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  • Writer's pictureTobe Sheldon

D.C.’s First Bamboo Building: The Grass House Story

We're thrilled to present this captivating video by Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies.com. Kirsten is widely recognized for her insightful case studies focusing on sustainability in the built environment.


The Grass House

Constructed using our Gen 1 BamCore Prime Wall™, The Grass House has the unique honor of being the first code-compliant bamboo building in Washington, D.C.



Article by Kristen Dirksen:

Jack Becker and Andrew Linn, drawing inspiration from the intricate craftsmanship of birds' nests, used willow to weave the partition walls of their Grass House, while the structure itself was built from bamboo. This first code-compliant bamboo home in the U.S. provides a distinctly unique experience.


Upon entering, you're greeted by the scent of drying grasses, a far cry from the common new home smell of paint and drywall. "Essentially every surface in this space is a natural organic material, primarily cellulose-based," elaborates Becker. "The common observation by visitors is that they appreciate the distinctive smell when they enter."


Initially, Jack Becker was drawn to the wooden workers’ homes from the 1850s in DC’s Anacostia neighborhood. But, upon discovering a fixer-upper across the street from Frederick Douglass’ home dating back to the 1870s, he realized he had found the perfect spot to experiment with an all-natural home.


By repurposing the driveway, they created space for an Accessory Dwelling Unit constructed using a panelized bamboo system for its structural walls, floors, and ceilings. The willow dividing wall, spanning the three floors of the slender structure, is supported merely by slim threaded steel rods. Each element here is natural and salvaged, like the shelving created from the raw-edged off-cuts of the lumber used for the stairs.


The lamps, intriguingly, are made from mycelium that has colonized agricultural waste. As the mycelium is made of chitin - the material composing crabs' exoskeletons - it is "entirely non-combustible." Becker reveals that they tested the material with the same torch used to char their cladding and found it would not ignite.


For more inspiration on green architectural design, visit https://bld.us/.

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