Hsinchu City, Taiwan
CUHK DESIGN & RESEARCH TEAM:
Principal Investigator (PI): Prof. Kristof Crolla
Project Leader: Garvin Goepel
Video Designer: Julien Klisz
WORKSHOP & CONSTRUCTION TEAM:
Prof. Kristof Crolla, Garvin Goepel, Nichol Long-Hin Wong, Shuk-Man Lo, Jae Sok Surh, Tong Chen, Victor Wei-Chung Chien, Hui-Ting Hsu, Yen Lun Huang, Nicky Chung-Yu Hwang, Yu Chuan Lai, Tsung-I Lee, Mu-Huai Liu, Hang Yu Peng, Carol Yu-Jung Shen, Wa Bowe, Xin-Yu Wang
Project Location: Pei Ta Park, Hsinchu City, Taiwan
Exhibition Period: 29 June–22 July 2019
TOROO is a public art installation that challenges the limits of what is architecturally possible with bamboo splits as a construction material. It experiments with the combination of sustainable construction and local craftsmanship to produce a highly engaging architectural intervention that activates public space.
TOROO is designed and built by the research team directed by Prof. Kristof Crolla and Mr. Garvin Goepel at the School of Architecture of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) that is best known for its multiple-award-winning “ZCB Bamboo Pavilion”. TOROO was located at Hsinchu City’s Pei Ta Park in Taiwan where, as part of the “Fun Old Town” event, local volunteers assisted in its construction.
TOROO is a hyper-lightweight bending-active gridshell structure defined by an elegant and fluid bamboo line network. The project redefines and transforms the pre-existing site, a small outdoor public stage area, into an ephemeral place typified by varying levels of enclosure. Visitors connect to the installation through a playful and seductive dialogue in which the structure hides and reveals them as they navigate through and around its enclosure.
The material choice of bamboo was made because it is the fastest growing, carbon-sequestering construction material resource available to architects — far more sustainable than any wood species. Bamboo has been a vernacular construction material for centuries and is widely available in most rapidly developing parts of the world. TOROO advocates for the integration of bamboo as a viable structural material in today’s construction industry and highlights its most exceptional asset — its bendability, as a unique architectural design opportunity. Built from numerous thin bamboo splits, the structure is manually tied together following instructions extracted from a digital design environment. There, through computer coding, the project’s form finding took place using physics simulation engines based on natural material behaviour.
TOROO demonstrates how the combination of vernacular bamboo craftsmanship and digital design technology enables radically unique and spatially versatile architectural solutions rooted in local culture and sustainable building practices. The project illustrates the spatial versatility and practical applicability of a novel, eco-friendly tectonic system that is suitable for the low-tech, labour-driven construction contexts found in most rapidly developing parts of the world.