The Opportunities and Challenges of Using Parametric Architectural Design Tools to Design with Full-Culm Bamboo

Case Study: A Design for a Hyperbolic Paraboloid for Gutter-Less Rainwater Capture Using Full-Culm Bamboo
  • John Osmond NaylorEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 59)


Tropical developing economies are some of the most vulnerable societies to natural disasters, and by 2050, some 50% of the world’s population will live in the tropics. Tropical developing economies already have a shortage of housing which lacks structural quality, durability and is considered non-adequate. Tropical developing economies have an opportunity to utilise locally sourced lightweight natural materials such as bamboo. Computational design processes save time, which allows greater scrutiny of design options and the testing of various iterations. A challenge is in the use of computational design tools with their great accuracy, and the natural variability of full-culm bamboo. Architects will need to develop a synthesis between their current computational design processes and materials with natural variability such as bamboo in order to improve affordability, efficiency and ensure durability. This paper presents such a synthesis, and discusses a case study of an algorithm to generate a design for a hyperbolic paraboloid. This studies the capabilities of commonly used architectural design software, and observes the efficiencies and limitations of this process. The process embeds principles in the design which will increase the durability and buildability of full-culm bamboo. If we can develop these syntheses, as designers we can obtain tools which can increase the use of renewable natural materials with variability such as bamboo, and begin to meet the need for durable, functional and adequate housing in tropical developing economies.


Full-culm bamboo Parametric design Adequate housing Sustainable development 



Thank you to Osmond and Christine Naylor, Jane Wynne, Franck Vendryes, Doria Reyes Córdova, Ben Bridgens and Thomas Wortmann who provided insight and expertise, although interpretations, conclusions and any errors in this paper are my own.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture, Planning and LandscapeNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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