Destination Indonesia. Bamboo village in Ubud.
Contributed by feature reporter Jens Hoffmann
The sun slips into the sea, leaving behind a dreamy wash o peach and violet.
Far away from 5star plus, nestled among the lush forests of Bali, near the hill town of Ubud, is one of the island’s most remarkable villages.
It’s not just that each of the 18 homes of Green Village is constructed almost entirely from bamboo, it is more.
The flights of fancy here are all about blending in with the surrounding environment, to create a house from bamboo that feels at one with its setting, rather than imposed, like some castle, upon the landscape. As the house is entirely handmade, it was built from a scaled-down bamboo model, not from the blueprints and drawings. On site, the builders measured it with a little ruler and chose a pole from the pile that was the right length and curved at the right angle.
Fantastic sunsets are always free on Bali.
I love this place so much.
It is pure architecture to breath fresh air and touch nature for sure. The architects for the Green Village project believe in this way. While some families live in the village, some homes are luxury retreats and can cost between $500,000 and $2million. The latest and largest structure lies on the other side of the river with its five stories towering above the forest canopy. Lucky guests traverse a glass and bamboo bridge to reach the villa’s front door, itself a revolving glass oval.
Clever design and roll-down shutters help protect those inside from rainstorms, while banana paper for interior walls and some aluminum for roofing are generally the only concessions to non-bamboo materials. Simplicity then is a key design element but it hasn’t restricted some non-organic basics, with electricity and high-end kitchen fittings standard throughout the buildings, each piece of bamboo treated with a mixture of water and boric acid to stop fungus and insects. Before doing this a bamboo structure would last only seven years, now we’re not sure how long a building can last.” Around 200 farmers across the island are paid to grow bamboo on areas of their land not used for agriculture. Some of the largest logs are 25 meters long but only take 3 years to grow. The angle of the main structural logs is also important to minimize the impact of direct sun and rain, which can weaken them.
But the magnificent designs show another side of bamboo, to show bamboo can be used to make high houses and really redefine how the material is used.