At IBUKU we believe in a hopeful, inspirational world where innovating with natural materials connects people with nature. We see a chance to design spaces that give people the experience of wonder. IBUKU is a team of designers and architects exploring groundbreaking ways of designing…
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.
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.
Why we use 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.
“So why bamboo? Bamboo is the future. It is the most beautiful, versatile, tallest and strongest material that we could possibly choose. 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.”
-John Hardy, Green School co-founder
Bamboo is strong, with the compressive force of concrete and the strength-to-weight ratio of steel.
With very little attention, a bamboo shoot can become a structural column within three years, and that building could stand strong for a lifetime.
With its three-year growth cycle and carbon sequestration it is a uniquely efficient and responsible resource. Even sustainable timber can’t begin to compare with bamboo as a conscientious building material.
Though bamboo has traditionally been used throughout Asia, new treatment methods have given it a longer lifespan. IBUKU’s bamboo, selectively harvested from local sources, is treated ecologically, then lab tested to confirm its durability and integrity.
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.
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 prevent 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 buildings 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
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 contain 8,100 running meters of bamboo, or approximately 1,200 poles. An additional 3,000 m is used in interior finishing.
PT. Bamboo Pure is IBUKU’s exclusive construction partner. PT Bamboo Pure is a Bali-based bamboo treatment facility and custom furniture workshop which brings IBUKU’s designs into reality.
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.
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.