2014 Jointly Sponsored (Hape and Bern University of Applied Sciences) Design Competition Takes Root
Bamboo, one of the most ecological and economical materials in the world, has a short growth cycle of two to three years while absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen, and easy tended. In the architecture field, utilizing bamboo, the ideal renewable substitute for timber, can save up to 40% on resource consumption.
As one of the largest wooden toy manufacturers in the world, Hape takes great responsibility in protecting the environment. Hape has been dedicated to the research and development of bamboo material, ever since one of their production bases was settled in Ningbo. Since 2010, Hape China has rented a workshop and a 16 acres bamboo forest in Gongtong in the Beilun district of Ningbo. A year later Hape added another 50 acres, in order to develop the bamboo product line. Since then, the company has invited teachers and students from well-known universities around the world to participate in the biannual research.
At the end of March 2014, by the invitation of Jianbo Wang, Deputy Head of the Beilun district in Ningbo city, and Peter Handstein, President of Hape Holding Group, eighteen students and professors from the Architecture, Wood & Civil Engineering, and Wood Technology departments at the Bern University of Applied Sciences came to Beilun and participated in an architectural design competition at the Hape bamboo research center.
This international team came from ten countries including Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Kosovo and Columbia. Professors grouped the students according to their professions and expertise, and each group had three students working together. According to the characteristics of bamboo and with the joint exploration of the local experts, students were given free rein to experiment on different facilities in the bamboo research center and after two weeks presented their design samples, which explored the potential of bamboo in the field of architecture.
The charm of design rests in implementation. As Hape helps to make dreams come true, she will support two winning design teams out of five to carry on their inspiration and serve as their graduate work.
This is a cultural collision and interaction between China and the West, this is an inheritance and continuity of bamboo culture, as well as an exploration of new materials and the respect to the traditional craft. Based on this international exchange, Hape hopes to promote and spread the application of bamboo materials to Europe as well as to the rest of the world.