The largest bamboo arched structure in the world

Green School, IBUKU - December 16, 2020

The new gym at Green School Bali is an incredible project and has brought together a team of architecture and engineering experts to create the largest bamboo arched structure in the world. The photo below is from December 12th, Cynthia just landed and we went to visit. John is holding the bamboo model used on-site as a blueprint for the team.

Below is the story behind the project from the team at IBUKU.  Photos from James Wolf and Rowland Sauls. 

 

From the IBUKU team:

As far as we know, the new gymnasium at Green School Bali is the first building of its kind ever made; it is a series of bamboo arches stitched together by anticlastic gridshells. Upon its completion, it will be the largest bamboo arch structure in the world, since it does not employ the use of curved trusses. The building’s structure is also uniquely designed so that no one piece of the structure can stand alone. It is perfectly minimal in that it only works as a whole. The roof allows itself the ability to be impossibly thin since it curves in two directions, like leaves on certain types of plants.

There have been countless surprises along the journey of this building’s design but the biggest one is the scale. Once the first few arches of this structure were erected, we were fully confronted with the size of this building. The magnitude of space in this one giant room–with all its curves and sweeping surfaces, outlined beautifully in natural bamboo–feels almost holy. This will be a building like Sharma Springs, beautiful in imagery, but well worth the pilgrimage to see.

 

“IBUKU is proud to be working on a new gymnasium for the Green School Bali campus. We began the process several months ago, so in the middle of designing this building everything changed. COVID-19 brought challenges which required constant spontaneous coordination of maneuvers between IBUKU and Green School alike.In our world, where so much of the work is seen and felt, it was a real challenge for us to coordinate the intricate design process through imagery and video conferencing while working from home. We kept reminding ourselves to be like bamboo, strong and flexible, and we pushed ourselves with a commitment to deliver something the world will be proud of. Although the journey has been challenging, every minute has been worth the effort and we are so excited to finish this project and share it with the rest of the world.”


Rowland Sauls, Architect

 

Rowland also helped with a special class for the Green School students in 5th grade:

“Pak Andy, who is the fifth grade teacher, reached out to Elora. The fifth graders were doing a unit on engineering so we were guest teachers for a couple of days. We had class in the viewing booth right next to the construction site. I used the chalkboard there, the scale model, and the view to the construction site to teach concepts of engineering and architecture to the class. They were very inquisitive and I think were able to see some real concepts of engineering through the construction process. We also were in the viewing booth with the class to watch the first arch be lifted into place.”

 

Q&A with key members of the IBUKU team:

 

Defit Wijaya, IBUKU Lead Architect

What is new and amazing about it? The structure
What has surprised you about it? the collaboration process when conceptual stage between
IBUKU, Jorg Stamm and Neil Thomas – imagine those perspectives merging
What do you personally love about it? The undulating roofline – feminine muscle.

 

Jules de Laage, Architect

What is new and amazing about it? Its structural system combining arches and saddle
gridshells that allows creating an unprecedented inner volume, without the distraction that
trusses would have induced.
What has surprised you about it? While rebreb has been used by IBUKU since its creation,
the revised engineering of it by using reinforcing splits enhanced an incredible stiffness of the
arches, making the technique not only beautiful but extremely efficient as well.
What are you proud of about your involvement in it that will show in the result?
Connecting the dots between the design team, engineering team and construction team.
Getting the Balinese workers to build their confidence working with new building/erection
methods they had no experience with before.

 

Doni Aji Wibowo, Architect & Bamboo Artisan

What has surprised you about it? The design and construction process feels like the designing starts
from the structure.
What do you personally love about it? The challenge of upgrading the old building system to
something completely new.

 

Notes on the structure from James Wolf

“It’s the largest arched structure in bamboo of its kind in the world that’s going up right now. The design process started with Elora Hardy and the IBUKU architecture firm and I’ve been working on testing and engineering for the last four months and the construction for the past 6 weeks.

We’ve tested the gym’s elements by building 6-meter sections of the arches and testing them. With specific testing methods, we load and measure the deflection, note how much it bends, then we load it another increment and measure again, and we continue this process until it breaks, ultimate loads are approaching up to a very impressive 4 tons! This testing gives us the relationship between stress and strain, which in engineering terms is called Young’s Modulus. Throughout the testing, we both learn and modify the construction details to make each part stronger. All testing data is fed to Neil Thomas of Atelier One, the engineer for IBUKU, he will do advanced stress analysis and when satisfied, will sign off on the design and construction specifications. It’s been very interesting to work with Neil and do this testing to find out exactly how strong this bamboo bundle is. This also opens doors to new and exciting designs that we hope to see soon.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Hardy and Cynthia Hardy (@greenbyjohn)


Part of the project was to design a large truss-like boom structure that is used to attach to every arch and lift it into place. It’s amazing to see it work. We’ve been putting the arches up for 6 days and have 10 of them in place already. It’s so exciting to see this coming to life in a larger than life scale!”

