bamboo trees project completed by building trust and atelierCOLE in laos bamboo trees project completed by building trust and atelierCOLE in laos
may 24, 2015

bamboo trees project completed by building trust and atelierCOLE in laos

bamboo trees project completed by building trust and atelierCOLE in laos
all images courtesy of building trust international




building trust international has seen numerous successful projects through completion in south east asia. they work with a strong commitment to using natural materials, sustainable design practices, and help found directly in local communities. through their efforts, they have re-vitalized tourism industries, and simultaneously instilled a sense of environmental pride and concern in asia, and abroad. most recently, in kuang si falls, just outside luang prabang in north-central laos, building trust and collaborator atelierCOLE organized the design + build workshop.

bamboo trees building trust international atelierCOLE designboom
‘bamboo trees’ in construction 




the program involved education and outreach through the design and construction of an outdoors, merchandise storefront for non-profit free the bears. the charity organization, officially formed in the 1990s, works to combat illegal trade of live bears, and provides sanctuary for any animals rescued at the tat kuang si rescue centre. south east asia has a long history of using bears — most specifically asiatic black bears — for traditional medicinal purposes. the storefront enables free the bears to sell items such as t-shirts and other goods, to continue their ongoing efforts in laos and beyond.

bamboo canopy introduces neo-gothic style architecture in laos




three fluted fountain-like canopies protect the wooden deck shop floor. if by chance it rains, their shape allows rain water to be caught and passed down the shape into each towers’ gravel-filled foundation. as with all projects, building trust worked closely with the local community, in this instance the khmu people. the venture was dubbed ‘bamboo trees’, a proper name derived from an all natural materials list including bamboo, weaved rattan, and thatched palm. in lieu of steel, the shapes are supported by rope — about 10 kilometers in total — which spirals around, weaving each piece together for a consistent, solid whole. 

roof canopy is constructed through weaving palm thatch into bamboo 

‘bamboo trees’ project, houses the merchandise store for free the bears

bamboo trees building trust international atelierCOLE designboom
local community help out on site

the structures were made without the use of metals, nails, or adhesives 

bamboo trees building trust international atelierCOLE designboom
local community help out on site to create the structure 

tat kuang si park, laos 

plan and foundation detail


bamboo trees building trust international atelierCOLE designboom



designboom has received this project through its ‘DIY submissions’ feature, which welcomes readers to submit their own work for publication. see more designboom readers submissions here.


edited by: nick brink | designboom

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