Project Description

The building redefines the designing of an office space by creating an atmosphere that is in constant dialogue with nature. The open plan of the building brings in natural light from all directions throughout the day. The environment thus created enables the architects to stay energetic and creative, reducing stress and fatigue. Manasaram Architects always consider each project as a research project and put their technologies of sustainable construction to the test. The office was also built this way, exploring innovative methods to use natural materials like Bamboo, mud, stone and waste etc.

Bamboo symphony
Country scale
City scale
Ext 2
Ext 3
Interplay of bamboo  mud and stone
Landscaping at entrance
Night view 1
Night view 2
From principal architects cabin
Lobby   waiting
Principal architect's cabin
Studio space
View from studio

Building Details


New Building Project

680 m²

1 (with 4 different levels)

210 m²

180 m²

180 m²

Eligible for IGBC Platinum Rating. (The office is a part of a residence cum office project and hence has shared services. The rating is on hold as it is planned to be carried out for the entire site which is a housing layout.)

INR 16 lakhs

INR 7619



Project Team

Manasaram Architects


Aditi Constructions

Manasaram Architects

Neelam Manjunath

Ar. Neelam Manjunath – Brief Profile Ar. Neelam Manjunath is an architect, planner, scientist, activist and theoretician, with two graduate degrees, in Science from REI Degree College, Dayalbagh, Agra and in Architecture, from Govt. College of Architecture, Lucknow in 1987. Her education, however, is much wider and includes training in several skills related to sustainable architecture, Media Architecture and Charrettee Training from Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, as well as a PG Diploma in Theology from Dayalbagh University, Agra. She is a practicing architect since 1991, currently based in Bangalore. Her architecture is distinguished for the use of low energy materials and technologies with special emphasis on Bamboo. Awards and Accomplishments: • She has won the prestigious Sir M Vishwesvaraya Prize (2005) for innovative use of bamboo. • The IIA-Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Award (2005) for Excellence in Rural Architecture, for design of a residential school at Gandsi, Hassan Dist. Karnataka. • 2nd Runner-up in the Architectural Competition held for "Providing Architectural design concept for Police Bhawan to be constructed for KSRP at koromangala, Bangalore, in view of KSRP Golden Jubilee Year". • The WAC- World Architecture Community awards in 2013, for “Bamboo Symphony” • Lafarge Invention awards(2011) for “Bamboo Symphony” • Nomination for Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013 for her office project “Bamboo Symphony”. • Her project “House of Five Elements” was shortlisted for World Architecture News Awards, 2013. • Archi Design Award for Best Design in Sustainable Projects, 2013 for “Bamboo Symphony” • Shortlisted for NDTV awards under ‘Social’ Category for “Cocoon- Educational Pavilion” and “Guest house-ICT DEI” and under ‘Environmental Design’ for “Bamboo Symphony”. • Her work has been published widely in over 10 languages in over 19-20 countries and she has presented her works in several national and international forums and conferences. Professional Associations: • Founder and Managing Trustee - Centre for Green Building Materials and Technology, Bangalore. CGBMT is actively involved in R&D of innovative building materials and technologies and organises Eco-literacy workshops and training programs frequently. CGBMT is running BAT, “Bamboo Application Technology” courses from academic session 2011-12 from its Bangalore centre in distance education mode with Dayalbagh University, Agra for graduates, supervisors and artisans. • Member, Technical Committee, World Bamboo Congress, 2015 • Co-Convener and Co-Chair of Technical Committee, International Bamboo Conclave,2014 • Executive Committee member- Bamboo Society of India Her passion for sustainable architecture and the use of bamboo as a sustainable material reflects in all her works of architecture.

Sanjita Harwalkar

Dr. Yogananda Professor, Compressed stabilized mud blocks

A.R. Shivakumar Professor, Rainwater harvesting

CDD Society, DEWATs Waste water treatment

Climate Analysis

Bangalore has a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Due to its high elevation, Bangalore usually enjoys a more moderate climate throughout the year, although occasional heat waves can make summer somewhat uncomfortable. The coolest month is December with an average low temperature of 15.4 °C (59.7 °F) and the hottest month is April with an average high temperature of 36 °C (97 °F). Winter temperatures rarely drop below 12 °C (54 °F), and summer temperatures seldom exceed 37 °C (99 °F). Bangalore receives rainfall from both the northeast and the southwest monsoons and the wettest months are September, October and August, in that order. The summer heat is moderated by fairly frequent thunderstorms,

Rel humidity
Sky cover

Design Approach

Bamboo Symphony is the office of Manasaram Architects. Hence the basic requirement of the Project was to embody their Design and other Philosophies in the building along with other requirements of Space and Services. The main ones being:  Sustainability is embedded in the definition of Architecture itself.  True Architecture should address the requirements of all the three Faculties, namely Physical, Psychological and Spiritual of Man.  Respect for the highly evolved science of the materials and processes in nature.  Reverse the notion of Bamboo being termed as ‘Poor Man’s Building Material’ and replace steel, concrete and other similar materials.

