The new portal or nativity scene at the Teatro Nacional might give a boost to the country’s bamboo industry.
Artisans at the theater created the shelter, which represents the biblical stable at Bethlehem, mainly of bamboo. Inauguration was Sunday night.
The product is recognized as a durable, renewable and environmentally friendly building material.
Each year the theater puts up a nativity scene with a different theme. One year the masonry was really styrofoam blocks. Another year the birth of Jesus Christ was represented as being in a tropical rain forest. This is the first year that workmen erected an elaborate structure of bamboo.
A handful of firms market bamboo in Costa Rica. There are many uses from fine furniture to construction. However, the material still remains out of the mainstream for construction in the Central Valley.
Asian countries use the material extensively.
Haiti is considering using the material more to replace homes destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.
An architect recently won a prize there for showing how bamboo could be used.
Bambú Tico S.A. of San Isidro, is one marketer of Costa Rican bamboo. On its Web site the firm explains that bamboo is light but very strong and flexible and is very reliable and perfect for earthquake-proof structures.
Guadua Bamboo of Panamá city grows its bamboo in Costa Rica. It says on its site that there are 39 species and that Guadua andPhyllostachys are the strongest of the bamboos. “Guadua has a higher tensile strength than steel and is therefore often referred to as ‘vegetal steel,'” said the firm.
Costa Bamboo says on its site that it provides bamboo flooring, bamboo plywood and outdoor decking and fencing.
At one time Costa Rica financed a bamboo project to prevent deforestation and to promote construction alternatives. This was the Proyecto Nacional de Bambú, which helped build 2,600 homes for the poor. It began in 1986 and spun off a Fundación del Bambú in 1995. Also set up were bamboo plantations.
However, the government ended this project on financial grounds.