a multidisciplinary group of students from parsons school of design, in partnership with the new york city department of transportation, have built a solar-powered bamboo seating structure on the corner of 5th avenue and east 13th street, new york. this cooperative project is part of a citywide program launched by the department of transportation called ‘street seats’, where local partners apply to transform underused streets into vibrant, social public spaces during the warm weather months. the ‘bamboo seating structure’ is installed on the roadbed along the curb line to create an attractive setting for eating, reading, working, meeting a friend or taking a rest.

the structure creates a porous divide between the sidewalk and the road



the motivation for the parsons students to use bamboo comes from seeing its application in construction throughout many regions across asia. bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth and produces little waste when harvested. when used correctly it has impressive structural properties that can rival those of concrete and steel.

café furniture sits parallel to six bamboo benches that cantilever off the main frame



the design acts as a multi-level planter creating an organic separation between the road and the sidewalk while providing six benches that cantilever off the main frame. the structural framework is made from 360 pieces of vietnamese bamboo. the plants in this structure are suspended in 75 pockets made with recycled water bottles. this unique material provides a porous surrounding in which vegetation flourishes. the twelve solar panels mounted to the frame provide energy to LED lights embedded into a number of the planters. this solar powered lighting is activated by a sensor that triggers light to activate in the evening.

the structure houses 75 plants that hang from the frame in containers made from recycled plastic bottles



the whole project intends to offer a unique space of rest and tranquillity within the busy metropolitan environment in which it is located. the ‘bamboo seating structure’ serves as a role model for future sustainable urban designs and encourages the implementation of alternative materials that have a lighter environmental footprint than some of their counterparts.

the structure sits on the corner of 5th avenue and east 13th street

the temporary space creates a dynamic cultural exchange between students and the general public

in the evening the solar panels provide energy to LED lights embedded into a number of the planters

floor plan





designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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