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September 2011 Meeting - Munir and Mittul Vahanvati: Explorations in Bamboo Construction

  • 19 Sep 2011
  • 7:00 PM
  • Ku-ring-gai Centre for Seniors, 259 Pacific Highway, Lindfield, NSW


You can Build with Bamboo!

Permaculturalists seriously need to consider using bamboo as an important and key building material in their designs. So says Munir and Mittul Vahanvati!  Munir and Mittul are PSN’s  September keynote speakers. They are very passionate about bamboo use. Bamboo has, prior to industrialisation, been one of the world’s major building materials. Now it is again coming back into use.  With increasing concerns about climate change and sustainability, bamboo is slowly making a comeback as an alternative material for products, furniture and construction. Bamboo’s amazing qualities are being recognised not only by the design industry but by many other industries concerned about mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and the overall human impact on the environment. Bamboo is ready to become one of world’s major building materials of the future!

 Munir and Mittul experiences with bamboo began in 2004 when they were introduced to this versatile material by Prof. M P Ranjan from National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad. They were fascinated by the structural capabilities and varied possibilities of bamboo. Both being from architectural background, they quickly realised the potential of bamboo in creating structures and buildings. The amazing bamboo structures by the master bamboo builders from Columbia like Simon Velez, Marcelo Villegas and Jorg Stamm instantly captured their attention and inspired  them to work with bamboo.

 Munir is an architect co-founder of Giant Grass and urban designer with more than 6 years of experience in bamboo. He is passionate about designing and using the natural form of bamboo to create rhythmic structures that create a play of light and shade.  Munir's first bamboo project involved teaching local craftsmen of Dang, the importance of design and creating market value by design. Since then his main focus has been on creating designs that are efficient, attractive and minimise labour input to maximise productivity. He has designed various products and structures out of bamboo and also likes to get hands-on making some of the products. In 2009 Munir presented a paper at World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok titled ‘Our Explorations in Bamboo Construction’. He has facilitated various community workshops and short courses at UNSW, University of Adelaide and University of Canberra. In April 2011 Munir conducted a series of bamboo workshops around Australia for Bamboo Society of Australia (BSA).

 Mittul, also co-founder of Giant Grass is an architect with a post graduate qualification in Sustainable Development. Her main interest lies in conducting active-learning construction workshops amongst community about bamboo as an ecologically and socially sustainable material. She has been involved in working with bamboo for past 5 years. She was introduced to bamboo by M P Ranjan from NID when she engaged in teaching basic design skills to the local craftsmen at NID-BCDI in Agartala, NE India. Since then, she has continued spreading awareness about design possibilities with bamboo with varied strata of people from craftsmen, tribal, community to university students. She aims at designing contemporary eco-tourist cabins utilizing bamboo in combination with other materials, and raising the standard of bamboo in design industry.

 Munir and Mittul’s website is at

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