Las Malvinas current shade.jpg
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Project data
Type Bamboo construction
Alternative building
Authors Baron Creager
Caitlin Faber
Caelidh Liddell
Marjorie Casado
Location Dominican Republic, Las Malvinas, Santo Domingo
Years 2014
Cost DOP 15,683
OKH Manifest Download

This project is a collaboration between students enrolled in the Practivistas Dominicana Program and the rural community of Las Malvinas in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The community center in Las Malvinas currently functions as a space for the community to hold meetings and workshops; however, the lack of a durable shade and rain-proof structure along the outside of the building has prevented the community from being able to use the space when weather conditions are too hot or too rainy.

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 Cal Poly Humboldt 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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).


Removing the previous damaged shade structure

Harvest Bamboo

When harvesting bamboo, select poles that appear darker green to gray in color, and around 3-5 years of age. Cut just above the culm closest to the ground with a machete, and gently set bamboo on the ground to divide into desirable sizes.

Bamboo, Concrete, & Rebar

After taking proper measurements for the location of your desired shade structure, cut bamboo to appropriate lengths. Make a concrete mixture to secure the poles into the ground surrounding the perimeter of the existing structure. Insert rebar into the center of the bottom culm and ensure that the concrete is inside the entire bottom culm.

Secure bamboo with steel clamps

When concrete is in the entire bottom culm, fasten steel clamps around the diameter of the bamboo and leave to dry (may take several days).

Digging Holes

Dig holes that are wide enough and deep enough so that the bamboo poles will sit securely in the ground.

Fill holes with concrete

Fill holes with concrete and leave to dry for several days without disturbing the posts. (You may need to add supports on the side of the beams to prevent tilting).

All posts are up

Once all the supporting posts are up and cemented into place, they are allowed to dry for several days before beginning construction.

Bamboo Beams Installation

The tops of the bamboo columns are cut into a wide 'U' shape so that the bamboo beams cam be put into place.

Setting bamboo beams in place

Set the beams in place and drill holes in the bamboo to secure with wire (we also used 2x4 beams because we needed install corrugated zinc metal sheets on the roof).

Bamboo 2x4 Frame

Installing the 2x4 beams in preparation for the zinc roof.

Bamboo zinc.jpeg

Lay down the zinc panels and secure with roofing nails.

Bamboo Truss

On the other side of the structure, we built a truss. The bottom bamboo pole has been cut to lock in with the pole on top. Wire was used to secure the poles together.

Bamboo 2x4 truss

Truss is attached to a 2x4 beam in the center.


Measuring billboard, rolling and stapling across a 2x4 beam to attach to existing zinc roof and bamboo posts.

Attaching billboard

Billboard is attached to a 2x4 beam using a staple gun and then the beam is nailed into the zinc roof.

Attaching billboard panels with glue

Billboard is attached to another panel using vinyl glue.

Bamboo Finished Project

The finished project!

Video[edit | edit source]


Design[edit | edit source]

Costs[edit | edit source]

This is the proposed draft budget for the shade structure.

Quantity Material Source Cost (RD$) Total (RD$)
Rope Las Malvinas 400 400
15 Wire Arroyo Norte 140 140
20 Corrugated Zinc Sheets Las Malvinas 1,000 1,000
15 2x4s Arroyo Norte 2,000 2,000
3 Recycled Billboards Billboards 'R Us 333 1,000
15 Recycled 55gal Drums Arroyo Norte 300 4,500
1 Tools Nacional 2,183 2,183
1 TBD Santo Domingo 8000 8000
Total Cost $15,683

Next steps[edit | edit source]

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.

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

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.

Contact details[edit | edit source]

  • Baron Creager:
  • Caitlin Faber:
  • Caelidh Liddell:
  • Marjorie Casado:
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