HOW WE GROW OUR OWN BUILDINGS
We believe in leaving the lightest footprint possible on the natural environment of Palawan. Through our Bamboo research and construction we have found ways to create lightweight, strong, resilient buildings using local bamboo varieties preserved using salt water alone. We developed a construction method adapted from our local fishing boat design.
We believe in sustainable development, allowing human’s to progress forward and improve standards of living by growing in ways that are in sync with the natural world.
Since 1990 Palawan has been a designated Unesco Biosphere Reserve, a place where the system of government is purposefully designed for the population to live and work in harmony with nature.
We have to study natures design and think of ways in which we can work with her instead of against her, she is our best teacher. We look for solutions to challenges by learning from the natural world which is the most refined design system, taking thousands of years to evolve.
Bamboo is one of nature’s most productive renewable resources. Most species grow rapidly and ready to harvest in three to seven years. Bamboo forests are carbon sinks and regulate water levels in watersheds.
We use different variety but we mostly prefer to build with the endemic Bayog, a smaller girth but have a thicker fibrous wall.
“Bamboo is truly a gift to humans from mother nature. We can build almost anything from bamboo.” Tao’s Architect Jack Foottit as developed a great appreciation for this versatile grass as a resource for the future. “If you learn to follow a few simple rules how to plant, harvest, preserve, cure and construct, people can take it into their own hands to create sustainable and inventive solutions for their built environment”
Bamboo is often seen locally as poor mans timber but we see consider it a serious building material. Through our bamboo research and experimentation we have found a way to construct lightweight, strong, low cost, highly resilient buildings using locally available species. We have developed a construction method adapted from the traditional bahay kubo native house and local fishing boat design, using only nylon and bamboo pegs.
Our construction projects include our iconic Foundation Center- possibly the largest bamboo structure in the Philippines; tuka huts for guest accommodation; and a bamboo school houses in communities along route. We have trained and now employ over 40 fishermen to be our Bamboo Carpenters. All building materials that we use are grown, harvested and processed by hand within a 50kms and use no chemicals.
“Bamboo fibre is incredibly strong and more flexible than any fibre in any wood,” Tao’s Engineer and bamboo craftsman Gener Paduga, who designed our signature tuka huts and spearheads our bamboo projects. “If you want to be a bamboo builder you must simply understand a few aspects of bamboo – from the age, species and perfect harvest time to how you cut and treat it.”
We follow the local methods in harvesting and processing our materials, in sync with the moon cycle and understanding other natural factors like burrowing bugs and fungus. We treat by soaking in the sea to get the all the sap out which attracts bukbok weevils, air dry to check for cracks under the sun as a natural grading process. Our bamboo building technology rethinks vernacular architecture in a modern context. Through these construction projects we are reviving native knowledge of bamboo by applying it to our building challenges of the future.