Beijing and Vienna-based Penda has designed a new modular structure with X-shaped bamboo joints. Each one  is secured with rope instead of nails or screws, meaning the building can be easily dismantled and the bamboo reused.

The simple design makes the building ideal for disaster shelters in places that have a natural supply of bamboo, but Penda also envisions that it could be used to create entire cities in China by planting bamboo groves next to existing buildings. The frames of the buildings could also double as planters for a vertical garden. To keep a constant stock of materials for the cities, more bamboo would be added to the forests for each cane used. 

All our cities are growing at a fast pace, but so is pollution. With a population of 9 billion by 2050, will we still have fresh air to breath or clean water to drink? We need to start thinking of alternatives. Especially in the building industry, as much of the pollution is caused by it.

Bamboo, which grows as much as a foot a day, acts like an air purifier, generating up to 35% more oxygen than a similar grove of trees, while also absorbing the same amount of carbon dioxide. The plant also regrows without being planted, making it seem limitless in production. When used in a building, each bamboo cane is two to three times stronger than a steel beam of similar weight. 

Read more about the design at Fast Company.