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close this bookAppropriate Building Materials: a Catalogue of Potential Solutions (SKAT; 1988; 430 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building materials
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building elements
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on protective measures
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of foundation materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of floor materials
close this folderExamples of wall materials
View the documentStone masonry blocks walls
View the documentRammed earth walls
View the documentCompressed soil blocks walls
View the documentBamboo reinforced earth walls
View the documentBurnt clay brick walls
View the documentConcrete hollow block walls
View the documentBamboo walls
View the documentTimber panel walls
View the documentSulphur concrete walls
View the documentWalls from agro-waste
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of roof materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of building systems
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

Bamboo reinforced earth walls


Special properties

High earthquake resistance

Economical aspects

Low cost



Skills required

Traditional earth construction skills

Equipment required

Bamboo cutting tools, formwork, tamper

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain


Resistance to insects


Climatic suitability

All except very humid climates

Stage of experience

Experimental and traditional techniques


• Rammed earth walls generally have low earthquake resistance, but with bamboo reinforcements this problem can be overcome.

• The examples on the following pages (taken from Bibl. 22.09) show traditional methods, generally known as wattle and daub (or "bajareque" in Latinamerica), and an innovative construction developed by Prof. Gernot Minke of Kassel College of Technology (Federal Republic of Germany) and implemented in a village in Guatemala (in cooperation with the University Francisco Marroquin and CEMAT, Guatemala).

• The traditional examples can also be built with low quality timbers, but bamboo provides straight components (for uniform constructions) and higher tensile strengths.

• The example from Guatemala combines the advantages of rammed earth construction (high density walls) and tensile strength of bamboo. The walls comprise a number of independent vertical sections, which are held together at the top by a bamboo ring beam. During an earthquake each section can respond to seismic forces individually, thus avoiding differential stresses within the whole wall, which can subsequently collapse. The roof rests on timber supports which are structurally separated from the walls, so that any wall movements will not cause to roof to collapse.

• Treatment of the bamboo is essential to avoid biological destruction.




Experimental low-cost earthquake resistant house in Guatemala (top: Bibl. 22.09; bottom: Bibl. 22.05)

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