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Simón Vélez’s battles and strategies with Bamboo presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Italy Architecture News - May 31, 2016 - 09:48 8728 views
Colombian architect Simón Vélez presents his works at the Venice Architecture Biennale as a new way of working with bamboo by naming it 'battles and strategies'. Simón Vélez explains his exhibition with the expression 'matter is more sustainable than materials (less embedded energy)'. Simón Vélez is well known for having developed a variety of projects using bamboo. What is less known how many paths he has had to travel to be able to carry out such developments. Vélez’s fascinating works can be visited at the Giardini.
Image © WAC
Vélez calls bamboo the vegetable steel. It is an economical, renewable, extremely resilient, easily available material, capable of being used by people with very different building skills. And despite all these advantages, he has had to undergo indescribable struggles every single time he has tried to use it. He has worked for rich clients in order to subsidize himself and create new knowledge that can be applied when working poor clients. He himself has tested innovations, such as the introduction of concrete into the nodes to improve the structural capacity of the weakest point in the system.
Image © WAC
Vélez has lobbied for the use of bamboo in public projects because of its relevance to the place if compared to other, less appropriate materials and building techniques alien to the context. He has even tried to update obsolete building codes, highlighting the fact that new technologies and knowledge have improved the viability of this material and made it a competitive alternative for the construction industry. In this sense, each of his buildings is a small, discrete battle that has been won in a more general attempt to expand the benefits of this material -for the majority and for the environment.
Temple Without Religion in Cartagena, Colombia by Simón Vélez. Image © Hitesh Mehta
Top image © WAC