AT  HOME  WITH  KAY  JIMENEZ:  BAHAY  KUBO  GOES  BAMBOO

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 23, 2009
(STAR) SUCCULENTOPHILE By Kevin G. Belmonte - Designed by architect Angel Lazaro Jr., Carolina Bamboo Garden founder Kay Jimenez’s bahay kubo in Antipolo is a unique all-bamboo structure with its roof covered with pawid to protect it from birds. A green fishing net holds the pawid down during storms and helps keep the balag in place. The balag prolongs the lifespan of the pawid. | Zoom It’s not your usual bahay kubo. It’s not your normal building material either — or architect. When my Tita Kay Jimenez, director and founder of Carolina Bamboo Garden, built her house in Antipolo, she naturally turned to the thing she loves most — bamboo.

“The architecture is unique and never will you see this one and only roof — hyperbolic paraboloid or a curved surface generated by a straight line moving along two non-parallel, non-intersecting straight lines — and its hanging bamboo stairs,” Tita Kay says. She adds that the steps can support a stomping 200-lb. man without causing any vibration and can carry a load of up to 400 lbs.

Ninety-one-year-old architect Angel Lazaro Jr. designed the house and he says it was “not easy to supervise the actual construction.” But it was a fast one — built in two months at a cost of P572,865. And you can save more with this type of house, he says, if ordinary cement tiles are used instead of bamboo parquet tiles.

Why Tita Kay built a bamboo house with all the materials sourced from Carolina Bamboo Garden is to understand her love of bamboo. “The house supports my slogan ‘plant bamboo, and you grow your house,” she says.

Tita Kay grows several species of bamboo, among them bayog, black buho, Buddha’s belly, giant bamboo, hedge bamboo, iron bamboo, yellow bamboo, kawayan tinik, Oldham bamboo, Thailand bamboo, machiku, wamin, yellow buho, running bamboo, anos, and bolo. Through her garden she aims to help create an ecologically balanced and clean country, and to propagate and distribute the best bamboo seedlings. Carolina Bamboo Garden is also involved in the promotion of the best environmental practices.

These goals are the reasons she and her architect used bamboo in building the bahay kubo. “Bamboo is cheap and easy to repair,” according to them. Plus, it’s the best material for a place surrounded by nature and, well, bamboo.

The bamboo is connected by rattan or nylon strings and natural light passes through the woven doors. The pawid walls let air circulate freely, as do the flooring and ceiling which are made of patpat. The beds are the old Pinoy way — papags.

While this bahay kubo looks very old-fashioned, it has all the modern amenities you can find in a “normal” house: WC, lavatory, shower, kitchen sink, refrigerator, TV, radio, AC, lights with two-way switches, doorbell, and metered electricity and water.

According to what could very well be architect Lazaro’s manifesto for building a bamboo bahay kubo, “the land surrounding the house can be planted with gulay on balag, or jathropa with camote or gabi for under-growth. The frontyard can be flowering plants interspersed with pechay or lettuce…It has a methane gas pipeline from the septic tank to the range, which can be local stoves near the picturesque pair of banguerras.

“To protect the roof covered with pawid from birds, a green fishing net is used. This also holds the pawid down during storms and help keep the balag in place. The balag adds lifespan to the pawid.”

For the windows, plastic sheets were wrapped around a bamboo frame. “The edges are loose and tend to stick to the pawid to keep out the rain — they can be nicely trimmed.”

Bamboo tukods are attached to both lock and keep the windows open.

So, yes, this could every well be the prettiest — and the most unique and cheapest bahay kubo anyone can build.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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