Helen Norrie
Harriet Georgina Elliott
Philippa Grainger
Nici Long
Jed Long
Tracey Woods


Design and construction of a temporary bamboo structure provided the vehicle to explore live and interactive design-led research, extending collaborative partnerships and forging new relationships. Designed for two events of contrasting scale as part of the Dark Mofo annual arts festival hosted by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania, the project drew on an extensive portfolio of research into traditional and contemporary bamboo structures complied by Sydney-based architecture practice, Cave Urban. It extended Cave Urban’s previous partnerships with Taiwanese artist, Wang Wen Chih, and involved collaboration between Cave Urban and students from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) School of Architecture & Design and Tasmanian College of the Arts (TCotA), and on-site assistance from the MONA events construction team.
Construction over a three-week process involved design research that provided new knowledge into bamboo structures and developed new process of Learning By Making as a form of collaborative research-based teaching.  Interaction between the team of 25 people shifted between modes of open/closed and flat/hierarchical collaboration, in a dynamic process that lent new definition to the idea of ‘live’ projects.  Design-led research provided the opportunity for an equal number of students and expert collaborators, facilitating an opportunity to explore a master/apprentice model, to expanded practical and theoretical knowledge and expertise through the design and construction of a temporary civic event space.


How to Cite
Norrie, H., Elliott, H. G., Grainger, P., Long, N., Long, J. and Woods, T. (2017) “Dynamics of bamboo design and build collaborations”, The Journal of Public Space, 2(3), pp. 93–102. doi: 10.5204/jps.v2i3.118.
Chapter II
Author Biographies

Helen Norrie, University of Tasmania, School of Architecture & Design

Dr Helen Norrie is a design academic working across scales from the curation of ideas through text and exhibitions, to the design of buildings and urban environments. Trained in architecture, Helen teaches in the School of Architecture & Design at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).  She is the founder of the Regional Urban Studies Laboratory (RUSL) a collaborative design research project that develops practice-led research through the medium of design, engaging directly with local councils and communities to examine urban spatial, temporal and social issues in small towns and cities.

Harriet Georgina Elliott, University of Tasmania, School of Architecture & Design

Graduate Architect

Philippa Grainger, University of Tasmania, School of Architecture & Design

Graduate Architect, B.EnvDes/M.Arch

Nici Long, Cave Urban

Nici Long has been an architectural designer for 25 years and is the founder of Cave Urban, a collective dedicated to the study, design and practical application of passive sustainable systems for living. Key areas of interest include sustainable house design, renewable energy systems, resource recycling and the use of bamboo as a low-energy, renewable structural building material.

Jed Long, University of Tasmania

Jed Long is a co-founder of Sydney-based architecture collective Cave Urban alongside Nici Long and Juan Pablo Pinto. Utilizing the fluid relationship between art and architecture, Cave Urban explores, creates and tests new structural systems outside the confines of the architectural profession, that emphasize community engagement and the continuation of vernacular tradition.  Jed sees collaboration as a key component to the development of bamboo globally. Working with an a number of different organisations including the Humanitarian Bamboo Project, Taiwanese artist Wang Wen Chih and various universities Jed weaves together a range of different projects from community capacity building to artistic installations that form a larger interrelated narrative. A current Churchill Fellow and an Associate for the University of Tasmania, Jed is investigating the translation of traditional bamboo construction into contemporary building practice.

Tracey Woods, University of Tasmania, School of Architecture & Design

Tracey Woods has been teaching at the university of Tasmania within the School of Architecture and Design whilst assisting in the establishment of the Creative Exchange Institute. She has experience in curriculum writing and the development of design programs, Tracey is interested in the advocacy of architecture which has been explored through curatorial and print media roles. Her current research focuses on the work and teaching of London-based architect Sir Peter Cook and the changing role of the architect.