The beauty of anticlastic bamboo gridshells: The Arc at Green School

Green School, IBUKU - July 28, 2021

A lot of projects stopped because of COVID. We wanted to look beyond COVID and keep designing, keep building, and keep creating, because this thing will be gone one day. At the school, we continued The Arc, which turned out to be a phenomenal boost for everyone.

The Arc is something I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to create hope for the one-day post-pandemic world. The Arc turned out to be an incredible meeting of the minds, with Elora, Jorg Stamm, Neil Thomas, and many more. They have built 19-meter bamboo magic. More importantly, it’s a piece of beauty. I can’t wait to get back to Bali to see it in person in its final form.

Introducing The Arc at Green School Bali by IBUKU, a new era for organic architecture with its 19m span arches interconnected by anticlastic bamboo gridshells. A new community wellness space and gymnasium for the extraordinary Green School Bali campus, in collaboration with Jorg Stamm and Atelier One.

It’s had amazing coverage so far with articles in Dezeen, Archdaily and Design Boom.


The Arc operates like the ribs of a mammal’s chest, stabilized by tensile membranes analogous to tendons and muscles between ribs. Biologically, these highly tensile microscopic tendons transfer forces from bone to bone. In The Arc, bamboo splits transfer forces from arch to arch.”

—Jörg Stamm, The Arc at Green School Design Conceptor



IBUKU says:

IBUKU has pioneered a new design vocabulary, making our own rules along the way, and offering new solutions to the world through our journey. Today, we offer yet another design solution, an unprecedented structure which is not only an incredible piece of bamboo architecture, but will serve as a reference in lightweight structures altogether.

The Arc is the newest building on campus at the world-renowned Green School in Bali, Indonesia. The school has a 12 year history of breaking boundaries and expanding horizons and the Arc is the newest benchmark in that history, raising the bar for sustainable education around the world. The first building of its kind ever made, The Arc at Green School is built from a series of intersecting 14 meter tall bamboo arches spanning 19 meters, interconnected by anticlastic gridshells which derive their strength from curving in two opposite directions.

The Arc is a feat of engineering; it required months of research and development and fine tuning of tailor-made details. The result is a refined design with unparalleled beauty, which stands as a testament to IBUKU’s commitment to expanding horizons in architecture and design.

The Arc employs one of nature’s greatest strategies for creating large spaces with minimal structure. Within a human ribcage, a series of ribs working in compression are held in place by a tensioned flexible layer of muscle and skin. This creates a thin but strong encasement for the lungs. In the case of The Arc, arches working in compression are held in place by tensioned anticlastic gridshells. These fields of gridshells appear to drape across the spaces between impossibly thin arches soaring overhead, giving a whimsy, intimacy and beauty to the space. Although, the gridshells appear to hang from the arches, they actually hold them up.

All photos by Tommaso Riva.

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