Elora Hardy and her team of designers, artisans, and builders at Ibuku are reimagining sustainable building, using one of nature's strongest and most versatile materials.
Bamboo has the compressive strength of concrete, the same strength-to-weight ratio of steel, and can regenerate itself in just a few short years. It's also flexible, beautiful, and resilient, and serves as an effective carbon sequestration channel.
Sounds great, right? So why aren't more buildings made from this wonder material? Because bamboo is a wild grass, it's also round, hollow, and tapered, and presents unique challenges to those who build with it. The material lends itself more easily to bespoke homes than to conventional and mass-produced houses, which have a ready source of straight, square, and uniform wood, thanks to the well-established timber industry.
One inspiring woman and her team of craftsmen in Bali are working to change that, one incredible bamboo structure at a time, because they believe that bamboo’s potential is underestimated, and that it should be used to house many more people around the world, especially in the tropics.
"The strength of this abundant local grass allows for towering, curvilinear structures with a notable sense of luminosity and comfort. Ibuku builds on a design process and an engineering system that were first established at the nearby Green School. Five years ago, Elora and her team chose one humble material, and with it they are building a whole new world." - TED
And the bamboo revolution doesn't stop at the skin of the house, because Ibuku also creates beautiful and sustainable furnishings for the insides of the buildings, almost entirely from bamboo and other natural and local materials.
As mentioned in the video above, bamboo isn't without its weak points, which include degradation by pests, moisture, and weathering, as well as the inability to easily produce large flat panels (such as for roofing or flooring), but Hardy and the Ibuku team have found ways to work with or around these perceived weaknesses, and to do so, in her own words, "We have had to invent our own rules."