Industry leaders call for wider use of bamboo as a building material

Benefits include seismic resiliency and sustainability.

May 20, 2016 |
Industry leaders call for wider use of bamboo as a building material

Bamboo used as scaffolding. Photo: Andy McDowall/Creative Commons.

Architects and construction experts released the “Pittsburgh Declaration,” calling for bamboo to become a widely used building material for the 21st Century at a recent University of Pittsburgh symposium.

The declaration cited multiple benefits of bamboo including seismic resiliency after bamboo structures often fared better than buildings made from conventional construction material such as concrete in earthquakes in Nepal and Ecuador. Reconstruction in those countries is expected to include more bamboo building materials. 

The Declaration was a result of the “Symposium on Bamboo in the Urban Environment,” part of a US-State Department and UK British Council-funded Global Innovation Initiative project that is supporting the development of bamboo as a sustainable and engineered alternative construction material.

The Declaration makes several recommendations to ensure bamboo is harnessed more effectively and becomes a viable building material. A key issue is the development of international standards. Bamboo's use in modern structures has been hampered by a lack of formal standards and codes.

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