Rangkuman – Contextual Method #5 – Redefining Bamboo (Elora Hardy & Defit Wijaya from IBUKU)

Written by: Nirma Ayuni Setiasih

IBUKU is a team of young designers, architects, and engineers exploring groundbreaking ways of using bamboo to build homes, hotels, schools, and event spaces in Bali, Indonesia. Since the last two decades, IBUKU has worked on more than 200 unique bamboo structures in Bali, throughout Indonesia, and around the world. IBUKU’s Goal is to provide spaces in which people can live in an authentic relationship with nature. What IBUKU looking for is wherever they are, whatever they build, they just wanna find comfort. They want to form the building to hold the people, hug them and have the right balance of connection and protection from nature.

The question is, what pulls IBUKU forward to challenges? What motivates them every day? The bamboo material allows them to reach for a bounty and abundance. It is about plenty and hopefulness. They don’t have to worry about scarcity. They don’t have to imagine that luxury was born out of precious and rare things, but rather it’s growing all around us. And they just have to design with it to create something new.

In the design of bamboo architecture, we have to make our own rules and styles. During the process, we learn to “listen” to understand what this material wants when it becomes a form of space.

Bamboo has an extraordinary advantage, this material can have 10 times the strength of iron or concrete. The bamboo material also teaches them to think flexibly and makes them love the process of sketching designs. During the process, most of their designing process is at the modeling stage. Then during the development process, the model becomes a very important working drawing for implementation because every bar in the model describes what can actually be realized.

As an architect who works with bamboo material, their team cannot be separated from the artisan of the bamboo. The unique thing about working with bamboo material is the communication with the bamboo artisan, the material, and the site always happens. This is what makes the process of making bamboo buildings is interesting.

IBUKU learns by ‘listening’ and this is also a method in the design vocabulary. They continued for the good intent and make the agenda for a sustainable approach. They always started with materiality and continued with evaluating the carbon footprint. We also learn that the most basic skill like effective communication is an important thing. Hopefully, in the future, there are many designers that have more innovative ideas for sustainable approaches.

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