Designing a Temporary Festival Structure Using Bamboo

Follow Hari Charan’s story of designing a temporary bamboo structure during the Bamboo U Online Course, for festivals inspired by nature, craftsmanships, and green building.

My name is Hari, I am a Chennai based multidisciplinary creative.I joined the Bamboo U Online Course as I was purely awestruck after coming across a segment randomly on IBUKU (on NHK world Japan or CNA).

I’ve always had an affinity towards working by hand, craftsmanship and sustainability however In my journey as a designer I often encountered a lack of openness and encouragement towards sustainable building. Bamboo U and IBUKU’s utilization of bamboo and design values resonated with me, and I decided to take a leap of faith.

In recent years I’ve grown passionate about the simplicity in things. In the way of thinking and of architecture. I am attracted to the ‘essence’ of things, and I am interested in the multifaceted knowledge of a material, wanting to discover the root of a material, its origin all the way to building a full scale structure.

Concepting The Bamboo Pavilion: Crabwise

My original idea was to design something collapsible, like a retractable yurt, or a tessellating system of smaller structures that come together as one big structure, holding a larger capacity of the crowd. My idea eventually evolved into designing a temporary structure for the Covelong Point Surf, Music, and Yoga Festival in Chennai, India.

A predominantly natural material pavilion, affordably built with local, sustainable materials and which I hope will invoke a sense of wonder in people, exposing them to these sustainable building aesthetics. My intention is for it to become a hotspot, promoting bamboo craftsmanship with contemporary ideas in urban spaces.

BAMBOO U - Sketch by Hari ChanBAMBOO U - Bamboo Model of Crabwise by Hari Chan

Developing The Concept Into a Bamboo Model

I was inspired by forms from the sea such as manta rays, whales, a shark, starfish, and more. I chose the form of a crab as it seemed unique and worked thematically. I created an abstraction of it exaggerating the head to provide a larger area of coverage.

Like a crab, the stance has its legs outward planting them in the sand allowing for maximum space under the canopy and with no disturbances from the structure holding it up. And providing an angle of rake that acts as a rear visor when positioned facing east cutting out sunlight and heat post noon (from the West) and also helps with aerodynamics and downforce as the beach is windy.

Taking inspiration from the gull wings of cars like the Mercedes SL300 and DeLorean DMC-12, I decided to make this a living structure. Making the structure stand on 3 or 4 legs and the remaining open upward increasing the overall area of shade to accommodate more people. The legs of the structure will be powered with pulleys and hydraulics to add movement to the structure. Bamboo splits will be used to curve out the required shape of the canopy’s base. The splits will be attached to this ring with bracket joiners forming the canopy’s frame. The lattice method was used for the canopy and this allowed it to retain the intended shape like a skeleton, over which weaving strips or haphazardly interwoven splits (the muscle tissue layer) would work well.

The course provided me with the tools and confidence in identifying which species to procure easily locally and that would suit the nature of a project. A combination of Bambusa tulda and Dendrocalamus giganteus are both locally available bamboo that we would investigate using for this project.

My favorite module of the course was designing with bamboo, it was refreshing to see new approaches to design.

BAMBOO U - Concept Development Process by Hari Chan BAMBOO U - Structural Model by Hari Chan

With each bamboo pole being different, making a bamboo model allows you to get a sense of whether something would work. This process allows you to work and play with intuition while using your hands and subconsciously applying all that is gathered over this multi-faceted and holistic course. In today's world information is cheap and often losing its importance, this course captured something true with knowledge in the new information age, which is winning half the battle. While working to design a better version of the world. And to “be like bamboo”.

BAMBOO U - Final Bamboo Model by Hari Chan 1

BAMBOO U - Final Bamboo Model by Hari Chan 2

Hari Chan
About the author
Hari Charan | Designer

Hari Charan is a Chennai-based multidisciplinary creative working close to 10 years primarily in space experience design. He enjoys hybridizing earthy, wabi-sabi, aesthetics and celebrating traditional values with minimal and functional modern, contemporary styles.

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