Chinese cities of the future could be made of bamboo

Rising canes, bamboo city, pendaPendaThe city of the future.

IKEA’s got nothing on this innovative architecture studio out of Beijing, China. Penda wants to develop an entire city out of interlocking bamboo rods and rope — rethinking sustainable design as we know it.

Bamboo grows commonly throughout China, and is considered stronger than steel and more resilient than concrete. But in Western cultures, we often perceive those smooth stalks of green as purely decorative. Newsweek once called bamboo “the most useful raw material ever to be overlooked.”

Penda hopes that one day, a modular system that uses bamboo as its primary construction material could replace traditional high-rises. These breathtaking CGI renderings will have you ready to hop on the move-in waitlist.

Bamboo has been called nature's miracle grass, because it's stronger than steel and more resilient than concrete.

Xia Zhi

Source: Newsweek

It also grows incredibly fast. It can stretch over four feet per day in the right conditions.

Xia Zhi

Source: Penda

Unlike trees, which can be harvested only once every 20 years or so, bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource. It sells for roughly a dollar per three feet.

Xia Zhi

Source: Discover Magazine

It was a perfect match for Penda's needs. Here's one of the first CGI renderings of the studio's futuristic bamboo city.

Penda

Interlocking horizontal and vertical bamboo rods form the foundation.

Penda

Rope is used to secure the X-shaped bamboo joints.

Penda

The beauty of using a modular structure is that it's highly scalable, capable of growing in every direction.

Penda

As an added bonus, the structure becomes stronger and able to take on heavier loads when new bamboo canes are connected.

Penda

For each bamboo stalk cut for construction, Penda proposes planting two new bamboo plants in a neighbouring grove. This allows them to keep down the cost of materials.

Penda

Source: Deezen

Penda has its sights set on China's Anji County, one of the largest bamboo export regions in the world, for its first settlement. The studio predicts it can build a home for 20 families in nine months.

Penda

As the community grows, so does the habitat. By 2023, Penda wants to expand the structure to accommodate 20,000 residents.

Penda

If the plan sounds ambitious, it is. But Penda's proof of concept should give hope to those rooting for these larger-than-life tree houses.

Xia Zhi

Penda debuted the Pavilion, made entirely of bamboo and ropes, at Beijing Design Week in October.

Xia Zhi

No nails or screws were used in construction, so the bamboo could be reused in future installations.

Xia Zhi

Rather than hiring out contractors, Penda recruited its own architects and staff to build the Pavilion so that the experience could inform future designs.

Hua Su

We can't wait to see what they dream up next.

Xia Zhi

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