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How to build a bamboo shade structure
The client at hand is the community of Las Malvinas in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They have requested that a rain/shade structure be built by Practivistas Dominicana at their local community center (Estacion Ecological Comunitario) between May-July 2014. Three of the students working on the project are from Humboldt State University in California and one student from Universidad Iberoamericana in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After a community meeting was held, it was determined that the structure should be able to protect from rain as well as sun so the community could hold meetings, classes and workshops in comfort. Community members voiced their opinions that aesthetics, durability, and locality of materials were some of their main concerns in regards to the construction of the structure. Bamboo and palm fronds are some of the possible local materials that could be utilized.
Building a Bamboo Shade Structure
These are the instructions for the assembly and construction of a bamboo shade structure designed by students enrolled in the Practivistas Dominicana Program in the Dominican Republic. The shade structure consists of bamboo, upcycled billboard tarps and flattened steel drums. Instructions are included below.
How To Build
Before building with bamboo, it is advised to research techniques and recommendations for appropriate season for harvesting as well as methods of harvesting and drying. (For our project we used bamboo that was still partially green which is not desirable but was necessary based on time and resource constraints).
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This is the proposed draft budget for the shade structure.
|Quantity||Material||Source||Cost (RD$)||Total (RD$)||Rope||Las Malvinas||400.00||400.00|
|20||Corrugated Zinc Sheets||Las Malvinas||1,000.00||1,000.00|
|3||Recycled Billboards||Billboards 'R Us||333.00||1,000.00|
|15||Recycled 55gal Drums||Arroyo Norte||300.00||4,500.00|
The bamboo used during this construction was not fully dried or cured and more preparation of the culms is highly desirable. However, this structure was secured using only lashing on the bamboo and not using nuts or bolts in the still drying bamboo. This type of securing will prevent cracking that would have occurred if hardware were to be used at the joints. Holes were drilled in the bamboo posts to secure the 2x4s and bamboo beams through lashing. Further inspection in the future is necessary to check if cracking has occurred.
1. Testing the bamboo for moisture content while watching its durability and strength to determine whether the drying time was sufficient or whether it was an issue in maintaining the integrity of the structure over time. 2. Adding more bamboo support beams under the billboard so the vinyl will lay more flat. 3. Checking the vinyl to ensure there has not been tears in the panels.
The finished shade structure consisted 2x4s lashed to bamboo poles which were filled with concrete and rebar and then sunk into holes in the ground filled with concrete. On one side of the fogon corrugated zinc panels were installed, and on the other side of the fogon the team built a bamboo truss. The team installed billboard vinyl panels over the bamboo truss by nailing down the vinyl to the zinc roof, and at the other end of the panel the team lashed onto the bamboo posts. On the side of the fogon with the billboard vinyl, it will be necessary to install more bamboo support beams underneath the vinyl to ensure its security and flatness.
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