Use of bamboo in house design is limited to two extremes: either as temporary low-cost homes in poor, mainly rural areas, or as one-off houses located almost invariably in beautiful exotic sites and locations. In this proposal, the underlying idea is to demonstrate that it is possible to build permanent and comfortable contemporary homes in urban and suburban areas for the masses using local natural material such as bamboo. It intends to propel the idea of bamboo as a modern and everyday construction material just like bricks, steel or concrete.
The proposal references a typical terrace house built across Malaysia characteristic of 22 feet wide frontages that overlooks out to the street. Bamboo culms are used to hold up the floors and the roof as they span between the party walls. The party walls are full height masonry barriers between individual homes which adheres to the fire safety requirement to prevent spread of flame across terraces. The main structure is wholly bamboo except for the bathroom enclosures where they are prefabricated lightweight concrete units used to contain the wet areas and keep moisture away from the structural bamboo components. Internal and external walls are lightweight bamboo composite board system, whereas floors will be covered with engineered bamboo floorboards.
The bamboo structural frames will be pre-fabricated, mass-produced and flat-packed, to reduce costs and environmental impact, by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during construction. This would allow for higher standards of bamboo jointing and finishing quality and ease of assembly at site. Modularization and prefabrication can also help keep the cost of building bamboo terrace homes much lower that standard construction methods.