A 700 Euro bamboo and rice straw home in Iran


This 40m2 bamboo and rice straw shelter is in Ramsar, Iran. It is made from 70 young and still flexible bamboo poles, arranged along two semicircular segments at the base. Bundles of rice straw were used to thatch the roof. Rice straw swells in wet weather keeping the rain out and the inside dry. Conversely when itís sunny and hot, the dry straw lets air flow in and out keeping inside comfortably cool.


The shape of the shelter has good resistance to horizontal forces such as wind or even earthquakes. Houses made of bamboo have been known to withstand 8+ magnitude quakes. This shelter is about 40 m2 (430 sq ft) and cost around 700 Euro ($900) to build. It took three people with no particular building skills a day to construct. You can find out more about the structural design at Architecture in Development (AID).




Both bamboo and rice straw (right) are abundant in many regions of the world. Rice straw can be processed in to many building materials from thatch to particleboard. Bamboo is used widely for construction. Unlike wood bamboo has no knots allowing it to withstand more stress throughout the length of each stalk. It grows extremely quickly as you can see in the film below. 

  Bamboo can grow upto 1m per day  

Bamboo grows very fast


The high silica content in bamboo means it cannot be digested by termites. It has a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel and a higher compressive strength than many mixtures of concrete.