Bamboo is a building material that has many unique properties. It can withstand compression better than concrete and possesses greater tensile strength than steel. Unlike timber, bamboo (which belongs to the grass family) is highly sustainable and grows at a much faster rate.
Elora Hardy, a builder based in Bali, Indonesia, uses bamboo as her main building material.
One of her recent projects is the Sharma Springs in Bali, a six-story bamboo house complete with all the room and amenities of a regular house. Designed as a vacation home, the doors, stairs, floors, ceilings and even the furniture are made completely from bamboo.
Hardy is also the founder of Ibuku (which means “my mother earth”), a group of highly skilled designers and builders whose goal is to use purely bamboo for their projects. They even create real structural models made of bamboo as their blueprint.
In the video, she said that “to convince people that bamboo is worth building with, much less worth aspiring to, first, we needed safe treatment solutions. Borax is a natural salt. It turns bamboo into a viable building material. Treat it properly, design it carefully, and a bamboo structure can last a lifetime… Second, build something extraordinary out of it. Inspire people.”
She ended her TED talk saying “with creativity and commitment, you can create beauty and comfort and safety and even luxury out of a material that will grow back.”