Bamboo Design & Build Course | February Edition

Bamboo. The mighty plant of the tropics. The King (and Queen) of natural building. It stands tall in sheltered valleys, grows at a fascinating pace, and is gracefully flexible, strong and beautiful. Let’s face it, bamboo is why many people come to Green School. Combine this abundant material with the Balinese craftsmen and a creative design team.. and you have magic.

And who doesn’t want magic? So here we are. Bamboo U: February Edition. Our second successful bamboo building course, envisioned by John Hardy, developed by us at the farm, with the support of Elora Hardy and the Ibuku team.

Its a tall order delivering magic in 12 days, whilst giving people the skills and tools to create their own magic elsewhere. Especially when the experts; the balinese craftsmen, don’t speak fluent English. But, when creative, passionate humans come together almost anything is possible.

In less that 2 weeks students visited some of the incredible bamboo homes at Green Village, learned how to harvest and manage bamboo clumps sustainably, built bamboo models, designed and crafted their own bamboo furniture pieces, experimented with 3D printing joints for building modular bamboo structures, wove a bamboo pantry to store our coconut sugar, built 2 bamboo garden carts using a natural resin to fix the joints together and built the farm’s new compost building. Phew!! (of course all of this happened with the help of an incredible team of craftsmen and carpenters).

Harvesting Bamboo Sustainably with Arief Rabik

Arief is a wealth of knowledge, facts and figures. One thing to remember about managing your bamboo clump, start with observation (just like in permaculture design) a leaf, stem, culm and roots can tell your whether the clump is baking in the sun with too little water, or whether its roots are uncomfortably naked and you need to cover up with soil and compost, it will tell you its age and whether its a got any nasty fungus. Observation is key.

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Design begins with inspiration, a sharpened pencil and crisp paper. With bamboo architecture it evolves quickly and becomes alive by widdling the same bamboo you use to build your structure into teeny weeny bamboo sticks that you assemble into a model of your building, using the specific proportions you’ll later use to build. Bamboo model making is an art. Its a chance to become familiar with the material and make your visions come alive, without a whole lot of pressure and expense. Bamboo carpenters use this as the footprint of the house on site.

Making Bamboo Models and Designing The Great Hall of Bamboo

A Bamboo U(niversity) is John Hardy’s vision for Bamboo U. A grown-up Green School, a full time bamboo architecture university, teaching bamboo all day, every day. “The Great Hall of Bamboo” is the name for the first building that theoretically will be built by the first cohort of students, designed by Bamboo U (in its current form). Here are some of the designs that students’ came up with.


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Building with bamboo is a collaboration of skill, experience and intuition. It is not easy, but bamboo is forgiving and with the right guidance and sufficient practice buildings go up fast! Here’s what we built during the course:

Building the Farm’s Compost Shelter

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Bamboo Furniture Pieces

The Leaf Stool by Dushanka
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The Sofa by Sandra

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The Deck Chair, Teardrop Shelves, Modular Stool and Light fixture by Susan, Michelle, Kelsi and Jason.

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Bamboo on wheels: Garden Carts (Joints fixed with Natural Resin- facilitated by Klaus Volkmann)

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Bamboo Woven: The Coconut Sugar Pantry

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3D Printing for Bamboo

(The following video was made by students during Bamboo U- Facilitated by Baxter and Pablo)


What we offer goes beyond bamboo and permaculture. We are here to shift something within people, to ignite their creativity and light their imagination on fire. Neil Thomas (structural engineer of Atelier One) came to give a talk in giant inflatable breasts (designed by Carina Hardy), made from organic cotton and natural latex- the first ever eco inflatable! Neil took us on a journey through his incredible engineering work; from Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Gate to the London Olympics and to stages for the Rolling Stones and U2 (He’s pretty much the rockstar of engineers).

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Trash Walk with Sampah Jujur and John Hardy

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Bambu Indah Closing Celebration

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All of this could not have been possible without our incredible Bamboo U teaching team (and our awesome farm team and carpenters who haven’t been fully captured here).

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Join our next Bamboo U Course this June 2nd – 13th. Bookings are open. Tickets go super quick!

(IMP: This course is only eligible to students or professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, design, building or carpentry, please email us if you would like to attend but have little experience in the above professions).