A Peek Inside a Bamboo House
Ever since reading an article about the beautiful bamboo structures in Green Village I was dying to visit. So when I spent a month in Bali I set about seeing them for myself by booking a guided tour.
They’re built in an incredible lush jungle setting in a village just outside Ubud in Bali, overlooking a winding river with steep sloping banks.
Some of the houses are homes (imagine living there!!) and some are open for tours and rentals. I’ve never been in a house where almost everything is made of the same material – they’re quite amazing. Green Village is an exciting example of a sustainable local alternative to mainstream building methods.
As bamboo grows so fast (a few feet a year!) it’s a super sustainable and renewable building material. It has greater tensile strength (or resistance to being pulled apart) than steel, and withstands compression better than concrete!
It’s incredibly versatile and is used for fixtures and fittings from wardrobes to kitchen units in the homes. The central bamboo spiral staircase was a little creaky when walking up it, but looks so amazing!
Bamboo is trendy and expensive in Europe; ironic given its seen as a poor man’s building material in a lot of places where it grows. I like the fact the creators are taking a traditional local building method and making it aspirational, with live examples of how amazing it can be.
The Green Village was set up by Elora Hardy, daughter of Canadian jewellery designer and Green School founder John Hardy.
I first heard about the green village through an eyecatching online article with beautiful images following that familiar click-enticing formula of “Person quits job to do x amazing thing” (inherent message: “yes you working office dullards could quit your jobs and do something amazing – here’s how”). Woman Quits Job To Build Sustainable Bamboo Homes In Bali. I also watched Elora’s inspiring Ted Talk about it.
Encouraging Local Sustainable Building Practices
The creators of the project hope to change the local Indonesian perception that bamboo houses are less desirable because poor people traditionally live in bamboo homes which don’t last well if untreated. The houses at the village are treated with borax which protects them from insects so they last a lifetime.
The Green School is in the same village surrounded by lush tropical jungle and rivers. It has some super cute bamboo structures including a phone box and science lab. Not a bad environment for kids! The school is popular with eco-conscious local expats. We had a brief look around but didn’t do the full tour as we had to get back.
If you’re in Bali it’s well worth seeing both.
Arranging a tour of Green Village
It’s a 25 minute drive from Ubud – you can either drive yourself to where the tour starts in the bamboo factory (put ‘PT Bamboo Pure’ into Google Maps for directions) or they’ll arrange a driver for you. It’s a scenic drive from Ubud past rice paddies and pretty Balinese villages. We did take a couple of wrong turns on the way back though!
Things I learned from this trip:
- We should tailor our building techniques to our surroundings, i.e. what grows and works locally
- Bamboo is even more amazing than I previously thought!