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Hardy and Cynthia Hardy (@greenbyjohn)


James Wolf has been working with bamboo for 25 years, building houses, furniture, bicycles, and more, he founded Bamboo Master Company, Boo Bicycles, and Boohugger, does independent design and consulting on all things bamboo, and is a graduate of RISD, the Rhode Island School of Design. James is taking a one year break from his own businesses to work with IBUKU and support the amazing work going on here in Bali.

 

 

 

 

Notes on the structure from James Wolf

“It’s the largest arched structure in bamboo of its kind in the world that’s going up right now. The design process started with Elora Hardy and the IBUKU architecture firm and I’ve been working on testing and engineering for the last four months and the construction for the past 6 weeks.

We’ve tested the gym’s elements by building 6-meter sections of the arches and testing them. With specific testing methods, we load and measure the deflection, note how much it bends, then we load it another increment and measure again, and we continue this process until it breaks, ultimate loads are approaching up to a very impressive 4 tons! This testing gives us the relationship between stress and strain, which in engineering terms is called Young’s Modulus. Throughout the testing, we both learn and modify the construction details to make each part stronger. All testing data is fed to Neil Thomas of Atelier One, the engineer for IBUKU, he will do advanced stress analysis and when satisfied, will sign off on the design and construction specifications. It’s been very interesting to work with Neil and do this testing to find out exactly how strong this bamboo bundle is. This also opens doors to new and exciting designs that we hope to see soon.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Hardy and Cynthia Hardy (@greenbyjohn)


Part of the project was to design a large truss-like boom structure that is used to attach to every arch and lift it into place. It’s amazing to see it work. We’ve been putting the arches up for 6 days and have 10 of them in place already. It’s so exciting to see this coming to life in a larger than life scale!”

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Hardy and Cynthia Hardy (@greenbyjohn)


James Wolf has been working with bamboo for 25 years, building houses, furniture, bicycles, and more, he founded Bamboo Master Company, Boo Bicycles, and Boohugger, does independent design and consulting on all things bamboo, and is a graduate of RISD, the Rhode Island School of Design. James is taking a one year break from his own businesses to work with IBUKU and support the amazing work going on here in Bali.

 

 

 

 

Notes on the structure from James Wolf

“It’s the largest arched structure in bamboo of its kind in the world that’s going up right now. The design process started with Elora Hardy and the IBUKU architecture firm and I’ve been working on testing and engineering for the last four months and the construction for the past 6 weeks.

We’ve tested the gym’s elements by building 6-meter sections of the arches and testing them. With specific testing methods, we load and measure the deflection, note how much it bends, then we load it another increment and measure again, and we continue this process until it breaks, ultimate loads are approaching up to a very impressive 4 tons! This testing gives us the relationship between stress and strain, which in engineering terms is called Young’s Modulus. Throughout the testing, we both learn and modify the construction details to make each part stronger. All testing data is fed to Neil Thomas of Atelier One, the engineer for IBUKU, he will do advanced stress analysis and when satisfied, will sign off on the design and construction specifications. It’s been very interesting to work with Neil and do this testing to find out exactly how strong this bamboo bundle is. This also opens doors to new and exciting designs that we hope to see soon.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Hardy and Cynthia Hardy (@greenbyjohn)


Part of the project was to design a large truss-like boom structure that is used to attach to every arch and lift it into place. It’s amazing to see it work. We’ve been putting the arches up for 6 days and have 10 of them in place already. It’s so exciting to see this coming to life in a larger than life scale!”

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by John Hardy and Cynthia Hardy (@greenbyjohn)


James Wolf has been working with bamboo for 25 years, building houses, furniture, bicycles, and more, he founded Bamboo Master Company, Boo Bicycles, and Boohugger, does independent design and consulting on all things bamboo, and is a graduate of RISD, the Rhode Island School of Design. James is taking a one year break from his own businesses to work with IBUKU and support the amazing work going on here in Bali.

 

 

 

 

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