Bamboo architecture: A School Beyond the Boundaries of the Bamboo – Bali’s Green School

Bamboo has traditionally been a popular building material in tropical climates. However, it has primarily been utilized for low-cost shacks, stalls, fences, scaffolding, and sunscreens. Bamboo is very flammable if not treated and naturally degrades in two or three years due to insects and fungi devouring the sugar-and-starch-rich sap inside the canes.

Linda Garland, an Irish-Australian designer, pioneered contemporary uses of bamboo in Bali throughout the 1990s. She collaborated with Walter Liese, a scientist at the University of Hamburg, to protect bamboo against powderpost beetles and transform it into an economically viable building material.

Drilling through the centers of the canes with long steel rods is an important preparatory procedure, followed by the application of repellant and fire-resistant chemicals. Typically, this entails soaking in a solution containing borax salt powder. After that, the bamboo is cured for several days to weeks.

The ‘Green School’ in Ubud, Bali, has served as a role model for a global renaissance in nurturing one of the century’s most significant architectural styles. The school emphasizes the use of bamboo building, which is thought to be one of the most effective materials for a sustainable future.

Situated on a site in an undeveloped and natural area of gentle jungle of the Sibang Kaja Village, bisected by the Ayung River makes it an ideal place for students to connect with nature. The site is farmed and landscaped to make it productive while being safe and secure. Green School absorbs and respects the rich culture and customs of this island which is known for its inspirational creativity.

Today, Bali’s Green School and numerous affiliated businesses are at the frontline of a third century drive to construct geometrically unconventional, often sinuous, structures.

The trans-millennial technology boom in digital modeling and production has clearly inspired these outré aesthetics. Extremely asymmetrical architecture may now be carefully constructed using metal, glass, and brick components.

The Hardys and their international team of bamboo building professionals, on the other hand, create small-scale physical models of their designs. The artisans then make full-scale replicas of these models on the spot. Designers should not be discouraged from drawing first concepts on their screens because of this manual system.

The Green School educates about 500 students from pre-kindergarten to Year 12. It supplements traditional curriculum courses with a variety of practical exercises and projects that foster healthy and environmentally conscious skills and habits. Teachers and parents who have been co-opted as project leaders and mentors encourage students to design and build specific structures that provide valuable amenities for the campus.

The majority of the school’s buildings were planned and built by Elora Hardy’s team at the architecture, interior, and landscape design firm Ibuku. They have also designed yoga and cooking school pavilions, hotels, houses, restaurant interiors, and permaculture gardens in Bali and other Asian cities.

Green Camp residential courses for children and their parents visiting for one to eleven days are also offered through an allied venture. Their meals are prepared using vegetables grown on the Hardys’ permaculture farm, Kul Kul.

Another family business, Bamboo U, led by Orin Hardy, offers hands-on instruction for aspiring builders. The courses encompass bamboo selection (various applications of seven favored Balinese species), treatment, building design, modeling, and on-site construction, with instructors from Ibuku.

During the first decade of the Green School, a new generation of studios led by young Asian architects rose to prominence and won international honors for their use of bamboo. They are as follows: Vo Trong Nghia (VTNA) and H&P Architects in Vietnam; Nattapon Klinsuwan (NKWD), Chiangmai Life Architects, and Bambooroo in Thailand; Abin Design Studio and Mansaram Architects in India; Bambu Art in Bali; Atelier Sacha Cotture in the Philippines; HWCD, Penda (Chris Precht), and Li Xiaodong in China; and

In addition, certain long-established, internationally recognized architecture firms have built projects that make extensive use of bamboo. Japanese architects Kengo Kuma, Arata Isozaki, and Shigeru Ban are among them, as are London-based Foster + Partners and Italy’s Renzo Piano.

Because timber or concrete slab flooring can be laid continuously flat, they are used in many bamboo buildings nowadays. However, researchers at Empa, Switzerland’s materials research academy, have produced exceptionally durable and temperature-insensitive floor and deck boards built from a bamboo-fiber-and-resin composite. These prototype boards are being tested in one of the Vision Wood student apartment modules, which has been installed in Empa’s NEST testing center in Dübendorf.

Source: The Conversation || Green School

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