A Small Intervention: Urban Bamboo Forest | FAP 2023 Third Place

Main Feature / 3rd Quarter 2023

A Small Intervention: Urban Bamboo Forest | FAP 2023 Third Place

September 20, 2023


Kyoto Prefecture has approximately 55 per cent of its population concentrated in the city, which is the highest ratio among the prefectures in Japan. The challenges it faces include a shrinking population caused by overtourism and an aging population. Aneyakoji, located in the historical centre of Kyoto, serves as a relevant sample of the touristic area in the city—it has a mix of traditional Kyo-machiya (traditional Kyoto townhouses), modern apartments and shopping malls.


It is here that the proposal seeks to make a small intervention to create a public space—that seems to be lacking amidst a proliferation of open car parks and private gardens—which is elderly friendly and easily accessible.

In the context of the location, a site was selected to imagine how a new hybrid structure made out of bamboo and steel can both serve as a car park and a naturalistic space for the neighbourhood community to connect.

Following the spirit of Kyoto’s famous bamboo forests, this ‘bamboo forest’ intervention is vertically oriented to spatially relate to the surrounding buildings; and the use of bamboo is hoped to create a cool microclimate like a ‘green island’ (as opposed to the heat island effect). Thin steel frames will be used to make it light, both in terms of visual and physical impact, along with perforated modular decks, so that the overall scheme could allow for natural light and ventilation.

For the natural element—and for durability—living bamboo will be used as supporting structures. Keeping car parking on the ground, the different decks/platforms will in effect ‘lift’ the public spaces above ground at different levels, ideally accessible by the elderly with gentle inclines or other friendly methods. The design is also meant to be flexible when assembled/disassembled.

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Aneyakoji neighbourhood



Site Area
1,200 square metres



Xuan Tung Cao graduated from the National University of Civil Engineering of Vietnam and is currently following the Master of Architecture program at KU Leuven, Belgium. He was born and raised in Hanoi, Vietnam, in an era of major economic and social changes. Witnessing the dynamic and rapid development of this Asian megacity throughout the years sparked his interest in the potential of public spaces for regenerating urban interconnectivity. He strongly believes that small interventions in spaces can generate a huge impact on living quality.

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