Magical houses, made of bamboo | Elora Hardy
Magical houses, made of bamboo | Elora Hardy

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 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)

100 thoughts on “Magical houses, made of bamboo | Elora Hardy”

  1. Mina in Japan says:

    Can the locals afford this?

  2. KingCosworth says:

    Chinese are laughing, 'You Westerners getting excited about four to five thousand year old building material'

  3. Lion Bear says:

    now that is way outside the 'box' i love it!!!! ummmmm anyone know the cost ? say, the cost of that 6 story home? im guessing in hundreds of thousands above and regular 2500 sq " raised ranch ?

  4. chinmayee behera says:


  5. Casey Johnson aka LOFT says:

    3:03 pander pander pander

    please clap and congratulate me on my feminism

    awkward smile

    Back to something you care about

  6. Swati Rupam says:

    Very Creative and inspiring work as how to harness nature and natural things in the artificial era and preserve to long last for sustainable habitat for humans…Keep up the inspiring and good work!

  7. Changing of the guard says:

    my bamboo needs a mouth around it. love me loong time

  8. J Ansa says:

    very neat concept. Except beware when someone offers "bespoke" anything, it just means custom design or service, but at the twice the price of what you can expect to pay if they just referred to at custom design.

  9. christian says:

    When inviting people over to showcase your wealth isn't enough for you….

  10. green street says:

    Living in a bamboo house like that would be paradise

  11. CRYIPTIC CREEP says:

    I wonder what her insecurities are.

  12. cocacola99 says:

    perfect interaction between art, nature and living!

  13. Sam Harper says:

    Those a very cool, but they look really labor intensive.

  14. Mathew Poulose Mamkunnel says:


  15. club dore says:

    Booo booo comercials 👎👎👎👎 I delete Your Channal from my playlist 👎👎👎 Greed kils the Youtube experiance!!!

  16. Zachariasz Jankowski says:

    "Treat it with care it and it will last a lifetime!" a lifetime? Well, not very impressive…

  17. Amanda Cole says:

    These are all lovely, but it's not practical for me to want something like this. This is a rich people house market.

  18. Rapture Ready says:

    And who did they get to build these structures? Children and cheap labour? Nothing has changed! Whoop'd Doo, utilization of foreign commodities such as Bamboo for the Westernized wealthy making the price of Bamboo sky rocket while the average worker in Bali makes $20 a month!

  19. Kee-pyor Myndopen says:

    Bamboo is amazing

  20. Kee-pyor Myndopen says:

    ‘If what you’ve got is skilled craftsman’ (paid $0.14 cents an hour)

  21. Jagdeep Kaur Rana says:

    Madam its beautiful house but now i know why bamboo are disappear. Please try to regrow bamboo plant. Anyway i like it.

  22. hurktang says:

    With 100 workers paid 140$ per month, during 5 years we built an amazing amount of 2 houses. If they don't reproduce or something stupid like that, they should all have their house by 2250. large proud smile . And may I reiterate that those houses could last A FULL LIFETIME ! It'S a promise to the kids, a promise that it will last like that forever :3 . Please applaud me.

  23. Brenda Lambert says:

    This building is a work of art. Bamboo is a gift from the Universe.

  24. badass streetwear says:

    bedbags love bamboo

  25. Sassy says:

    Beautiful, but how many can afford something like this?

  26. Steven says:

    The average Balinese, can not live in these million dollar vacation homes… DUH… you DA. Oh by the way, I wouldn't want to either, even if I could afford too.

  27. Panthera says:

    Make sure to keep project paperworks for the future… You may need to look back one day…

  28. Arie Daniell says:


  29. rsuriyop says:

    Why is she building stuff in Indonesia instead of where she's actually from? Or was this commissioned by someone over there?

  30. Kane Tomlinson-Weaver says:

    That's the real life Jane porter from Tarzan

  31. Marilyn Calvert says:

    All my furniture in my home is bamboo or rattan. It’s the most durable long lasting and cheap. It grows fast and last a long time. I even have wood bamboo nails in my furniture. People just seem to ignore the possibility of bamboo.

  32. Dream Weaver says:

    Excellent talk, great speaker and teacher. Loved her presentation.
    Beautiful craftsmanship!
    I'd love to move there and live in one one myself.

