Bamboo is the latest natural material to be used in eco-friendly building

A London architect has completed a bamboo townhouse in the middle of an urban area in Asia that is being hailed as an innovation in terms of sustainable house building in the region.

The bamboo reduces the need for air conditioning as it allows the property to be ventilated naturally but remain secure and private.

ROEWU architecture believes designs like this could help reduce the costs of air conditioning in parts of the world where it is the main source of energy consumption.

The house in Yi-Lan, Taiwan, built as a holiday home, was a challenge as the site is narrow with blank party walls on both sides. 'The house had to gain all its light and air from the street with maintaining privacy and security,' a spokesman for the firm said.

'By introducing several double and triple-height void spaces, the whole house is naturally ventilated despite the sides being enclosed. The bamboo screen neutralises the security and privacy risks that such openness could otherwise bring,' he added.

The bamboo screen wrapped around the house shields the house's occupants from the view of passers-by on the street, while allowing sunlight and air to filter into the building through the bamboo poles.

The interior is intended to be like an organic forest. Sunlight and air filter in through the bamboo poles changing the character and use of the space over the course of the day and the changing seasons. In winter, a karaoke lounge and spa on the second floor form a focal point for bathing and singing. During the summer, the roof deck, with its variably patterned sunshade system and surrounding bamboo, invites cool breezes and becomes the family's favourite gathering spot.

ROEWU describes its bamboo screen concept as 'a radical updating of the conventional Taiwanese window screen'. The approach also provides a new use for highly sustainable, fast-growing, locally sourced bamboo, which has fallen out of use in local construction.