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Bamboo - Strong, Unique, and Sustainable building product

Updated: Feb 20

The most sustainable building product on the planet, safe, strong, and versatile.


Since I was a child, I've been in and out of over a dozen homes. Growing up my parents were Real Estate Investors and they would spend their spare time and money flipping our homes.


Some of the homes had big projects, and others were small... I was always helping, and working with them on home design, which seemed normal for me. I graduated high school at 16 and then received my Interior Design Diploma.


I found myself browsing the web a few years ago, stumbling upon Hideout Bali. It's an absolute Bamboo Paradise. After locking my eyes on that photo I knew it was a place I had to be.

In 2018 I decided to pack my back and travel across Bali's archipelago.





HIDEOUT BALI



Hideout Bali is a secluded bamboo bungalow located in the rice fields of South-Eastern Bali.

Specifically the village of Alas Tunggal Duda - Selat Karangasem Area


About Ali and Jarmil


We first came to Bali in 2012 and as you can imagine fell deeply in love with this place. Especially with this area, so close to Gunung Agung, with absolute privacy, authentic Balinese life, and in the middle of wild nature.


The idea of a bamboo house came at the end of 2014. It was kind of like a dream seeing this place transform from busy and unreachable to a great place to live


Before even starting we had one clear idea in mind, to be echo-friendly. To cherish nature here and preserve the local biosystem.


The building process followed strict rules to ensure as little harm as possible and develop a sustainable bamboo building for a lifetime.


Bamboo


Over 95% of the house is built with Bamboo Tali, which takes only 3 years to grow to cutting size!


Bamboo can absorb enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and at the same time produce oxygen. This makes bamboo the best sustainable building material. Bamboo for Hideout was harvested in the village Iseh, less than 5km away!


The roof is Alang-Alang, the thatched roof from grass harvested in Klungkung. It's known for good temperature stability and you will be pleased by the acoustics of that space.


The House


Hideout has two stories and a big garden, even though your private garden is limited to space near the house, you can explore the rest of the land as much as you'd like!


Kitchen


The kitchen is equipped with necessities, you may even get by making yourself breakfast. There's a gas cooker that can be refilled as soon as you ask.

The water filtration is a Terracota, using tap water through the body of the active carbon and silver filter. Free drinkable safe water.


Bathroom

The bathroom is basic but you are wowed by the beautiful outdoor shower with hot water!

Other things to find and help provided

  • Safe box in the wardrobe

  • First aid kit

  • Phone

  • Stereo

  • Sheets and towels

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Bike helmets

  • Transport arrangements

  • Laundry

  • Games

  • Magazines

  • Instruments




Nature

In the gardens around Hideout, you will find over 10 species of banana trees!

Also, have fun finding the...

  • Avocado tree

  • mango tree

  • papaya tree

  • pineapple

  • ginger

  • guava tree

  • aloe vera

  • Lemongrass

  • Chilli tree

  • tapioca


Campuhan

Where the two rivers meet, the Balinese consider this place as a source of holy water.

It is a great mystical place with great healing power.


You will have the chance to witness Balinese families approach the river and pray here. please respect their privacy.


Balinese people are very curious, so if they see you are interested they might ask you a few questions about yourself


Raining Season

From December to March (it can vary) there is a rainy season in Bali. you find yourself very high in the mountains, (approx 800m above sea level) and therefore it can get a little wetter here than down below.


The river will rise during heavy rains and there's nothing to be concerned about. Enjoy the sounds.


The river is very clean, especially during the dry season. It's nearly drinkable!

If it is very hot, some of the local villages lose their natural water intake, therefore you might see some people enjoying a dip in the water. The river is not so deep, usually, it reaches your knees and thighs, if you feel adventurous enough you can follow the river up or downstream to see the nature around. we especially recommend a swim from the waterwheel downstream. you will see an awesome cave with bats. you will find yourself in a place with a fallen tree!


The Water Wheel

You will see the simple Water and Electricity Distribution system in the diagram.


  1. The water wheel pumps the water using only kinetic energy.

  2. before entering the water tank, water goes through natural filtration.

  3. There are two outlets, one for overflow and one for the inlets to the house.

  4. Water is distributed in the house.

  5. Wastewater goes to a three-part septic tank, which follows the principles of a wet septic tank with worms. (worms in the first part)

  6. Our septic solution is very efficient and the water that leaves is very clean.

  7. Overflow goes back to the river.

  8. There is a DC alternator right next to the water wheel. There are DC cables which lead to the batteries next to the house. It can give 550-900 watts.



Bamboo inspiration




Elora Hardy









"It can get hot in the tropics so they design big curving roofs to catch the breezes.


Some rooms have tall windows to keep the AC in and bugs out!

Some rooms are open, with tented beds.

Some clients want a hidden TV room within woven pods.













Bamboo homes have all the necessary luxuries like bathrooms and kitchens.

But, some washrooms are unique like a basket room."









Bamboo will treat you well if you use it right.


Bamboo is a wild grass that grows in deep ravines and lives off rainwater, and spring water.


There are 1450 species of bamboo grow across the world and we use only 7 of them. After planting, you receive sustainable timber in only 3 years



They can have shoots with 18m in usable length.


It has the strength of steel.

the compression strength of concrete,

is hallow and lightweight




They built a green school of all bamboo. It's a promise to the local kids as a sustainable material they won't run out of.


