21.7.2015

Green Village

Green Village is a community of private homes on the Ayung River valley in Bali. Developed as an extension of the Green School community, it is a short walk from the Green School campus.

Each of the Seven existing homes are unique and were custom designed for their owners. Ibuku leads the design process, from the conceptual stage through to the interior and furniture design.

Bamboo as the primary material
Ibuku uses bamboo because of its strength, beauty, and flexibility, and also because with its 4-year growth cycle and carbon sequestration capacity it is the most environmentally conscientious building material conceivable. In a world of retro-fitting or re-designing traditional items and materials to be slightly less ‘bad’, we decided to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Though bamboo has traditionally been used throughout Asia in short-term structures, new treatment methods have given it a capacity for longer life. Our engineers, architects and designers have created a completely new vocabulary. Not only is bamboo good for the environment, it also helps the people living in that space connect to nature which then enhances quality of life.

I feel excited about the possibilities of building with bamboo.  It is plentiful, it grows quickly and easily, and is uniquely versatile. Our conscience is clear, and the world is cleaner and more beautiful for it” says Elora Hardy, Founder and Creative Director of Ibuku.

The Facts
Bamboo is a member of the grass family and there are 1,450 species growing across the world.  Ibuku primarily uses the species Dendrocalamus Asper, known as Petung in Indonesia.

• Strengh: Bamboo is strong, with the compressive force of concrete and the strength-to-weight ratio of steel.
• Fast growth: With very little attention, a bamboo shoot can become a structural column within three years, compared to 10-20 years for softwoods. Some species have been measured shooting skyward at 2 inches an hour or up to one and a half meters a day.
• Sustainability: With its three-year growth cycle and carbon sequestration capacity, it is a uniquely efficient and responsible resource. Even sustainable timber can’t begin to compare with bamboo as a building material.
• Longevity: Though bamboo has traditionally been used throughout Asia, new treatment methods have given it a new reliability for long life. Ibuku’s bamboo is treated ecologically with a salt solution, then lab-tested to confirm its durability and integrity, making it as hard-wearing as timber.

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The Ibuku Process
Harvest
Our bamboo is carefully selected from the river valleys and mountains of the islands of Bali and Java in Indonesia. We harvest from clumps that, once established, grow a new generation of shoots each year. It takes just a few months for a new bamboo shoot to reach its full height, and in three years it becomes timber ready for harvest. Ibuku takes great care to ensure that only the mature poles are harvested, creating an incentive for the bamboo farmers to allow the younger shoots to grow to maturity for subsequent years’ harvests.

Treatment
In the past bamboo buildings were susceptible to termites and Powder Post Beetle infestations that would eat the bamboo to dust. Our Bamboo is treated with a boron solution, a naturally occurring salt solution that renders the bamboo indigestible to insects. It has a toxicity level just 1.5 times greater than that of regular table salt. The solution is re-used in a closed-loop system ensuring minimal impact on the immediate ecosystem.

Design Process
Our design process occurs on the land and for the land. The houses are tailored to gently rest on their foundation, carefully set in the earth’s natural contour, so that they have minimal impact on the environment.

Instead of conventional blueprints, we create to-scale structural models made of hand-whittled bamboo sticks.  These models are replicated in 3D line in computer programs for our engineers to study and confirm that the building adheres to our strict codes. The design process doesn’t end there.  Our architects and engineers then follow the project in depth through completion to ensure structural integrity and longevity.

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Like any natural fiber, bamboo must be protected from the sun and rain. The dramatic overhanging roof and tilting structural columns are designed to protect the villas for the long-term. To protect them from moisture, our structural beams are secured by steel and concrete to large river rock stones.  These are in turn secured within the earth’s foundation by steel rods reaching down several meters, as determined by our team of structural engineers.

Bamboo building are like a living organism, every bamboo pole represents the ‘DNA’  of the building, each unique like real strands of DNA. The strands of the bamboo ‘DNA’ form a network structure, where each pole has its own specific function, be it in the walls, ceilings, stairs or roof. When they come together, to form a body, it waits to be given a soul by those inhabiting the building.

Defit Wijaya, Ibuku

Construction
Since the early days of Green School’s construction, we have collaborated with teams of skilled bamboo craftsmen, many of whom are descended from generations of wood and stone carvers. We are proud to be continuing and evolving this age-old tradition so it can live on in Bali. Onsite, these craftsmen measure and replicate the bamboo model, building these structures almost entirely by hand. Our 300 square meter (sqm) houses at Green Village Bali each contain 8,100 running meters of bamboo, or approximately 1,200 poles. An additional 3,000 m is used in interior finishing.

Furniture
While the structure is under construction, our interior design team custom designs furniture and interiors for each home we build. Our craftsmen combine their traditional skills with modern carpentry techniques to produce our all-bamboo furniture. They transform poles of bamboo into floors, walls, baskets, railings, beds, chairs, kitchens, ceilings, stairs, and tables.

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Additional materials
The main structure of the house is made of bamboo, however strong foundations are constructed from stone, concrete and steel.  To ensure long-term weather resistance, roofs are made using bamboo shingles with an aluminum lining. Interior accents are created using natural materials found in local environs, including giant stone slabs, beaten copper in bathrooms, paper walls, and hammered brass details, all handmade by local artisans using traditional techniques.​

Elora Hardy Designing Green Village from soma helmi on Vimeo.

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