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  • When I was nine years old,

  • my mom asked me what I would want my house to look like,

  • and I drew this fairy mushroom.

  • And then she actually built it.

  • (Laughter)

  • I don't think I realized this was so unusual at the time,

  • and maybe I still haven't,

  • because I'm still designing houses.

  • This is a six-story bespoke home on the island of Bali.

  • It's built almost entirely from bamboo.

  • The living room overlooks the valley from the fourth floor.

  • You enter the house by a bridge.

  • It can get hot in the tropics,

  • so we make big curving roofs to catch the breezes.

  • But some rooms have tall windows to keep the air conditioning in

  • and the bugs out.

  • This room we left open.

  • We made an air-conditioned, tented bed.

  • And one client wanted a TV room in the corner of her living room.

  • Boxing off an area with tall walls just didn't feel right,

  • so instead, we made this giant woven pod.

  • Now, we do have all the necessary luxuries, like bathrooms.

  • This one is a basket in the corner of the living room,

  • and I've got tell you, some people actually hesitate to use it.

  • We have not quite figured out our acoustic insulation.

  • (Laughter)

  • So there are lots of things that we're still working on,

  • but one thing I have learned

  • is that bamboo will treat you well if you use it right.

  • It's actually a wild grass.

  • It grows on otherwise unproductive land --

  • deep ravines, mountainsides.

  • It lives off of rainwater, spring water, sunlight,

  • and of the 1,450 species of bamboo that grow across the world,

  • we use just seven of them.

  • That's my dad.

  • He's the one who got me building with bamboo,

  • and he is standing in a clump of Dendrocalamus asper niger

  • that he planted just seven years ago.

  • Each year, it sends up a new generation of shoots.

  • That shoot, we watched it grow a meter in three days just last week,

  • so we're talking about sustainable timber in three years.

  • Now, we harvest from hundreds of family-owned clumps.

  • Betung, as we call it, it's really long,

  • up to 18 meters of usable length.

  • Try getting that truck down the mountain.

  • And it's strong: it has the tensile strength of steel,

  • the compressive strength of concrete.

  • Slam four tons straight down on a pole,and it can take it.

  • Because it's hollow, it's lightweight,

  • light enough to be lifted by just a few men,

  • or, apparently, one woman.

  • (Laughter) (Applause)

  • And when my father built Green School in Bali,

  • he chose bamboo for all of the buildings on campus,

  • because he saw it as a promise.

  • It's a promise to the kids.

  • It's one sustainable material that they will not run out of.

  • And when I first saw these structures under construction about six years ago,

  • I just thought, this makes perfect sense.

  • It is growing all around us.

  • It's strong. It's elegant. It's earthquake-resistant.

  • Why hasn't this happened sooner, and what can we do with it next?

  • So along with some of the original builders of Green School,

  • I founded Ibuku.

  • Ibu means "mother," and ku means "mine," so it represents my Mother Earth,

  • and at Ibuku, we are a team of artisans, architects and designers,

  • and what we're doing together is creating a new way of building.

  • Over the past five years together,

  • we have built over 50 unique structures, most of them in Bali.

  • Nine of them are at Green Village --

  • you've just seen inside some of these homes --

  • and we fill them with bespoke furniture,

  • we surround them with veggie gardens,

  • we would love to invite you all to come visit someday.

  • And while you're there, you can also see Green School --

  • we keep building classrooms there each year --

  • as well as an updated fairy mushroom house.

  • We're also working on a little house for export.

  • This is a traditional Sumbanese home that we replicated,

  • right down to the details and textiles.

  • A restaurant with an open-air kitchen.

  • It looks a lot like a kitchen, right?

  • And a bridge that spans 22 meters across a river.

  • Now, what we're doing, it's not entirely new.

  • From little huts to elaborate bridges like this one in Java,

  • bamboo has been in use across the tropical regions of the world for literally tens of thousands of years.

  • There are islands and even continents that were first reached by bamboo rafts.

  • But until recently,

  • it was almost impossible to reliably protect bamboo from insects,

  • and so, just about everything that was ever built out of bamboo is gone.

  • Unprotected bamboo weathers.

  • Untreated bamboo gets eaten to dust.

  • And so that's why most people, especially in Asia, think that

  • you couldn't be poor enough or rural enough to actually want to live in a bamboo house.

  • And so we thought,

  • what will it take to change their minds, to convince people that

  • 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.

  • Fortunately, Balinese culture fosters craftsmanship. It values the artisan.

  • So combine those with the adventurous outliers

  • from new generations of locally trained architects and designers and engineers,

  • and always remember that you are designing

  • for curving, tapering, hollow poles.

  • No two poles alike, no straight lines, no two-by-fours here.

  • The tried-and-true, well-crafted formulas and vocabulary of architecture do not apply here.

  • We have had to invent our own rules.

  • We ask the bamboo what it's good at, what it wants to become,

  • and what it says is: respect it, design for its strengths,

  • protect it from water, and to make the most of its curves.

  • So we design in real 3D,

  • making scale structural models

  • out of the same material that we'll later use to build the house.

  • And bamboo model-making, it's an art,

  • as well as some hardcore engineering.

  • So that's the blueprint of the house.

  • (Laughter)

  • And we bring it to site,

  • and with tiny rulers, we measure each pole,

  • and consider each curve, and we choose a piece of bamboo from the pile

  • to replicate that house on site.

  • When it comes down to the details, we consider everything.

  • Why are doors so often rectangular?

  • Why not round?

  • How could you make a door better?

  • Well, its hinges battle with gravity,

  • and gravity will always win in the end,

  • so why not have it pivot on the center where it can stay balanced?

  • And while you're at it, why not doors shaped like teardrops?

  • To reap the selective benefits and work within the constraints of this material,

  • we have really had to push ourselves,

  • and within that constraint, we have found space for something new.

  • It's a challenge, how do you make a ceiling if you don't have any flat boards to work with?

  • Let me tell you, sometimes I dream of sheet rock and plywood.

  • (Laughter)

  • But if what you've got is skilled craftsmen

  • and itsy bitsy little splits,

  • weave that ceiling together,

  • stretch a canvas over it, lacquer it.

  • How do you design durable kitchen countertops

  • that do justice to this curving structure you've just built?

  • Slice up a boulder like a loaf of bread,

  • hand-carve each to fit the other,

  • leave the crusts on,

  • and what we're doing, it is almost entirely handmade.

  • The structural connections of our buildings are reinforced by steel joints,

  • but we use a lot of hand-whittled bamboo pins.

  • There are thousands of pins in each floor.

  • This floor is made of glossy and durable bamboo skin.

  • You can feel the texture under bare feet.

  • And the floor that you walk on, can it affect the way that you walk?

  • Can it change the footprint that you'll ultimately leave on the world?

  • I remember being nine years old

  • and feeling wonder, and possibility,

  • and a little bit of idealism.

  • And we've got a really long way to go,

  • there's a lot left to learn,

  • but one thing I know is that with creativity and commitment,

  • you can create beauty and comfort

  • and safety and even luxury

  • out of a material that will grow back.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

When I was nine years old,

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【TED】Elora Hardy: Magical houses, made of bamboo (Magical houses, made of bamboo | Elora Hardy)

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