Overwater Bamboo Restaurant
Olav Bruin, With Louis Thompson, Habiba Mukhtar
Joe Chua Agdeppa
Throughout human history, explorers, sailors, and seafarers have told tall stories of the fabulous sea creatures found in the depths of the ocean – from the leviathan that swallowed Jonah, the giant squid that grappled with the Nautilus to Moby Dick seeking revenge on the Pequod and its crew; our maritime literature, nautical maps, and collective psyche are riddled with sea monsters.
From time to time, these mythical creatures rise to the surface.
One of these gentle giants has recently emerged in a calm, tropical lagoon in the Maldives where a select few can dine on fine Japanese cuisine, deep in the belly of the beast, beneath its dramatic bamboo ribcage.
The design of this overwater Yakitori Restaurant and Bar was created by Atelier Nomadic to revamp the existing jetty structure at Banyan Tree Vabinfaru to create a new iconic dining experience.
This stunning example of biomimicry takes its inspiration from the sleek silhouette of the Pink Whiprays (Pateobatis fai) that graze in the surrounding lagoon.
The naturally ventilated, bio-climatic structure features an incredible sea saltwater infinity pool, and an array of overwater catamaran nets where guests can relax with breathtaking sunset panoramas, caressed by the gentle sea breeze.
Crafted meticulously with bamboo, the structure is amplified by the dramatic Maldivian landscape and reflected in the mirror-like lagoon.
The looping, shingled tail winds back down the jetty to link the building with the mainland and to guide the visitors into the building.
Inspired by the Dhivehi language, where Madi symbolises “ray,” and Hiyaa signifies “shelter,” the building’s name Madi Hiyaa pays tribute to the graceful rays that migrate across the Indian Ocean.
The roof structure is built entirely out of bamboo. Being a Bamboo Ambassador at the World Bamboo Organization, Atelier Nomadics lead architect Olav Bruin intended to show the potential of this amazing building material at this iconic location, as bamboo has the potential to play a major role in the building industry transition towards a more sustainable future.
Being one of the fastest-growing renewable building materials in the world, bamboo is an extremely effective carbon sink, as we need to move towards a future where buildings sequester carbon instead of expelling it.
Shaped by a series of hyperbolic paraboloid columns and roof trusses, the structure reflects the endo skeleton of the Mobulidae family.
Dendrocalamus Asper bamboo was used for the primary structure and the smaller Gigantochloa Apus bamboo was used for the grid infill. The roof is clad with timber shingles.