Innovation That Matters

The main building of the Green School was made of bamboo shaped, like the schools other structures, into organic shapes and forms. | Photo source IBUKU

School made of bamboo promotes and sustains natural environment

Architecture & Design

Most of the structures of the Green School in Bali are built using bamboo designed in organic forms and shapes

Spotted: In Bali, a school that promotes sustainability through learning in a natural environment is practising what it preaches by constructing its buildings from an unusual material – bamboo. The Green School was founded by John and Cynthia Hardy, and designed by their daughter Elora Hardy and her studio Ibuku, in collaboration with bamboo architect Jörg Stamm and structural engineering firm  Atelier One.  

Most of the structures of the Green School are built using bamboo designed in organic forms and shapes. The latest building at the school, the Arc gymnasium, features a unique and complex double-curved roof. The roof is supported by 14-metre-high bamboo arches and curved shells to create an undulating canopy held in place through tension. 

Other bamboo structures at the school include the three-story main building, called Heart of School, which features a roof in the shape of three nautili spiralling into one another and supported by three giant bamboo towers. All of Ibuku’s bamboo is harvested in a sustainable manner, ensuring that only mature poles are harvested. To prevent termites and Powder Post beetle infestations, the bamboo is treated with a natural, non-toxic boron solution that is re-used in a closed-loop system. 

In explaining why they chose to build in bamboo, the Green School’s founders point to its reliability, sustainability and strength, saying, “Bamboo is the future…The rainforest is almost gone, plywood is mostly made from the rainforest and cement has a carbon load that is not going to help the future. That leaves bamboo and if children plant bamboo today in eight years they will have timber ready to go and they will get timber every year for the rest of their life to build anything they need.” 

Bamboo is just one of any number of innovative materials that are being used to create more sustainable structures. Some of the ones recently explored here at Springwise include 3D printing with clay and bio-concrete made from weeds and crawfish shells. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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