Cubo modular bamboo housing is the brainchild of Earl Patrick Forlales. Manila, Philippines has a housing problem similar to many other cities around the world. Rapid urbanisation has caused people to migrate from their provinces to the city. Forlales’ vision is a Philippines without slums. Inspired by the traditional “Bahay Kubo”, he aims to provide a modern, affordable housing.
Over 1,200 species of bamboo exist worldwide. Bamboo has a higher tensile strength than steel and withstands compression better than concrete. Because of insects, humid weather, intense sun and heavy rains in the Philippines, raw unprocessed bamboo lasts up to 5 years. Treated bamboo can last up to 15 years. Engineered bamboo is bamboo that has been treated and laminated. They process this bamboo to produce slabs of wood, beams and columns. Engineered bamboo can last up to 50 years and has the density to resist high winds.
Materials engineers from MIT and Cambridge have studied engineered bamboo and they have found it to be a suitable alternative to conventional wood. For example, a mahogany tree takes 25 years to grow to a reasonable height, whereas bamboo displays the same properties and height of that mahogany tree in 3 to 5 years.
The Cubo modular bamboo unit is 12 m². Costing 7 times less than a similar unit built using steel and concrete. They can build these single units in one week at the off-site workshop. On-site they construct his unit in 4 hours.
The design lets heat dissipate through the roof, it directs rainwater into water tanks, breeze flows through the house to keep it cool and elevated flooring prevents floodwaters from entering the house.
We see the strength of engineered bamboo via Cubo’s multi-unit configuration. Below are pictures of a 24 unit communal home. These communal facilities help to foster a community spirit.
The focal point of this multi-unit home is a large communal kitchen and the communal dining area. Designated areas for laundry, toilets and showers are available at the rear of the property.
Furthermore, there are water tanks for collecting rainwater and a bio-digester for processing toilet waste and organic food waste. One hectare of bamboo can construct this multi-unit configuration.
Since bamboo grows within 3-5 years and engineered bamboo lasts up to 50 years. A farmer could grow enough bamboo for 10-16 units in the time it takes for this multi-unit structure to be unfit for use as a home.
The sustainable, affordable, efficient and renewable values upheld by Cubo modular are inspirational. We look forward to seeing this business expand globally.