Marc Tey Photography

The Bamboo Playhouse in Malaysia by Eleena Jamil Architects

The Bamboo Playhouse by Eleena Jamil Architects is a public pavilion that showcases the versatility of bamboo as a building material, something Asian builders have mastered overtime.

Located in Kuala Lumpur’s Perdana Botanical Gardens, the playhouse structure is reminiscent of a group of trees providing shade to those who choose to nestle underneath. The Bamboo Playhouse is a public pavilion located in Kuala Lumpur’s oldest and arguably, most picturesque park – the Perdana Botanical Gardens. The park is located right in the heart of the capital city and is very popular with locals and tourists. The pavilion itself is situated on a small island in a large lake that stretches through the centre of the park. The use of bamboo in contemporary buildings is very rare in Malaysia and this building explores its potential as a sustainable building material.

Positioned along the edge of the lake, the playhouse is an open structure with raised square platforms set at multiple levels. Inspiration for the playhouse stems from traditional vernacular structures called the ‘wakaf’ which are originally found in villages or ‘kampungs’. These structures are essentially freestanding shelters that can be used freely by anyone in the community as a place to rest. Here, the playhouse can be described as a series of ‘wakafs’ grouped together to form an animated and playful bamboo structure that blends harmoniously with the beautiful greenery of the botanical garden. It offers a series of indeterminate spaces, offering various opportunities of use and occupation.

The pavilion consists of thirty-one identical square decks set at various, seemingly random heights, creating a playful three-dimensional floorscape. Above the floor level are repetitive modular structures made entirely out of bamboo. From the centre of each deck, a tree-like column rises up to support the roof. ‘Tree-houses’, in the form of bamboo baskets, are hung off the columns and they add another ‘playful’ element to the pavilion. 

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