Our Thanksgiving Weekend at the Bamboo Center

Want to know how we spent our Thanksgiving?

Thursday was the second day of a four-day workshop at the Auroville Bamboo Center where we learned about the wonders of bamboo and designed and constructed a real structure.  And the whole time a magnificent turkey strutted around the grounds with his harem in tow.  How fitting.  Please note that we did NOT eat turkey that day nor meat on any day for that matter.


Amelie joined us for the workshop as well as Sumitra, a young architect from Bangalore.  The Bamboo Center has a wealth of structures from previous workshops (see below). Our assignment was to design and build a bathroom. Design by committee can be stressful and we had very little time but I think we came up with a good plan incorporating a little of everyone’s ideas. Gerard created a 3D model in Sketchup the first evening, so helpful to picture what we were talking about, to develop a material list, and to get started.

We each made our own fish mouth joint using a giant drill bit, making our own bamboo nails, sawing off the extra ends – a great skill. I have proudly saved my completed piece.


We learned how to straighten the bamboo pieces, with intense heat and pressure.

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See the structure take shape.

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I spent a lot of time at the chop saw cutting bamboo rings for two different wall treatments.  We did not get this part done during the four day workshop but Amelie and I went back to finish with the staff.

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Our teacher was a young Frenchman named Florent, smart, earnest and very helpful to us all through the process. We are not experts now but know enough to build many different things. The structures you can build with bamboo are creative and beautiful. Bamboo is the material of the future – grows fast, absorbs vast quantities of carbon as it grows, you can use it in different ways for every element of building and it is stronger than steel.

Here is a sampling of creative bamboo structures:

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Larson
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 03:41:39

    Love, love seeing you all in action! So good to get your phone message! xo J


  2. Donna Krasnow
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 04:08:09

    Amazing! The skills you are learning . . .


  3. Barry Reeves
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 23:47:01

    It looks like you are having so much fun!


  4. Kylie
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 06:20:11

    Oh my gosh! This post makes me happy for so many reasons, not least of which is seeing a picture of you. Will you teach Mark and me how to make a bamboo structure??


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