Building orientation and roof form are designed to allow strong North-East and South-West winds to blow over the structure, without any drafts inside despite it being fully open on the South. The existing slope was transformed into a landscaped waterfall directing the rainwater into the lotus pond.

The office has an open plan with four split levels, all overlooking a central pond. The principal architect’s cabin sits at the bottom level, ensuring visual connectivity across all the spaces. The structure draws inspiration from the traditional fishing platforms in India, a truly synergetic structure. Slender bamboo columns harmoniously define the spaces but give a feeling of extreme lightness. The water pond was built with the intention of humidifying the atmosphere which also helps in maintenance of the bamboo members besides recharging the borewell.


Special Feature

1. Fully open south facade with sufficient overhangs. 2. Clerestory windows along the entire north facade. 3. Lighting tubes made from 6"PVC waste plumbing pipes inserted in the roof slab for areas deeper than 3m for sufficient natural light.

1. Zero run-off site 2. Special water conserving installation: water conserving fixtures, recycling and treatment .Treated water used for flushing, washing, gardening etc. 3. Rainwater Harvesting System: A 50,000 liters capacity RW harvesting pond landscaped with a rich variety of locally available water plants and lilies. The overflow goes to the recharge well of the Bore well. 4. All water bodies and features were created from collected rain water or Recycled water.

1. Orientation of the building ensured no strong drafts are created within the building, maintaining optimum airflow. The open facade on the south opens to a lotus pond which enhances the micro-climate. 2. Passive cooling achieved by utilization of building mass as thermal storage as part of heat strategy. 3. As the building is below ground level, the interiors are kept cool even during summers. 4. The office is naturally ventilated throughout the day due to strategically placed windows in NE-SW direction

1. Use of locally available materials for construction: Bamboo from local bamboo market, Mud excavated from the site, Locally available stone for masonry walls 2. Usage of recycled materials namely Fly ash, recycled wood, scrap metal, stone, debris, plastic bottles, PVC pipes.

1. Use of local materials and waste for construction: Local variety of bamboo, local stone and mud excavated from site. 2. The collection of rainwater and use of the same for the landscaped water bodies. 3. Addition of bamboo fibers to concrete to reduce cement consumption and also reduce weight of slab. 4. Orientation of building for enhanced daylight and cross ventilation. This reduces the need for artificial daylight and fans.

Building Material

Bamboo poles used for Columns and Beams and bamboo splits used as reinforcement. Retaining walls of Masonry stone; building walls of compressed stabilized mud blocks'

Bamboo column has 1' x 1' x 1.5' concrete footing with ms pipe at the center to anchor the bamboo to the footing. Wall foundation and retaining walls in stone masonry were built for all the split levels

Three types of Walling systems used: 1. Stone masonry 2. Compressed Stabilized earth block masonry 3. Bamboo-Crete walls ( Bamboo poles for main supports at 1.2 m c/c. Bamboo mat and chicken mesh as reinforcement, plastered on both sides.

Recycled doors from old office building. Windows are made from Mild steel sections.

Combination of Yellow oxide and terrazzo with bamboo rings and waste marble pieces has been used in most of the places. Conference hall has Bamboo flooring.

Lime wash for Mud block walls Touchwood coating for Bamboos Silicon Waterproof coating for Stone masonry and interior of bathroom and pantry walls

Bamboo fiber reinforced concrete slab ( Chicken mesh + Bamboo split mat at 150mm c/c + 6 mm reinforcement bars at 300mm c/c + Water proofing layer ) The concrete was mixed with Bamboo fibers for better bonding and reducing surface cracks. This also reduced the weight of the slab and thus the load on the columns.

Energy systems

15 CFL lights

5 LED lights for bollards in landscape

4 Wall mounted fans with Speed: 1350 RPM Air Delivery: 72 CMM Power: 48 watts

No air conditioning used

No lifts

1 kW supply from Solar panels. (Common supply for Office cum Residence)
Img 20151229 154128345 hdr

Lessons Learned

The project is a result of intense 2 years of research project for us to have a concrete slab supported on Bamboo poles used for both columns and beams in an economic and innovative manner . Light structure supporting heavy roof! The use of bamboo fiber reinforced concrete was a novelty as an experiment which rendered positive results. The aesthetics of the building has been pulling several visitors from across the world. This confirmed our view that bamboo building with a contemporary flavor will ensure its re branding as a desirable material.

“Since I’ve been working in this informal, open atmosphere, I think I might feel claustrophobic at a conventional office. – This is a perfect environment for a workspace.” – Anjali K. (Former Trainee at Manasaram Architects) “Working next to a lotus pond creates a peaceful frame of mind that helps me work better and stress levels at work are kept at a minimum.” – Mariel Drego ( Former Architect at Manasaram Architects) " The environment created at this office is very unique as you feel so close to nature; with the chirping of birds and the rattle of leaves. Natural lighting and ventilation are things which are non existent in many present day buildings. But here its completely natural, bringing about a synergy at work. " - Shiva (Architect at Manasaram Architects)

We have planned to carry out testing of the structure in order to formulate empirical data for the structural use of Bamboo. We are collaborating with Lafarge to introduce our Bamboo-fiber reinforced concrete technology as an option for RMC.