It makes perfect sense. It's growing all around us, it's beautiful, it's strong, it's earthquake resistant.

Why hasn't this happened sooner?


Ibuku

"My Mother Earth"


The team of architects, makers, artisans, and designers creating a new way of building. They've built over 50 incredible Bamboo structures in Bali surrounded by veggie gardens.


Bamboo has been used in the tropics for thousands of years. Islands and continents were first reached by bamboo rafts.


Until recently it's been impossible to protect bamboo from insects. Untreated bamboo weathers and gets eaten to dust.


What do pandas eat?


Most people in Asia think you can't be poor enough to want to live in a bamboo house. So they're here to start to change their minds. Convince people that bamboo is worth building with. More or less worth aspiring to. Borax is a natural salt that turns bamboo into a viable building material.


Build something extraordinary with bamboo!

Remember you are designing for curving, tapering hollow poles, no two-poles are alike, no 2x4s here. With bamboo, you invent your own rules...


Scaled mini 3D structural models are brought to the site for reference and measurements.


Everything is considered with details...












Why are doors rectangular and not round? How can you make it better? Hinges battle with gravity and we know who will win... so why not pivot a round door in the centre?

Where it will be balanced... even shaped as teardrops is proven more efficient!







Be ready for the challenge, you don't want to find yourself dreaming of sheetrock and plywood halfway through your project.

This means that bamboo building isn't for everyone, it's a natural solution that you must fall in love with.


They've learnt ways to build with small slits by weaving it all together, then canvassing it, or lacquering it.


Designing a perfect natural unique countertop is as easy as slicing a boulder like a loaf of bread.


What you build with bamboo is entirely handmade. you can reinforce it with steel joints and bamboo pins. Thousand of these pins are on each floor.


A floor can be made of bamboo skin, feeling the texture on your bare feet.





"Can the floor you walk on affect the way that you walk? Will it change the footprint you leave on the world?" - Elora Hardy


John Hardy




Left Canada in 1975, he always wanted to be an architect but is learning differently. He's a bamboo architect and builder. Using the most sustainable product on the planet.


Architects must be:

  • unique

  • creative

  • careful

  • eco-friendly

  • beauty friendly


He's built factories, houses, schools, cathedrals, bridges and so many things in Bali.

"Mother of Bamboo" was the inspiration for him.

Listening to her about its growth and strength.

Another bonus about bamboo is that it is a natural wood which doesn’t need to be milled.


Treating bamboo is what made the world of a difference. A product that's only good for a small amount of time - to a product that is good forever.


Building with mini 3D models is so much more real than 3D renderings on computers...

There are many stages to the model and it's always used on-site for building reference.


Architects elsewhere are very tunnel-driven with rules and regulations. Trying to show them how we can reach beyond this, by working with artisans and creators.


The great ancient cathedrals in Europe weren't built by Architects but by Artisans and builders.


"Modern age ego problems"


Bamboo Treatment and Resistance


Bamboo needs to be treated first before utilizing it for construction. Treated and engineered bamboo is used in building structures for its effectiveness and to assure that the structure will be termite-resistant.


It is effective to use bamboo that is pre-treated with borate. Borate has two types: borax and boric acid, which are often used in the bamboo preservation method.

It is proven that borates can kill the protozoa that allow termites to consume cellulose. The bamboo pre-treated with borates is termite-proof.


Borates are cheap, low in toxicity, with 1.5x more toxic than regular table salt, and are safe when in use.


Bamboo is susceptible to insects like termites, borers, the powderpost beetle, and even fungi. If not treated properly, bamboo products and structures will only last a few years before they are eaten to dust. But don't get discouraged, there are many ways in which bamboo can be treated.


These methods include adding a borax-based solution into the poles. You can do this through immersion, or pressure treatment using the Boucherie, or the modified Boucherie system. But in this article, we are going to talk about a special low-tech treatment option, the Vertical Soak Diffusion, or VSD.


VSD is an efficient treatment method for small projects or even large construction projects if you have a small budget. This is because it can be done with less equipment and very little investment.


In the VSD method, all the nodes of the bamboo pole except the last one are punctured with a long iron rod with a spearhead. Then, the bamboo poles are placed vertically, and the preservative is poured inside. Think about it like filling a long cup of bamboo with a preservative solution.





Bamboo grows everywhere nothing else wants to grow, there's bamboo everywhere over the earth.


Here's an idea, like this idea of building an eco-friendly bamboo home.

Plant it today, and within 6 years you'll have a harvested pile of poles!


Architects are supposed to be artists yet they find themselves forced with excuses by code or engineering.


If you aren't in the tropics, get out a explore!

You can't build something like this in America or winter climates, but we do believe we can be more efficient and use it for specific pieces of your home.


Stay pure, fresh, and healthy...

Study Arts!



Our Bamboo Airstream



Full Bamboo Airstream Tour coming soon!





Summary

I've been down a deep rabbit hole while studying Bamboo. After seeing all of the architecture around Bali and its archipelago I was left in awe of their dreamy presence.


I can't wait for the opportunity to return to Bali and Study Bamboo Architecture at Green School, followed by building a beautiful bamboo tiny house of my own someday in the distant future when I'm too old to adventure or sail.


 


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