We have developed an organosilane-directed growth-induced etching strategy to prepare hollow periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO) nanospheres with perpendicular mesoporous channels and a clear hollow interior as well as an amphiphilic framework. This facile strategy is simple, efficient, and highly controllable. Silica nanospheres were utilized as hard templates to obtain hollow PMO nanospheres through a one-step route, with the structure parameter highly controlled by adjusting the synthesis conditions. Different organosilanes were used to obtain bridged hollow PMO nanospheres of different organic groups and showed different directed capacities. The integrity of the bridged organic group was confirmed by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations showed that the growth of the PMO shell and the dissolution of the silica nanosphere core occurred simultaneously for each nanosphere, while 29Si NMR spectra revealed that the dissolved silica species from the silica nanospheres transformed into PMO shells by co-condensation with hydrolyzed organosilane oligomers. As a result, the obtained hollow nanospheres were amphiphilic, which can even be used as a particle emulsifier for O-W or W-O emulsion in various systems. These materials can also be served as an efficient sorbent for removal of hydrophobic contaminants in water. Using the proposed formation mechanism, this strategy can be extended to transform silica-coated composite materials into yolk-shell structures with a functional interior core and a perpendicular mesoporous amphiphilic shell. As a nanoreactor, the -Ph- bridged amphiphilic shell showed a faster diffusion rate for organic reactants in water than the hydrophilic silica shell, and thus better catalytic activity for reduction of 4-nitrophenol. This journal is © the Partner Organisations 2014.