Bamboo is an appealing green building option but there are limitations to the product. MIT researchers are looking for ways to engineer the grass to create a more structurally sound material similar to plywood.

In collaboration with architects and wood processors from England and Canada, the research team has been investigating the idea of slicing the stalk, or culm, into smaller pieces and then bonding them like wood composites to form sturdy blocks. Although the effect created by using traditional bamboo can be spectacular,…