype Bamboo Frame 2

image: SEADBuild | © all rights reserved
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Prototype Bamboo Frame 3

image: SEADBuild | © all rights reserved
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Prototype Bamboo Frame 4

image: SEADBuild | © all rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!

There are no updates yet.

Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
We have run a competion to arrive at a bamboo design that . A prototype was coordinated within the group and then built to test out the design. We learnt more and improved the prefabrication techniques, the building sequence and also started looking at the plug-in wall, floor and roof components. We now require structural engineering expertise and funding for materials to build the first OA bamboo house for an already identified Orang Asli user.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
10% funding already raised
80% expertise already found
50% materials / equipment already found
100% builders already found
Finance: € 9,500
A structural engineer experienced in bamboo construction and also in steel connections to friction pile stumps (meg anchor) wil help us complete our detail design work. Also we require funding or contributors to purchase treated bamboo and other basic building materials like roofing sheets, cladding sheets, louvred windows. These will complete the list for us to commence our first OA Bamboo House build
  • Structural Engineer
1,500
  • Treated Bamboo
4,000
  • Other materials
4,000
Skills: Technique, Design
Looking for local or regional Structural Engineer to check on bamboo framing structure and also to collaborate/detail connection to steel friction pile stumps (meg anchor)
Stuff: Materials
Steel mega anchors
Wall cladding panels
Lourvred windows
Metal roofing sheets
Materials required

image: DB3 | © all rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!
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