The inception of andblack design studio happened in a small flat in London in the cold winters of 2009. After few competitions, unrealized projects and some collaborative work the studio moved to India in 2011. Architect brief on their first commissioned project of Eco-Tourism Centre, Jetpur Kevdi, near Surat where the highlight will be the novel twisting bamboo bridge.
Redevelopment and promotion of tourism in the beautiful area of Kevdi Dam involves an eco-tourism camp site. Jwalant Mahadevwala and Kanika Agarwal were appointed by the Forest Department to revive the existing cottages, build new ones and build an additional cafe overlooking the water stream.
The architects’ proposal includes domes made of earth blocks to house new cottages and dormitories and a twisting bamboo bridge within which would be the cafeteria that will also connect the existing camp site to the proposed new area. The bamboo bridge is the focal point of the development and will give much required face to the forest area by attracting tourists from nearby buzzing cities. Tree houses, nature trails and sporadically spread amphitheatres across the site will also give opportunity to attract people of all interests.
The Bamboo Bridge is designed as a series of twisted rings forming somewhat like a shell which will house the café area. We have engineered the structure along with V.N. Gore, structural designer at Geoscience Services from Mumbai who advised us on designing the structural aspects of the Bamboo Bridge and Kalpesh Dhodia, Bamboo consultant at CIBART, Gujarat for making joineries and junctions with bamboo, which will be seen in India for the first time at this scale.
The major challenge in the construction process of this project, especially the bridge was the erratic time lines. “We only have a window of three months before the onset of monsoon when the stream is dry, and it is in this period only that we can do on-site work. Consequently, the progress though steady has been extremely slow.”
However, with Bamboo, the architects are not only making the bridge fit into its forest surroundings, but also making a huge impact on the overall ecological footprint of the structure. By using the structural properties of Bamboo they made the bridge much lighter than what it would have conventionally been. The project is on its way on site as we speak and should be ready by summer 2014.