The largest single expanse of bamboo at Green School Bali is an enormous roof that covers the indoor sports arena. This building is known as ‘The Heart of the School” and covers an incredible 64 metres, reaching 18 metres at it’s tallest point. It may be the largest bamboo structure in the world and along with the rest of the buildings provides a showcase for eco-friendly construction practices that offer a sustainable alternative to modern development.
The company behind the Green School Bali is locally based firm, PT Bambu. Creative Director, Aldo Landwehr saw the project as an opportunity to push the boundaries of ecologically sustainable architecture. The bamboo used in the construction was cultivated and treated on site and PT Bambu also researched and applied traditional techniques such as the use of flexible pins that allow them to contract and expand with the bamboo, creating a secure, durable structure. Nearly all the other materials used in the construction of the school were organic and included local “alang alang’ grass and mud bricks.
Bamboo itself is one of the world’s fastest growing plants. It is considerably stronger than many hard woods and when treated with borax salt becomes resistant to insects, making it a permanent material. The abundance of bamboo in Asia, combined with its versatility, has recently drawn major interest from designers and architects, but few have matched the aesthetic beauty demonstrated at Green School, which has been likened to an ecological cathedral.
Every student at Green School Bali is given the opportunity to plant his or her own bamboo plant, which four to five years down the line they will harvest, treat and build something with. But Green School Bali is not simply about architectural innovation. The students come from around the globe, many of them having relocated with their parents specifically to attend. The curriculum for younger children is influenced by the work of Rudolf Steiner, who pioneered the idea of holistic education. Older students have the opportunity to study for Cambridge IGCSE’s and an IB diploma/certificate course that takes them to graduation. Green Studies are an important part of the syllabus with a focus on sustainability. There is also a quality Creative Arts programme to complement the academic classes. In keeping with the cultural sensitivity of the project, 20% of the students are local Balinese children funded by scholarships from donors.
With a team of highly qualified, environmentally committed teachers, an ergonomic design that promotes creativity and learning, plus sustainable energy solutions like micro-hydro power, solar power, bio-diesel and predominantly natural air-conditioning. Green School Bali’s stated aim is “to deliver a generation of global citizens who are knowledgeable about and inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world”.