The Bamboo Playhouse

CompanyEleena Jamil Architect
Lead DesignerEleena Jamil Architect
Design TeamEleena Jamil; Yusri Amri Yussoff
PrizeLandscape Architecture / Installations & structures

We were approached by the client, the City Hall of Kuala Lumpur, to design a public pavilion out of bamboo in the capital city’s oldest and most picturesque park – the Perdana Botanical Gardens. The park is located right in the heart of the capital city and is very popular with locals and tourists. The site itself is situated on a small island in a large lake that stretches through the centre of the park. Positioned along the edge of the lake, the playhouse is an open structure with raised square platforms set at multiple levels. Inspiration for the playhouse stems from traditional vernacular structures called the ‘wakaf’ which are originally found in villages or ‘kampungs’. These structures are essentially freestanding shelters that can be used freely by anyone in the community as a place to rest. Here, the playhouse can be described as a series of ‘wakafs’ grouped together to form an animated and playful bamboo structure that blends harmoniously with the beautiful greenery of the botanical garden. It offers a series of indeterminate spaces, offering various opportunities of use and occupation. The pavilion is a repetitive modular structure with thirty-one identical square decks set at various, seemingly random heights, creating a playful three-dimensional floorscape. From the centre of each deck, a tree-like column rises up to support the roof. ‘Tree-houses’, in the form of bamboo baskets hung off the columns add another dimension to the experience of the playhouse.