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IBUKU uses "anticlastic gridshells" to create this bamboo arc school in Indonesia

Indonesia Architecture News - Jul 06, 2021 - 11:32   5108 views

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IBUKU, composed of a team of young designers, architects and engineers, has used tensioned anticlastic gridshells with arches to create this drape-shaped looking structure for a new school in Kecamatan Abiansemal, Indonesia

Named The Arc at Green School, the 760-square-metre school emerged as an "unprecedented structure" that uses an incredible way of bamboo material. The new school is also designed for a reference in lightweight structures altogether.

IBUKU is known for its innovative structures and use of bamboo that brings a new vocabulary to bamboo architecture and the studio pushes the boundaries and offers new solutions by using this zero-carbon material.

The new building, designed as a wellness space and gymnasium, is the newest structure on campus at the world-renowned Green School in Bali, Indonesia. 

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Green School concept was initiated in 2006 by life-long entrepreneurs, John and Cynthia Hardy, the team aimed to create a school that educates for sustainability. Green School Bali project was opened in September 2008 in collaboration with master craftsmen, architects, permaculturist, academics and philosophers.

Having a 12-year history of breaking boundaries and expanding horizons, the Arc is a new addition and an innovative structure in its history, raising the bar for sustainable education around the world. 

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The IBUKU team has used the bamboo material but in an innovative way with tailor-made details to obtain a strong structure. 

Described as "the first building of its kind ever made", the Arc at Green School is made of a series of intersecting 14 meter tall bamboo arches spanning 19 meters, interconnected by anticlastic gridshells which derive their strength from curving in two opposite directions.

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The team has obtained this technique and engineering method after months of research and development. 

While innovating a new engineering method which is significant for its structural system, each gridshell appears to drape across the spaces between impossibly thin arches soaring overhead, giving a whimsy, intimacy and beauty to the space. 

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The structural innovation works with the beauty of space in a balanced manner. "The result is a refined design with unparalleled beauty, which stands as a testament to IBUKU’s commitment to expanding horizons in architecture and design," said IBUKU.

"The concepted structure for The Arc is totally unprecedented. Embarking on a design never before executed required some bravery and optimism," said Rowland Sauls The Arc at Green School, Project Manager, IBUKU.

"We were creative and stubborn enough to research and develop the answers needed for the success of the project."

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"The Arc at Green School Bali enters a new era for organic architecture, with its 19 meter span arches, interconnected by anticlastic gridshells. It is a new community wellness space and gymnasium for the extraordinary campus, in collaboration with Jorg Stamm and Atelier One," said Elora Hardy Creative Director, IBUKU.

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According to the team, the Arc employs one of nature’s exemplary strategies for designing large spaces with minimal structure. As the team explain, "within a human ribcage, a series of ribs working in compression are held in place by a tensioned flexible layer of muscle and skin." 

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"This creates a thin but strong encasement for the lungs. In the case of The Arc, arches working in compression are held in place by tensioned anticlastic gridshells." 

"These fields of gridshells appear to drape across the spaces between impossibly thin arches soaring overhead, giving a whimsy, intimacy and beauty to the space. Although, the gridshells appear to hang from the arches, they actually hold them up," they added.

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To create this innovative structure, IBUKU worked with UK-based structural engineering firm Atelier One, and for construction PT Bamboo Pure

Regarding the strength of the structure, Director of Atelier One Neil Thomas said: "The gridshells use shape stiffness to form the roof enclosure and provide buckling resistance to the parabolic arches." 

"The two systems together create an unique and highly efficient structure, able to flex under load allowing the structure to redistribute weight, easing localised forces on the arches," Thomas added.

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The IBUKU team emphasized that "The Arc's counterintuitive orchestration of geometry brings the structure into a state of equilibrium, which means a dramatically decreased necessity for structural material. This also means an unprecedented inner volume with an impossibly thin structure and without any distracting trusses."

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Short section

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Side elevation

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Front façade 

IBUKU is comprised of a team of designers and architects exploring groundbreaking ways of designing with nature to create homes, hotels, schools, and event spaces in Bali and worldwide.

The studio is creating a new design vocabulary with bamboo and other natural materials, while redefining luxury.

Project facts

Architect: IBUKU

Construction: PT Bamboo Pure

Structural Engineering: Atelier One

Design Concept: Jorg Stamm

On Site Consultant: James Wolf

Video shot and edited by: Sasha de Laage

All images © Tommaso Riva

All drawings © IBUKU 

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