At Ibuku we design and build with bamboo. We think about buildings outside of the box. The materials we use, the people we work with, and the land we build on all inform our design process. The traditional skills of Balinese craftsmen, combined with our design ideas and modern engineering enable us to create original bamboo structures that meet the needs of a diverse clientele.
Ibuku’s origins lie in the belief that bamboo can change the way we build. It began with the work of a woman named Linda Garland. She was sailing in Indonesian on a traditional fishing boat with a giant bamboo outrigger. Amazed by the size of the bamboo, she asked the fishermen to take her to the place where it grew. This was the beginning of a journey that led her to start the Environmental Bamboo Foundation in 1993 to research and experiment with bamboo as a long-term sustainable building material. Her efforts have captured the imagination of the world.
Linda’s work also inspired her friend John Hardy to take a greater interest in bamboo. John soon came to see bamboo as the future of sustainable building and made a vow never to construct another wood or concrete building. John’s first serious bamboo building was conceived with architect Cheong Yew Kuan in a rice field full of tall Umbul-Umbul flags. Inspired by the natural curve of the bamboo, they tied the tips of the poles together into a towering arch. This ultimately became Kapal Bambu, the ‘bamboo ship’ showroom at the John Hardy compound in Bali.
John’s next building, the Minang House, reflects the exact proportions of a traditional Sumatran clan house, as measured and translated into bamboo by architect and Fulbright scholar Miya Winter Buxton. Traditionally made out of rainforest timber, this Minang House, built for the Bambu Indah Hotel, was constructed entirely from black Petung bamboo and has pioneered many bamboo joinery and flooring techniques. John likes to call this building “a new kind of cultural imperialism. Instead of taking a structure apart and dragging it home, you leave with the beauty, the shape, and the proportion, and then you build it in an innovative way with local materials.”
In late 2007 John gathered a team to design and build the Green School. The first structure at Green School was a bridge, connecting the two sides of the river valley campus. It stands as an outstanding example of what is possible when architects, engineers, designers, and craftsmen come together to build in a new way. The construction of Green School led to many innovations in bamboo architecture and engineering. Joerg Stamm, a German builder who specializes in bamboo, was a key contributor to this process along with artist Aldo Landwher. Together they are responsible for developing many of the design aesthetics and engineering concepts used by Ibuku today. Jorge developed the concept of creating central basket-like towers to hold up larger buildings, as well as the ‘Lidi’ concept, giving us access to our signature curvilinear vocabulary.
In 2010 Elora Hardy, John’s daughter, returned to Bali to continue the evolution of bamboo design under the name Ibuku. Together she and her team of talented Indonesian designers and architects have built forty new bamboo structures in Bali. Many of these buildings now make up Green Village, a community of luxurious private homes neighboring Green School. Ibuku continues to expand the potential of building exceptional bamboo structures.