School of Architecture, CUHK

ZCB Bamboo Pavilion (Hong Kong)
by Prof. Kristof Crolla and
Prof. Adam Fingrut

The ZCB Bamboo Pavilion is a public event space built for the Construction Industry Council’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in the summer of 2015 in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. It is a four-storey-high long-span bending-active bamboo gridshell structure with a footprint of approximately 350m² and a seating capacity of 200 people.

It is built from 475 large bamboo poles that are bent onsite to shape the structure and that are hand-tied together with metal wire using techniques based on Cantonese bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship. The shape is a large diagrid shell structure that is folded down into three hollow columns. These columns rest on three circular concrete footings. A tailor-made white tensile fabric is stretched over the structure and is brightly lit from inside the three legs.

The project is the outcome of the concerted efforts of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and different contractors. It was designed by a research team led by Prof. Kristof Crolla at CUHK School of Architecture. The research investigates how computational design tools can be strategically inserted into existing construction methods to allow for a more engaging and innovative architectural outcome. The ZCB Bamboo Pavilion showcases this and illustrates how the endangered craftsmanship of bamboo scaffolding construction in Hong Kong can be expanded through the introduction of digital form-finding and real-time physics simulation tools.

The project’s design is based on an architecture student design internship held at the CUHK School of Architecture. The design was developed further by the research team in collaboration with structural engineers and bamboo consultants, using digital physics simulation engines, physical model making, and large-scale prototyping to derive its final form.

Bamboo is a widely available, environmentally friendly material that grows abundantly and at remarkably high speeds in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and the Americas. It is an excellent renewable natural resource which captures CO₂ and converts it into oxygen. It is strong, light and easy to process and transport. In Hong Kong, bamboo mostly appears in temporary theatres, scaffolding, or structures for religious festivals. Globally, it is usually applied as a surrogate for wood or steel, rather than in ways that utilise the material’s unique bending properties and strength. In contrast, the ZCB Bamboo Pavilion presents an alternative architectural application that maximises these latent material properties.

The pavilion is geometrically complex. Bamboo has widely varying geometric, dimensional, and performative properties, and the scaffolding industry does not use conventional architectural drawings for its intuitive constructions. Building the project, therefore, challenged the boundaries of the architect’s design control. In response, new methods were developed that merged precise digital design systems with inconsistent natural resources in order to deal with these unpredictabilities.

The ZCB Bamboo Pavilion promotes innovative and ecological architectural design to the broader public and design community. It will be used to host exhibitions, performances and events that advocate low carbon living, construction, and development. By promoting sustainable, light-weight building methods for large span architecture, the project seeks ways for traditional Cantonese craftsmanship to evolve for the 21st century.

Project Client: Zero Carbon Building of the Construction Industry Council
Project Location: 8 Sheung Yuet Rd, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong



  • Principal Investigator (PI): Prof. Kristof CROLLA
  • Co-Investigator (Co-I): Prof. Adam FINGRUT
  • Research Assistants (RA): Mr. IP Tsz Man Vincent and Mr. LAU Kin Keung Jason
  • Consultants: Dr. Goman HO and Dr. Alfred FONG (Structural Engineering), Mr. Vinc MATH (Bamboo Consultant)
  • Authorised Person (AP): Mr. Martin TAM
  • Registered Structural Engineer (RSE): Mr. George CHUNG
  • Project Documentation: Mr. NG Ka Hang Kevin (Photography and Videography), Grandy LUI and Michael LAW (Photography), Mr. Ramon VAN DER HEIJDEN (Drone Photography)
  • Video Designer: Mr. Julien KLISZ


  • Executive Director, CIC: Dr. Christopher TO
  • Publicity, ZCB: Ms Yan IP
  • Technical Services, ZCB: Dr. Margaret KAM


  • Bamboo Design Workshop (9 to 20 June 2014, CUHK School of Architecture): CHAN Wai Kan Wilkin, Chi To Leung Mark, Chan On Ki, CHENG Man Lai Karen, DU Qiongwei Winnie, CHAN Hansen, HO Chun Sing Jason, WAI Hon Lam Joshua, TO Hon Yin Ernest, YAM Ka Kit Kevin, YIM Yu Ching Ben, HO Yuen Ling Elaine
  • 1 to 4 Scale Prototype Construction Workshop (23 April to 4 May 2015, CUHK): Students from the CUHK School of Architecture: CHOI Lai Fei, IP Wan Chin Sharon, LA Chu Tung Jetson, NGAN Wing Sze Gillian, SO Ling Sum Evangeline, WONG Laipan Elpis, YUEN Suet Ying Circle. Participants from the CIC Sheung Shui Training Centre: Mr. TANG Sung Yuen, Mr. CHOW Kin Fai (Instructors), IP Wai Nok Calvin, AU Leong Kai Kong, YIP Ka Leong, CHAN Kai Mo, HUI Wai Kit, LAM Wai To (Trainees)


  • Main Contractor: W.M. Construction Ltd.
  • Bamboo Construction: Sun Hip Scaffolding Eng. Co., Ltd.
  • Fabric Contractor: Ladden Engineering Ltd.
  • Lighting: CONA Technology Co. Ltd. and Brandston Partnership Inc.


  • Taiwan Design Centre, 2016 Golden Pin Design Award, Category: Spatial Design
  • HKDC Design for Asia Awards 2016, Silver Award
  • Hong Kong Green Building Centre, Green Building Awards 2016, Research and Planning Category, Merit Award
  • World Architecture Festival, Berlin, Germany: Small Project of the Year 2016 for ‘ZCB Bamboo Pavilion’
  • 2016 A&D Trophy Award, Architecture & Design Awards Asia-Pacific, Best of Category: Architecture (Professional) – Green or Sustainable Build
  • Japanese Institute of Design Promotion, G-Mark 2016, “GOOD DESIGN BEST 100”
  • 2016 Successful Design Award, Most Successful Design Award, SPACE category
  • HKDA Global Design Awards 2016: Hospitality & Entertainment Space – Hong Kong Best Award
  • HKDA Global Design Awards 2016: Hospitality & Entertainment Space – Judges’ Choice Award
  • HKDA Global Design Awards 2016: Hospitality & Entertainment Space – Gold Award
  • Architizer 2016 A+Award Special Mention, Typology Categories | Cultural: Pavilions
  • Architizer 2016 A+Award Finalist, Plus Categories | Concepts: Architecture + Sustainability
  • Architizer 2016 A+Award Popular Choice Award, Plus Categories | Concepts: Architecture + Engineering
  • Architizer 2016 A+Award Jury Winner, Plus Categories | Details: Architecture + Wood
  • Asia Pacific Property Awards 2016-2017 – 5 Star Award for Best Leisure Architecture Hong Kong

The CUHK project research was partially supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China (Project No. CUHK24400114).

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