  33. Muhammad Awis abd Shahadan says:

    Wow,sungguh ajaib([email protected]) ni😎

  34. bel pet says:

    I wonder if this is viable for cold climates

  35. Moua Xiong says:

    I am a late viewer to this tedtalk, but yea why can't doors be round? It would save so much trouble when it moving furniture, especially Sofa.

  36. Flix Knacks says:

    Please do this in the Philippines! We have bamboo all over! If i were an architect i would love to use bamboo for its flexibility, sustainability and durability! Furthermore, it looks amazing!

  37. Create -Space says:

    We made it well.

  38. Gemini Jake says:

    3:00….??? I thought I was watching a video about constructing with bamboo, but ok,,,,,yay team vagina! I guess….now back to bamboo…

  39. Fredah Wiwu says:

    must do this thank you

  40. North of Ezz North of Ezz says:

    Laughter has no language translation

  41. Daniel Nguyen says:

    That’s amazing!!!

    You should get Home ideas from butterfly cocoons, or shells, a birds nest pool maybe!! Love the bamboo so much!!

    (Here migrates a family of pandas and they eat half your house… does insurance cover pandas eating your home?!)

  42. Willy's Aquarium greenhouse says:


  43. P J says:

    nice houses, but hate the dumb speech, this woman has never build anything herself. Women cant build houses, maybe design them yeah.
    Why is this nonsense style of talking still allowed and applauded. A woman who helps designs houses is not the builder….

  44. dave arc says:

    I still prefer lumber

  45. Tomas Tylecek says:

    left out, was grows back fast

  46. Diane Thomas says:

    I applaud your vision! I visited Bali in 1983, and have always wanted to go back again. Your school sounds amazing! Thank you!

  47. jomsart says:

    This is the most amazing collection of architecture ive ever seen. Its so organic and flowy. Totally my style.

  48. BladeSC74 says:

    Da heck with a fancy mansion lol I wanna live in one of those :)) super awesome and great message!

  49. Tarig El-Kithiri says:

    Assalamu alaikum and hello and apa kabar…
    Subhanallah on the house….
    do you need help, i can help carry stuff around, just provide food and water….
    Jungle life….I' ll pray to Allah to protect us all and to shelter us till the house is finished….

  50. Valient Six says:

    This woman is hot and smart and I bet lives in à sick house.

  51. Binh Nguyen says:

    May noi tao co hieu gi dau

  52. Dr. Banter says:

    If people need this much convincing to go green, we're screwed lol

  53. Dadson worldwide says:

    A building only lasting one lifetime is a waste when the cost for labpr is the same.

  54. Janice Viesel says:

    Wow…. Absolutely beatuful.. 💖

  55. rizz d says:

    I love her house. Wow!

  56. snayke1973 says:

    That's very cool and all but who can afford it I have to wonder?

  57. Lotta Larsson says:

    Wow, just wow.

  58. craig carlson says:

    these structures are so beautiful, flowing and inspirational I have a neighbor here in the northeast of the US, Rhode Island who grows a type of bamboo as a means to privacy and the bamboo grows incredibly fast and remarkably strong….what a great building material and with the right teams of artisans, engineers, craftsmen, architects it seems the sky is the limit for bamboo thanks for the video

  59. L burnstein says:

    Good luck..u just built a giant aquarium for hunstman spiders

  60. Marimba_Kid334 says:

    i found my new house designer

  61. Biswa Mishra says:

    That's what nature gifted us. Nature has got everything and human got the brain

  62. Jonas Peliño says:

    I wonder if how many years this house would last..

  63. Fadhaliuz Fogo says:

    from Indonesia ( Bali islands )

  64. Mardinli Boss says:

    its not safe !!! Fier Food

  65. Kh Surjakumar says:

    And the termites or other insect start eating from inside within a year. N the disinfectant is too costly for spraying to a large amount

  66. Russell Hawkins says:


  67. Marvin Angelo Quines says:

    I hope you’ve replaced all the bamboos cut to build this house that benefited only few. Thanks ☺️

  68. Aime Lunio says:

    This is better than 3 house

  69. Cecilia Charmel says:

    Wow! We need to bring this to the United States!

