Arch 684: Competitions Elective


Bamboo Ideas Competition

Andrea Wong and Charisma Panchapakesan - Masters

Andrea Research Paper
Charisma Research Paper


2010 Bamboo and Rattan Ideas Competition
Category: Shelter
Charisma Panchapakesan & Andrea Wong


Bamboo's physical and symbolic connections to time are deeply rooted. In many Asian creation myths, it is said to have been the container from which human life sprang forth and time as we know it began. As the fastest growing woody plant in the world, bamboo is an important material and mythological symbol of longevity and the passage of time.

Like the bamboo plant, our societies today can be characterized by their rapid growth. Over the past decade, half of the world's population has found themselves in cities, some of which have almost grown around them overnight. When things around us are changing so quickly, one of the only things that remains constant is a common conception of time. Today, keeping time is more than a crucial part of our everyday lives; our timekeepers are extensions of ourselves.

TimePeace is a timekeeper for today that does not require commercial sources of energy; it relies solely on the life of a plant to power itself. Using an ‘earth battery,’ the growing plant supplies green energy to the mechanical clock, establishing harmony between the natural cycles of growth and the artificial measures of time. While the flowering of planted bamboo is typically a signifier of the end of its life, the blooming flower of TimePeace renders the bamboo stalk as eternal as time itself.

TimePeace is deliberately ambiguous about its reading, emphasizing that it is important that we control our time rather than letting it control us. This timekeeper celebrates the symbolic story of bamboo, its potential use in sustainable design, and its representation of strength, flexibility and integrity through transformation. Just as bamboo inherently represents balance, the simple and thoughtful construction of TimePeace symbolizes the balanced needed for a better life in a better city.

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