Spirited Bamboo, Caribbean Islands

Resilient Homes Design Challenge Competition – Caribbean Design

In Collaboration with:  AKT II – Structural and civil engineering; Hitesh Mehta, HM Design, an eco-design expert

AWARDS: World Bank Organization 2018 – Resilient Homes Design Challenge Winner; AIA Miami 2019 – Award of Excellence in Unbuilt Design; AIA Florida 2020 – Honor Award for Unbuilt Architecture


Natural disasters are on the rise. Since 1990, natural disasters have affected on average 217 million people every single year. Hundreds of floods, storms, heat waves and droughts have left about 606,000 people dead and 4.1 billion injured or homeless around the world since 1995.


In order to tackle the refugee crisis that these disasters trigger, Build Academy partnered with The World Bank and the UN Habitat as sponsors for a Resilient Home Challenge.  Our Spirited Bamboo was one of nine winning entries of a worldwide competition with over 3,000 participants.


The proposed dwelling is fabricated in its majority out of bamboo, a low cost, highly sustainable and renewable building material, widely available worldwide, lightweight, durable, flexible, easily cultivated and harvested. 

A simple guadua bamboo framed structure with innovative low-cost and low technology joints, rests on concrete piers and is elevated off the ground for maximum resilience in areas of flooding. With reinforced joints, the seismic resistant structure can also sustain high hurricane winds.

Large overhangs protect the dwellings from the elements. Open and screened clerestories coupled with a double roof air space provide solutions for natural cooling and air ventilation.


Building community through involvement from the onset of parcel layout and construction of the prototypes is one of the primary goals of the project.  Through participation and collaboration, a sense of community and participatory growth can be fostered. New inhabitants can be easily absorbed through ease of assemblage and sourcing of materials on- site, specifically, the guadua bamboo grove in the rear of the structures.


The low budget dwelling is affordable and proposes agricultural yards for farming and on-site food sourcing. With the fast growth of bamboo, the bamboo groves behind each dwelling provide onsite materials for maintenance and future dwellings.


The Spirited Bamboo prototype provides a dignified dwelling for displaced victims of natural disasters. The homes provide flexibility for growth and individualization of homes through colors and screen designs.

Residents will have a place to call home and grow their families, inspiring them to build community and create self-sustaining futures.

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