Final Community Shade2.jpg
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This project is a collaboration between students 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.

Background[edit | edit source]

This project is in 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.

Previous Las Malvinas Community Center Shade Structure

Problem Statement[edit | edit source]

The objective of this project is to design and construct a durable shade and rain-proof structure for the community center in Las Malvinas using local materials at a low cost. The end product must improve the utilization of the outside space surrounding the community center.

Criteria[edit | edit source]

This section includes all possible aspects thought up by the group members for this project as well as the community members of Las Malvinas and the directors of Practivistas Dominicana. These criteria were chosen to evaluate the project based on protection, locality, and durability. These criteria will help us to determine how much time, money, and effort should be invested in each aspect of the system based on its importance to the community of Las Malvinas.

Community meeting in Las Malvinas by current shade structure to determine community desires and criteria.
Community meeting in Las Malvinas by current shade structure to determine community desires and criteria.
Criteria Constraints Weight (0-10)
Costs must be under $400 USD 8
Aesthetics must be pleasing to the eye and look professional and natural 7
Durability must be able to withstand the test of time, light vandalism and misuse, and fire 9
Weather must be able to withstand hurricanes, caribbean rain storms, and caribbean sun exposure 10
Protection must be able to protect occupants from rain and sun 10
Locality/Maintainability must be made from local and accessible materials and be easily and cheaply repaired 7

Literature Review[edit | edit source]

See Literature Review for information relevant to this project.

Final Design[edit | edit source]

Our final shade structure was made out of a mix of different materials. The vertical structural posts and the truss system were made out of bamboo. The left side of the structure seen below was reinforced with wood 2x4s and the roofing was made out of corrugated zinc. The materials were fixed together using wire and nylon rope. On the right side, the bamboo trusses were reinforced with a wood 2x4 going across the top. The billboard canvas was wrapped around a 2x4 on each end and fixed to the roof using nails and staples. The ends of the 2x4 that went across the edge of the bamboo were lashed using wire. The billboard canvases were fixed to each other using vinyl glue.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

This is the final timeline for when things should be done.

Objectives Proposed Date Completion Date Responsible
Choose Project June 6th June 6th Team
Literature Review June 7th June 7th Team
Harvest bamboo, design discussion, community meeting June 8th June 8th Team
Harvest bamboo June 10th June 10th Team
Harvest bamboo, purchase materials June 12th June 12th Team
Demolition, dig post hole, purchase recycled billboards June 14th June 14th Team
Budget, timeline, final design, purchase materials June 15th June 15th Team
Prep bamboo for posts, finish demolition June 17th June 17th Team
Install posts, begin construction June 19th June 19th Team
Construction June 21st June 21st Team
Construction June 22nd June 22nd Team
Construction June 24th June 24th Team
Construction June 26th June 26th Team
Construction June 28th June 28th Team
Construction June 29th June 29th Team
Finish and clean up July 1st July 2nd Team
Presentation July 3rd July 3rd Team

Cost[edit | edit source]

This is the final cost for the completed shade structure in Las Malvinas. Initially, a budget of approximately US$400 was set, but as the project developed, and the true desires of the client were determined, a larger area was to be covered and the structure also needed to protect against rainfall, therefore the final cost was slightly higher than initially thought.

Quantity Material Source Cost (RD$) Cost (US$) Total (RD$) Total (US$)
1 Rope Ferreteria Americana 400.00 10.00 400.00 10.00
7 Wire Ferreteria Americana/Sauzo 40.00 1.00 280.00 7.00
14 Corrugated Zinc Sheets Ferreteria Sauzo 255.00 6.40 3,570.00 89.25
10 2x4s Ferreteria Suazo 400.00 10.00 4,000.00 100.00
4 Recycled Billboards Santo Domingo 333.00 8.33 1,332.00 33.30
20 1x4s Ferreteria Suazo 170.00 4.25 3,400.00 85.00
1 Tools Super Mercado Nacional 2,183.00 54.58 2,183.00 54.58
1 Tools Ferreteria Americana 2,000.00 50.00 2,000.00 50.00
6 Donated Zinc Sheets Eddie 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
1 Donated Steel Beam Eddie 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Total Cost (RD$) $17,165.00
Total Cost (US$) $429.13

How We[edit | edit source]

See a step-by-step process of how this structure was built and how to recreate a similar structure below:

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, we selected poles were darker green to gray in color, indicating that the poles were around 3-5 years of age. We 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 the community center, we cut bamboo to the appropriate lengths. We then made a concrete mixture to secure the poles into the ground surrounding the perimeter of the existing structure. Finally we inserted 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, we fastened steel clamps around the diameter of the bamboo and left to dry (may take several days).

Digging Holes

We then dug holes that were wide enough and deep enough so that the bamboo poles will sit securely in the ground.

Fill holes with concrete

We filled holes with concrete and left to dry for several days without disturbing the posts. We added 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 were cut into a wide 'U' shape so that the bamboo beams cam be put into place.

Setting bamboo beams in place

We 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

Laying down the zinc panels and secure with roofing nails.

Cutting truss.jpeg

Cutting bamboo to fit the top part of the bamboo pole to fit in to a truss for extra support.

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.

Lashing truss.jpeg

The wire for the truss was lashed with rope to ensure strength and durability.

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.

Billboard stapling.jpeg

Billboard is rolled around a 2x4 once, stapled, rolled again, and stapled another time.

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!

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

To make the maintenance of our project easier, various materials were left that could be used to keep the structural integrity sound. The vinyl glue used on to attach the billboard canvas together, rope, wire, and other tools were left at the Las Malvinas community center so repairs can be made in the event of degradation. The bamboo will need to be carefully monitored since it was used when it was still green and not coated with some kind of pest-resistant chemicals.

Schedule[edit | edit source]

Weekly[edit | edit source]

  • Check bamboo to ensure there is no cracking
  • Check bamboo to ensure it is not being attacked by pests
  • Monitor integrity of rope on lashed areas
  • Check to billboard to make sure it is still attached correctly

Monthly[edit | edit source]

  • Check integrity of cement on the bottoms of the bamboo structure
  • Check billboard canvas, reapply vinyl glue as needed
  • Re-lash any areas that have been degraded by weather, if needed

Yearly[edit | edit source]

  • Replace degraded zinc panels
  • Replace any weak spots in the structure with appropriate material

Every 2 Years[edit | edit source]

  • Replace billboard canvas if necessary.

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

Testing results[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.

Lessons learned[edit | edit source]

If the project had not been time sensitive, we would have used properly cured bamboo for the beams. In addition, we discovered that our first batch of concrete that we used to sink the posts into the ground was at an incorrect ratio of sand to concrete and so we surrounded the posts with chicken wire and made more concrete into a cone shape for better support of the beams.

Next steps[edit | edit source]

  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.

Team[edit | edit source]

The Las Malvinas community center shade team from the Summer 2014 program consisted of:

  • Baron Creager (Cal Poly Humboldt) -
  • Caitlin Faber (Cal Poly Humboldt) -
  • Caelidh Liddell (Cal Poly Humboldt) -
  • Marjorie Casado (UNIBE) -

References[edit | edit source]

See Literature Review

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors Baron Creager, Caitlin Faber, Caelidh
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Organizations Practivistas Dominicana
Language English (en)
Related 1 subpages, 38 pages link here
Impact 542 page views
Created June 7, 2014 by Baron Creager
Modified February 28, 2024 by StandardWikitext bot
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