An international partnership involving BE-ST has resulted in the construction of the world's-first bamboo-timber composite gridshell structure in China.
In 2021 lead partner Edinburgh Napier University brought in the local expertise of Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) and transnational resources from the International Bamboo & Rattan Organisation (INBAR) to construct a 2.4m x 2.4m gridshell prototype structure for COP26.
The research aimed to combine fast-growing bamboo and softwood timber together to create high-strength, lightweight, economical and sustainable construction materials to replace the use of concrete and steel within the built environment.
The project team then went on to secure British Council and the Turing Scheme UK funding in 2022 to make the project go even more international. The construction management team from Guangxi University of Science & Technology and the architecture team from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology were brought in help deliver a full-scale build in Guangxi, China.
The structure was assembled by the student groups from three universities, supervised by academics. The finished 12x12m gridshell is formed by five layers of laminated bamboo and timber laths.
Team BE-Napier were nominated for the Youth Champion Award at the 2023 Holyrood Climate Action Awards for their work on the Bamboo Timber Composite Gridshell project. The project team is also applying for the Guinness world record title for the world’s first bamboo-timber composite gridshell.
The project placed a lot of emphasis on incorporating climate justice into the classroom, by empowering young people to promote sustainability and combat climate change by assembling a cross-institutional team and using sustainable construction methodology to create the Gridshell.