ZCB Bamboo Pavilion
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The ‘ZCB Bamboo Pavilion’ is a public event space built for the Construction Industry Council’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in the summer of 2015 in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. The design research of the project was led by principal investigator Kristof Crolla, Assistant Professor in Computational Design at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s School of Architecture. Prof. Crolla first studied Civil Architectural Engineering at Ghent University and practised in Belgium where he built his first project, House for an Artist. In 2005 he moved to London to attend the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA)’s Master of Architecture programme Design Research Laboratory. Following this he worked for several years as Lead Architect for Zaha Hadid Architects. He is currently based in Hong Kong where his work focuses on the strategic integration of computation in the design and fabrication of highly explorative and uniquely engaging architecture, with projects such as the “Golden Moon – 2012 Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Wonderland” and the “ZCB Bamboo Pavilion”.
Prof. Crolla strongly believes that we can do much more with our available craftsmanship and construction methods if we find ways to strategically integrate digital technology. For this project, the inspiration came from seeing the exciting work Cantonese Scaffolding craftsmanship can bring. This amazement, however, came with a frustration when realising the rather limited formal and typological repertoire Hong Kong’s bamboo structures cover. The research team therefore actively looked if a new building type and function would be possible when using bamboo, one of the most sustainable materials, in a different way. Bamboo is unique because of its great strength and unusual bending properties. With this as a starting point they tested and tried several ideas in an iterative series of physical and digital models until they arrived at their final design. This design maximally activates the plant’s bending properties and creates an exciting and unprecedented building form.
If we want design and architecture to provide us with better solutions for the built environment, then creative exploration and mindful experimentation need to be nurtured and facilitated as often as possible. The HKDA Global Design Awards does this in an excellent manner. CUHK looks forward to seeing it push its agenda even more strongly in the future as it will continue to grow in its role as an organisation for the identification and promotion of high quality design innovation.
The project is an unusual experiment, and, as with any pioneering project, this comes with numerous challenges, uncertainties, and risks. The ZCB Bamboo Pavilion would not have been possible without the great support, confidence, expertise, drive and motivation from all the people involved. Without a visionary client the story wouldn’t have started. Without the design team it wouldn’t have been shaped, and without the expertise from consultants, engineers, and contractors it wouldn’t have materialised. A labour of love from a passionate team of unique individuals CUHK will be forever thankful!