The Bamboo Youth Hostel celebrates local craftsmanship and culture merged with sustainable design and inventive materialism by Anna Heringer



Project Credits:
Project Name: Bamboo Hostels
Concept and design: Anna Heringer
Team Studio Anna Heringer: Stefano Mori, Karolina Switzer, Wayne Switzer, Yu Xi
Location: The Longquan International Biennale (LIB), China
Consultant in earthen structures and over all concept: Martin Rauch
Consultant in bamboo structures: Emmanuel Heringer
Consultant in heating system: Harald Mueller, Franz Petermann
Consultant in energy system: Prof. Klaus Daniels
Start of Design: March 2013 end of construction probably April 2014

Born in 1977 in Laufer near Salzburg, Anna Heringer spent almost a year in Bangladesh in her late teens understanding sustainable development work from NGO Dipshikha. With the experience itself being an important lesson, she also learnt that the best development strategy is to utilize the natural resources in the best possible manner than to depend on artificial systems. She translated this belief into architectural design in 2005 with the Meti School in Rudrapur, Bangladesh, along with Eike Roswag and a team of German and Bangladeshi craftsmen. She had crafted the design of the school in 2004 as a diploma project at the University of Arts in Linz.

She strongly believes that sustainability mirrors beauty and building design encompasses various aspects such as structure, technique, use of materials, the user, location, environment and the sociocultural context. She aspires to employ architecture as a tool to boost the local economy, the cultural confidence as well as the ecological stability.

A part of the Longquan International Biennale (LIB), the Youth Hostel follows the ethos of the event, to be built with bamboo, an event graced with the company of 12 international architects.




The project consists of three hostels – the Dragon, the Nightingale and the Peacock – located in Baoxi, China. The buildings illustrate a radical, yet prosaic style of construction that emanates a benevolent charm. The building techniques used like bamboo weaving and rammed earth are labour intensive methods, challenging the skills of the local craftsmen.



This practice ensures that a major share of the profit is consigned to the community itself, making it an alternative illustration of a “socialist” way of construction. As compared to the monotonous culture of using standardised housing blocks, this method of building purposes an assortment of forms that take inspiration from the local culture and climate.



The material palette used is also adapted to suit this indigenous context while encompassing the ideology of production through masses as against mass production.


With its unique construction techniques, the project finds its roots in the rich tradition of Chinese craftsmanship of basket weaving. It forms a bond with the originality of cultural goods created from the intrinsic material traits like the bending strength of bamboo. The native culture of Longquan is emphasized by hounouring the splendour and technical proficiency of the traditional ceramics through the round and vessel like shapes of the structures and their material competence, which have been merged with the local building entities, earth and bamboo.


The use of artificial power has been minimized to a great extent as the energy system is derived from antiquated, direct energy sources such as fire, sun, wind, shade and plants. Instead of conditioning the entire volume of the hostels and spending a huge amount of money and resources for the same, only the core of the structures, which hosts the utility rooms and the cocoons are climate controlled.


Shielded from the rain, these areas have the option of heating or cooling on every low-tech level. For example, an oven inside the structure utilizes fire as an efficient heating source. This system is used to provide warm water for showers, which is also assisted by solar collectors. These inventive techniques help create a forthcoming, comfortable environment in the common rooms. Bamboo plantings in the area between the core and the skin nurture a micro-climate that helps enhance the aesthetics and the natural conditioning of the spaces.





With the world facing a dire energy crisis in today’s day, it is an arduous task to provide the entire population with suitable living spaces made of industrialized materials only. The need of the hour is to formulate ingenious methods to employ natural building materials to boost sustainable and rational development. In response to this necessity, the Bamboo Youth Hostel is an exceptional paradigm of aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sustainable architecture that respects and refines the genuineness of the building materials.

7Site Plan  
guest-house-1st-floorFirst Floor Plan: Guest House
guest-housel-furniture First Floor Furniture Plan: Guest House 

guest-house-roofRoof Plan: Guest House


guest-house-topTop Plan: Guest House  guest-house-elevationElevation Interior: Guest House
guest-house-inside-elevation-stairsElevation Stairs: Guest House 
Section: Guest House 
guest-house-sectionSection: Guest House 
youth-hostel-female-ground-floor-without-fGround Floor Plan: Youth Hostel Female
youth-hostel-female-ground-floorGround Floor Furniture Plan: Youth Hostel Female 
youth-hostel-female-1st-floorFirst Floor Plan: Youth Hostel Female 
youth-hostel-female-2nd-floorSecond Floor Plan: Youth Hostel Female 
youth-hostel-female-roofRoof Plan: Youth Hostel Female
youth-hostel-female-cocoon-site-elevationCocoon Site Elevation: Youth Hostel Female
youth-hostel-female-elevationElevation: Youth Hostel Female 
youth-hostel-female-inside-elevation-stairsInside Elevation Stairs: Youth Hostel Female 
youth-hostel-female-inside-elevationInside Elevation: Youth Hostel Female 
youth-hostel-female-sectionSection: Youth Hostel Female
youth-hostel-male-ground-floorGround Floor Plan: Youth Hostel Male  youth-hostel-male-furnitureGround Floor Furniture Plan: Youth Hostel Male
youth-hostel-male-1st-floorFirst Floor Plan: Youth Hostel Male  youth-hostel-male-2nd-floorSecond Floor Plan: Youth Hostel Male
youth-hostel-male-elevationElevation: Youth Hostel Male  youth-hostel-male-roofRoof Plan: Youth Hostel Male 
youth-hostel-male-sectionSection: Youth Hostel Male 
5Anna Heringer
13Anna Heringer (chief architect) and Stefano Mori (studio manager, architect)

International Bamboo Architecture Biennale China (Longquan)

The Longquan International Biennale (LIB), which will be launched from the Municipality of Longquan, 500km south of Shanghai. 12 architects are invited to build habitable buildings in a location of cultural and historical importance: Kengo Kuma, George Kunihiro, Keisuke Maeda, Vo Trong Nghia, Madhura Primatilleke, Simon Vélez, Li Xiaodong, WISE architecture Yang Xu and Anna Heringer.

All images: © Studio Anna Heringer
All plans and drawings © Studio Anna Heringer
Photos from the construction site © Jenny JI
Profile photos: © Stefano Mori
Video: © Studio Anna Heringer 

-Tanvi Naik, Volume Zero.

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