A Tree House Made out of Grass?

Bali Mansion

Well technically, this title is correct.  This tree house in Bali, Indonesia, was made almost entirely out of bamboo.  While being completely noteworthy for its sheer size, the architectural feat of the way bamboo was used is phenomenal.  The essence of bamboo is very apparent in the way this how was constructed, bringing out all of the curves and shapes that resemble bamboo in nature.

Elora Hardy, a fine arts student from New York, runs a brand called Ibuku, in Indonesia, and works with local craftsmen and designers.  Noting that she wanted to give back “ecologically,” Hardy designed this house not on paper (as in blueprints), but from a scaled down model.  The entire project was done by hand, and the bamboo poles were selected on site as they were measured, and the natural curve of the individual poles decided which was to be used in each instance.  The house is a magnificent 6-story structure, but also sits atop twelve 60-foot poles, reaching high into the trees.  This tree house-mansion could be the largest eco-friendly house ever built.  Despite being so high in the air, the house is extremely light and flexible, and Hardy maintains that it can emerge from violent earthquakes unscathed.

Bamboo has been used in the Far East for thousands of years, but has only recently come into the spotlight in Western culture, and is spreading throughout the globe.  Because of the history of cotton farming, and other industries, it seems that governments are reluctant to increase emphasis on alternative resources.  Although many, such as the United States, has publicly expressed interest in finding alternative ways to combat the rapid depletion of earth’s resources, little significant interest has been seen.  Bamboo has over 1,000 recorded uses, making it more than just the fastest growing plant in the world; it could definitely be nominated for the most useful.

Bamboo has recently been featured more publicly in construction.  Small companies across the United States have specialized in building all-bamboo houses.  Architects have been formulating plans to introduce bamboo construction into poor nations like Haiti, who could use a construction culture revamping after the 2010 disaster that destroyed so much, and took so many lives.  Bamboo plantations are starting to spring up all across the globe, from Mexico to South Africa, as companies are realizing the growing trend and demand for bamboo products.

Bamboo in construction and also in textiles will do much to change the very surface of the earth.  While absorbing 5 times as much carbon as trees, and producing 35% more oxygen than trees, bamboo represents one of the brightest hopes for cleansing our planet of the vast damage caused by global warming.  One of the most promising characteristics is that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth, capable of reaching full height and maturity in 3-5 years.  That means that the hundreds of millions of acres of forest that have been destroyed could be refilled in just 5 years.