The Bamboo House: Made in Alabama presents innovative architecture spearheaded by the Rural Studio at Alabama’s Auburn University School of Architecture, a studio focused on designing beautiful, affordable homes and public structures for the Alabama Black Belt.The Bamboo House takes advantage of bamboo’s structural strength, affordability, ecological sustainability and local origin in ways that simply decorative uses do not.

Rural Studio’s director, Andrew Freear (The $20,000 House), proves he can surmount key constraints, like sustainability, low cost, local materials and local labor. Beyond its design features, bamboo architecture critically transforms local communities. This house’s materials are grown in Alabama; the labor—design and manufacturing—originates in Alabama; and the consumption—the house’s intended buyer—is in Alabama.

The exhibit presents a brief retrospective on traditional East Asian bamboo architecture juxtaposed by innovative design commissioned from the Rural Studio. Our intent is to prove that not only is bamboo a local physical product, but that its employ is an American design as well. This exhibit highlights bamboo’s immense potential as a native material—both due to its environmental sustainability and its beauty.

The displays on the interior of the house would demonstrate the versatility of bamboo as a design element. The interior would house commissioned art and design works by other artists. Integrating these works would highlight the flexibility of bamboo as a material, underscoring its potential to adapt to uses both luxury and affordable.