Déambulons build Europe’s largest bamboo structure for Terra Botanica theme park

‘Oasis’ designed for the plant-inspired theme park in Angers, France, is a seven meters tall self-supporting bamboo canopy, which relies on braiding and weaving techniques.

by STIRworld Published on : Aug 10, 2020

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Europe’s only plants-inspired amusement park - Terra Botanica, the French architectural company of five, Déambulons was commissioned for a landscaping project in Angers, France. Housing over 2,750,000 plant species, the challenge required the architects to realise an installation at the visitor’s entrance, which fits within the larger context of the botanical theme park. Already having built a bamboo structure for the covering of the park’s footbridge, Déambulons proposed a similar self-supporting bamboo canopy called ‘Oasis’.

02 mins watch Oasis by Déambulons | STIRworld
Oasis by Déambulons Video Credit: Courtesy of Déambulons

The project covers a total area of 600 sqm and is seven meters at its highest point, claiming to be the tallest bamboo structure in Europe. The canopy uses 12 poles which flare out into mesh covering made of bamboo strips. The wavy mesh is made up of more than 20 km of bamboo - 1300 poles split into 5200 strips and braided together following a temporary wooden pattern. This unique building technique relying on random weaving and braiding offers a contemporary deviation from traditional bamboo construction methods. Moreover, weaving bamboo in this manner complements its elasticity that enables the structure to maintain an organic waving shape.

The organic, wavy shape of Déambulons’ Oasis installation | Oasis by Déambulons| STIRworld
The organic, wavy shape of Déambulons’ Oasis installation Image Credit: Arnaud Childeric - Kalice Studio

The primary objective of Oasis is to decorate the vast space it was meant to occupy. However, the architects saw the monumental project as an opportunity to highlight an alternate sustainably driven means of construction. While the tremendous scale of the project may imply a combination of a number of building elements, the canopy in fact employs only a limited number of materials in comparison to its dimensions. “Building with less and more natural material is one of our best goals to create sustainable designs,” relays Déambulons.

Details of the bamboo joinery techniques employed for Oasis | Oasis by Déambulons| STIRworld
Details of the bamboo joinery techniques employed for Oasis Image Credit: Arnaud Childeric - Kalice Studio

Locally sourcing bamboo from the south of France, Déambulons ensured that the carbon footprint of the structure was kept at a minimum. To further reduce the environmental impact, the material was left unchanged - after harvesting the bamboos, they were cleaned and split by hand and the strips were then soaked in natural oil. In this manner the architects used Oasis to demonstrate the structural, durable and aesthetic qualities of bamboo as a building element hoping to encourage its use in European architecture.

The crossing bamboo mesh of Oasis creating unique shadows | Oasis by Déambulons| STIRworld
The crossing bamboo mesh of Oasis creating unique shadows Image Credit: Arnaud Childeric - Kalice Studio

The design was developed though a number of iterations using a parametric 3D modelling software - rhinoceros. Producing a 3D template on the computer assisted design tool enabled Déambulons to calculate the complex curves allowing the organic structure to take shape. The software was also used to experiment with the joinery systems and accurately estimate project costs.

Aerial view of Oasis with its strip bamboo mesh covering | Oasis by Déambulons| STIRworld
Aerial view of Oasis with its strip bamboo mesh covering Image Credit: Arnaud Childeric - Kalice Studio

The dramatic curvature and scale of the installation contrasted with the delicacy of the bamboo slits, gives the canopy the appearance of “dancing lace”. The play of shadows and filtering of light through the crossing bamboos create an unparalleled experience sure to leave a lasting impression on the visitors of Terra Botanica.

Details of the braiding and weaving of bamboo | Oasis by Déambulons| STIRworld
Details of the braiding and weaving of bamboo Image Credit: Arnaud Childeric - Kalice Studio

Project Details

Name: Oasis, Terra Botanica
Location: Angers, France
Design: Déambulons
Sketches and formal researches: Louise Rué
Generative algorithm: SD4B – Hugo Pont
3D modelling of details: Anne – Sophie Gouyen
Landscape design: Terra Botanica
Construction:
Déambulons: Hadrien, Jonathan, Guilhem, Anne Sophie, Jean Baptise, Matthieu, Isabelle, Milan, Sylvie, David, Romain, Nicolas, Manon, Pascal B, Nathaneal, Hélène, Maeva
Supplier:
Laser cut of wooden patron: SML
Steel structure: DJ Métal
Shading sail: Socotex

(Text by Saamia Makharia, an intern at stirworld.com)

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