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This Filipino Craftsman Designed a Hut That Can Withstand Typhoons

There are over a hundred of Gener Paduga's Tuka structures in Palawan.
IMAGE TAOPHILIPPINES.COM
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Meet the Tuka hut, a low-cost environmental bamboo structure that can withstand typhoons. How exactly can bamboo survive such a strong force? It all comes down to the Tuka's simple yet aerodynamic design.

Skilled craftsman Gener Paduga designed the Tuka to be compact, light, and most of all, flexible. In the event of a storm, the hut's roof can easily be removed so that the wind passes through the main structure. In an interview with Channel News Asia, the 47-year-old said, “You can rip up your roof before the typhoon arrives and find your safe shelter for a short while. When you come back, you’ll still have your house. That’s the main purpose of the design.”

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The idea came to Paduga just after the events of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. While distributing relief goods to those affected in Palawan, he thought about how he could help in a more lasting way, so he worked on a proper house design that didn't need time or money.

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The design uses bamboo for the whole hut, nylon to tie it all together, and more bamboo as pegs to hold it down. What's missing are rusty nails and other materials you'd normally see in a city structure. It's a method that was developed and adapted from local boat building. The Tuka hut takes its name from the Tagalog word for a bird's beak, a shape that's reminiscent of the structure's roof.

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The Tuka isn't just limited to huts. Currently, there are over 100 Tuka structures in the form of small camp huts, family homes, social spaces, and even schools. It's something social enterprise TAO Philippines is passionate about.

"Our bamboo building technology rethinks vernacular architecture in a modern context. Through these construction projects, we are reviving native knowledge of bamboo by applying it to our building challenges of the future," the enterprise explains.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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