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CanyaViva, Spain

CanyaViva is a multidisciplinary collective of artists, architects and set designers that has developed a fully sustainable technique for both permanent and ephemeral, organic structures using Mediterranean cane and bamboo.

Since 2005 CanyaViva has been working in Spain, Portugal, Italy and India carrying out varying types and sizes of bio-construction projects, for particulars, public institutions, festivals and other cultural events.

CanyaViva has also been involved in various social projects, by conducting training courses in developing areas and for groups of people with financial difficulties (eg in 2010 the project in Paterna, Valencia, in collaboration with the Youth Association Coma and the Unemployed Platform, Paterna; and two training programs for local villages in North East India, in Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency, Nagaland in 2011, and in Meghalaya Rural Development Society, Meghalaya in 2012).

CanyaViva works as a communicative and interactive agency, weaving new relationships and expanding a sustainable philosophy for the development of conscious and ecological practices and disciplines.

Through training courses, active learning workshops and social projects, CanyaViva offers:

– A set of specific technical skills, providing tools for building using local resources, with minimal cost and without the consumption of fossil fuels.
– A social meeting place where people can develop team building skills.
– The unique experience of a purely manual activity that reconnects the participant with natural materials.
– Continued training of professionals, with the aim to boost employment and create centers of professional training for sustainable construction and resource management.

CanyaViva´s method of construction began with the observation of cane in its natural state and the spaces created by its growth over a small river in the south of Spain. This naturally occurring environment gave the impulse to explore, touch, weave and tie the cane, preserving its form but giving it the structure necessary to resist the weight of various people at a time, whilst creating fluid, organic and surprisingly strong architectural spaces.

Through the immediate contact with this unique plant, and over the following years of experimentation and investigation, the steps and parameters that now define CanyaViva’s specific construction technique were identified and continually refined until it became what we now consider to be the optimum use of the material for constructing flexible and organic, but also resistant and stable structures, capable of withstanding strong winds, floods and even earthquakes.

Giving the upmost priority to respecting the nature CanyaViva sets an example to all building methods. We aspire to eradicate contamination created by construction, making use of only the most abundant of the world’s resources without consuming combustible energy in their transformation, and thus resulting in a construction that produces 0 emissions.

We aim to amplify as much as possible the use of these truly abundant and renewable materials whilst assisting nature as we do so. Cane can be harvested, for its use as a structural material, from the same crop every two years, and bamboo every year after the first five years of a crops life, making them two of the most sustainable structural materials in the world. Harvesting cane and bamboo crops helps to prevent fires and flooding, as well as stimulating its growth, favouring the fixation of large quantities of CO₂, and improving the quality of the material year after year.

We believe in living in close contact with nature, in which through working with materials that come directly from it we begin to understand its forces, observing how life’s rhythms and cycles marked by the seasons, the moon, the rain (to name just a few), all influence both plants as well as ourselves.


Jonathan Cory-Wright, Project Management and Research

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