Myanmar Bamboo construction training workshop in Kachin State, April 2016. Local villagers were trained in bamboo treatment and construction techniques which were applied to the construction of two classrooms for a new local primary school.

This is an archive page for Myanmar

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.


Sustainable Bamboo Futures

Tuesday 21 November – Sunday 3 December 2017

This course will ask participants to fuse cutting edge computational design and testing software, sustainable materials, and local craft tradition to conceive an architecture school to be a future platform for architectural experimentation close to the Myanmar capital. As the Myanmar economy continues to expand, we will ask how architecture needs to respond to the demands of a developing economy in a sustainable way, optimizing the utilization of local grown materials. The critical response to these globally relevant questions, will be rooted in the proposed design output, for a 3.5-acre site. It is intended that this output will subsequently be built.
A full range of the Architect’s responsibilities will be demanded from, and questioned by participants, including: economics/supply chain, education, environmental, and cultural considerations in the development of this new architecture school. With sustainability at the core of the proposed teaching program, bamboo will play a strategic and important physical, economic and cultural role in the future School of Architecture.
Throughout the course a variety of physical demonstrations of uses for local bamboo, as well as other natural building materials and relevant techniques will be available, including:
• Experimental design with bamboo.
• Development of Burmese architectural expression.
• Innovative bamboo connection details.
• Emphasis on practicality and replicability.
• Taxonomy, cutting and treatment.
• Cutting edge computational design and testing process.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
• International and local professionals: The teaching staff comprises of working architects and graduates of all levels of the AA School whom have worked for some of the largest and most articulate design practices in the world. With a high tutor to student ratio throughout all stages of the course, students will have the opportunity to closely engage with the knowledge and passions of professionals from all over the world.
• Software exposure: During the course, we will complement physical model making with Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper. We will be applying: CFD simulation to these models through Autodesk Flow; structural analysis through Karamba, and using V-ray and Adobe Creative Suite to render and present projects.
• Participatory process: Students will visit local bamboo farmers, carry out treatment, and build small functional components with the local community. We will adapt and innovate using modern and traditional construction technologies.
• Lecture series: To supplement the workshop, an array of architectural and cultural lectures will be delivered by local professionals and tutors. This aims to bolster the student work with an architectural knowledge of bamboo and the local vernacular, as well as the history of Myanmar art, architecture, and design culture.
• Cultural events: From the comfortable base in Bago, Visiting School participants will be able to experience first-hand traditional village life in rural Myanmar, including a visit to the local Buddhist monastery. Being within a couple hours’ drive from Yangon, excursions can be easily arranged to the cultural features of the city. These include the Shwedagon Pagoda and world-class conservation work being carried out on Old Rangoon’s colonial architecture
• Community spirit: Accommodation will be provided as part of the course. A group of local and international students, we will all be living and working in close proximity, fostering a community spirit and creating a very open learning atmosphere.
• Replicable design: The legacy of the course intends to offer designs and structural systems which can be used to build the School of Architecture. We will be visited by local craftsmen, artisans and carpenters, requiring students to play an integral role in bring ideas together to project the future of local bamboo in the Myanmar built environment.
• Visits to local ateliers, including:
• The clay roof tile project, based at the neighbouring Metta Centre to conduct research into vernacular roofing materials and techniques.
• Turquoise Mountain Restoration Project.

Metta Development Foundation, Bago City, Myanmar


Please submit a brief sample of past work (no more than 5mb) upon application. Also appreciated are any expressions of interests relevant to the topics in the brief.

Complete the online application under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page.
If you cannot complete the online application, please email for instructions, and to process your fees payment by bank transfer.
The deadline for application is Monday 20th November 2017


The following fee per participant, which covers course fees, the costs of accommodation as well as food during visits to local workshops is £845 whcih includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.
Fees do not include transport to/from Myanmar. 

All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.

All participants are responsible for their own insurance including travel and health insurance. All participants also need to ensure that any equipment and valuable items such as laptops are covered by their own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen.

The course is open to students, professionals and / or PhD candidates from a variety of backgrounds who are interest in the course, including those with a background in architecture, engineering and design and other related fields. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later), Grasshopper 3D, Lunch Box, and Karamba. Though prior knowledge is welcome, all software will be taught from a level of no prior knowledge.

John Naylor graduated from the AA in 2013, winning the Holloway and the Fosters Prize. He is interested in the socially and ecologically regenerative potential of architecture fusing cutting edge computational tools with the craft of bamboo construction. John has worked in London, Paris, Singapore and Beijing and has recently been working alongside Jörg Stamm in Indonesia and Mexico. He has taught at the Architectural Association (London); Tsinghua University (Beijing); the Leeds School of Architecture (UK); as well as being an invited speaker at the 3rd Mexican Bamboo Congress in Huatusco, Mexico. He continues to Lead the AA Bamboo Lab.

Richard Morris is a New Zealand-born graduate of Victoria, University of Wellington and University of Auckland Schools of Architecture. He has worked as an architect in ten countries and is presently based in Bangkok, practicing with Habita Architects. Richard is a LEED Accredited Professional with lifetime membership. Since moving to South East Asia four years ago, Richard’s focus has swung towards community-based projects. He spends a week each month in Myanmar working on various pro-bono projects comprising schools and community buildings. His work in Myanmar introduced him to bamboo construction – more specifically its unique applicability to the Burmese context.

U Hla Thaung from Rakhine State, Myanmar,graduated from the Government Technical Institute in Yangon in 1983 as a Civil Engineer. From 1984 to 1989 Hla Thaung worked as an engineer in Yangon, and then from 1989 through 1995 as crafts designer in Thailand and China. In 1996 he established ‘Idea Woodsmith’, which focused on sustainable design and recycled materials to support Rainforest Conservation Issues. In 2004, Hla Thaung returned to deeper study of ecological perspectives of sustainable building design - including Functions, Building Materials and Human Health Relationships. Currently, he serves as the Community Architect for Local N.G.Os and applies a "User Based Participatory Design Process", which works together with communities for building planning and design. Hla Thaung has designed three Ecological Community Centers in different ethnic areas of Myanmar.

Eko Agus Prawoto, from Purworejo, Indonesia, received his architectural and engineering education from Gadjah Mada University and The Berlage Institute, Amsterdam. He is currently the Founder and Director at ARKOM, which focusses on community development projects in which bamboo cultivation and construction plays a significant role. He also continues to be a lecturer at the Duta Wacana Christian University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Dr.-Ing. Andry Widyowijatnoko, is an Architect, Lecturer and Researcher at the Building Technology Research Group, School of Architecture, Planning and Policy Development, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia.
He started working with bamboo in 1999 developing plastered bamboo construction for low cost housing, which has been applied across Indonesia. In 2006 he spent time in Colombia which augmented his approach of promoting bamboo by designing high-end building to increase their value. One of his achievements in design was award winning Great Hall OBI, an oval building with span of 20m to 30m, entirely made of bamboo.
He gained his doctoral degree from the Chair of Structures and Structural Design, Faculty of Architecture, RWTH Aachen, Germany in 2012. His dissertation ‘Traditional and Innovative Joints in Bamboo Construction’ focused on the classification of bamboo joints, construction techniques and proposed customised lashing-based bamboo joints with very high tensile strength. The joints were called bamboo radial compression joints or ‘Barcom Joints’, and ‘Barcom Joints with Multi Knots’.


Programme Head
John Osmond Naylor

Richard Morris
U Hla Thaung

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads

Programme site

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