Manizales / Zeri Pavilion - bamboo construction with German building permit

by Katleen De Flander

Project by: Simon Vélez and Marcelo Villegas for ZERI
Project Name: Zeri Paviion
Project Links: ZERI , Marcelo Villegas

Bamboo Guadua ZERI pavilion Manizales Colombia

This 2000 square meter bamboo pavilion by Simon Vélez and Marcelo Villegas was constructed for the ZERI Foundation (Zero Emmissions Research and Initiative) at the Expo Hanover 2000. To obtain a German building permit, the pavilion was first constructed in Manizales, Colombia to undergo a series of scientific tests on a 1:1 scale and then in Germany where the tests were repeated. The structure, joining 4500 bamboos, was erected by 41 Colombian wood workers in an impressive ‘less than three months’. The ZERI pavilion received 6,4 million visitors during the 5 month expo.

Bamboo Guadua ZERI pavilion Manizales Colombia

I have a great passion for bamboo since I believe it has a huge potential as THE renewable construction material of the future. The goal of ZERI constructing this pavilion was: “to change the image of bamboo since the majority of the estimated one billion people who use this readily available building material consider it to be a symbol of poverty. The intention of this project was to create a unique structure that would instill pride in and stimulate the use of this abundant, fast-growing construction material.”

I actually wrote my thesis on this subject and although I absolutely appreciate and admire round bamboo constructions for its beauty and strength, I believe that the great future of bamboo lies in its standardised use as laminated structural construction material. Compare it with the evolution of wood construction that went from log buildings to a highly standardised use making multiple-story buildings. I am sure that I will come back to this topic later in this blog.

Bamboo Guadua ZERI pavilion Manizales Colombia

Picture credits: Katleen De Flander

Recommended book: Grow your own House. Jean Dethier, Walter Liese, Frei Otto

Published on 29. August 2011
by Katleen De Flander


a reference blog on resources, urbanisation and transformation


The driving thought behind this BLOG is that we are in the need of a major transition in thinking and we need to get inspired. We have to approach ‘living’, ‘moving’, ‘using’, ‘creating’ in a different way. Many designers, urban planners, architects and other creative people are frontrunners for change and frontrunners need to be appreciated and shared.

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The team

Katleen De Flander
Katleen De Flander
Urban Environmental Research
Architect | Urbanist | Project Curator
Juan Pablo Ayala-Cortés
Juan Pablo Ayala-Cortés
Industrial Designer
Social Scientist


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