  70. That Sweaty Mom says:

    Amazing and completely beautiful. Inspirational. I’m in awe.

  71. James Newman says:

    I LOVE THIS!!!… One day I will live in a climate where I can live in a house like this. In harmony with the land and our mother!!

  72. al meggs says:

    Cute. As an’re taking away tarantulas home!

  73. Michael Mills says:

    WHOTE girl wanting to be anything else but ehite

  74. GCOofficial says:

    Follow or for the newest scientific and technological news, views and videos of the construction

  75. Cherry paz says:

    I love this😍 but seems its complicated to do.. We have a lot of bamboo in our land in my hometown …and our house is made by wood as well bcoz we have a lot of hard woods .. But this concept its really good

  76. david ouellette says:


  77. Bfme Fan says:

    add to that, convertible roofs and walls and you are set!

  78. Shawn Bradshaw says:

    OMG!! I have dreamed of this house since I was young. I was meant to live here.

  79. Shawn Bradshaw says:


  80. Lauren Lightner says:

    This is still amazing to me. I watched this video a long time ago, 3 or 4 years ago, and when I saw it back in my feed I clicked on it right away. I desire to live in a house using this sustainable material when I am out of school. It is so inspiring, thank you Elora Hardy.

  81. William Wolfcastle says:

    Over-elaborate bamboo buildings with modern-day people won't be able to afford it exploiting the areas around you for resources that you pay pennies on is not Progressive it becomes Petty

  82. stephen gibbs says:


  83. Solomon Jenkins says:

    The only bad things I can say about this are that I kind of hate the fake style of ted talk presentations. Doors are designed the way they are so that there is no lip, or minimal lip when passing the threshold. The teardrop door would be beyond inconvenient in most situations, even holding some food, I could see it going oh so wrong hahhaa. A better design for a swivel door would be a square door, with a swivel in the middle, with no lip

  84. Art TV says:

    "just a few men . . . or one woman" Ha ha ha – that's great. I love this architect – she is so amazing. Her buildings are so far above and beyond anything else. She is like an "environmentally enlightened Frank Gehry" maybe. She deserves a Nobel Prize I think.

  85. Chet!!! says:

    0:34 where are all the cheers

  86. Knobov Sossidge says:

    The description says this woman – who can carry as much as 4 men – built these houses but there isn't a single picture of her doing so.

  87. Sachlang Jamatia says:

    In Tripura,India there are places where everthing is made using bamboo, from home to cooking to fishing, etc etc etc

  88. Sebastian Francks says:

    Absolutely spectacular, thanks so much for sharing – such an inspiration!!

  89. Marcel F says:

    Great legs

  90. Len Martin says:

    For people who give a video a thumbs down, Youtube should force them to give a reason,
    because I love to know the reason people don't like this one.

  91. chevyengine307 says:

    So we out of trees . Now let kill bamboo.

  92. Ivan J. Conway says:

    OK, so what's happened with this? This is several years ago, this was uploaded, and I watched this for the first time, some two years ago, so what has happened since?

    My Best. Out.

  93. Down to Earth says:

    Only bad thing is that you use "air condition". This is what you called civilisation of the worst.

  94. sam bourke says:

    "mother Earth" is misleading. It's a big ball of genderless lava with a biosphere on the outer layer.

  95. Jean Guion says:

    These places are beautiful….
    I could retire in places like this…. Requires the rite climate….
    But way worth it….

  96. Vicky Sharma says:

    Security statement

  97. Vimi Maliakel says:

    Fire safety??

  98. Wendy O says:

    Absolutely amazing as well as beautiful 💜

  99. Elizabeth Torres says:

    Madam, spectacularly done, continue building, with the help of, 🍃Mother Nature🍃.
    For everything needed to shelter, feed and yes even cure. Has been surrounding us for centuries. The Elements of Life, our land, our trees and very important our ocean, with the help of the Sun.🍃

  100. NARKISDUDE says:

    Is no one fact checking the stuff that is said in these TED talks? i've heard so much bullshit by now, damn.
    tensile strength of steel?? some steels have a strength over 1000 MPa! while bamboo is 80 Mpa max. she could just say it's strong, and not blurt out a lie.

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