Universidad La Gran Colombia's architecture school. Students worked with professors to design and build the complex. We studied their ambitious, zealous design decisions and how they've held up over time.
Visiting Hacienda Eupen, the guadua forestry project of Elkin Castro. In the "Coffee Triangle" region of Colombia. Coffee, guadua and I all have the same preferences in terms of landscape and climate. We like cool, lush places that alternate between misty and sunny. We grow well near each other.
We wasted no time in getting familiar with the techniques of the trade, and were attempting our own joints by the end of Day One. Here, Akira makes a precise cut, at a distance of 3-5 centimeters from the end of a node, ensuring that the cut end of the bamboo remains strong. Fernand observes her work.
We were invited to take a tour of a private residence designed by architect Simón Vélez, a man whose name is synonymous with Guadua in Colombia. We studied his methods of joining bamboo to other materials, such as these gorgeous hardwood columns.
This August, I was very fortunate to be able to take a course with Building Local in Salento, Colombia on Guadua architecture. We began by acquainting ourselves with Guadua's taxonomy and its behavior in the landscape.
In its juvenile form, Guadua is covered in a protective sheath of triangular culm leaves, that can be cleaned of their fuzz and used as a leathery kind of parchment in various handicrafts. Rafa, our master builder-in-residence, displays the leaf, while Natalia, architect & one of our course instructors, does some explaining.
Meet my dear new friend Guadua Angustifolia Kunth, the most structurally robust bamboo in the world.
I spend a month this summer down in Colombia, studying bamboo architecture & building techniques using this monstrous grass. It's the largest bamboo indigenous to the Americas. People call it "vegetable steel". This is its rhizome.
One of our intentions for this trip was to collaborate with the children of Klub Obzevatwa in putting together a book describing their experiments with light, shadow & lenses in January '14. To this end, we presented the children with clusters of photos laid out on blank paper and asked them to fill in the pages with their thoughts and recollections - any context, feelings, questions, diagrams or drawings they wished to append to the photos.
We brought photographs from the January workshop in various formats, including some hardcover photo books we had printed for the occasion.
We met with Klub Obzevatwa each afternoon for a week. Our explorations with the children were organized around the theme of visual language - Alyssa shared her art practice with the children, Mike shared his abilities as a engineer to visualize structures and solve problems.
This August, we brought three non-organic telescopes with us in our luggage, and shared them with Klub Obzevatwa.