What kind of bamboo do you use for construction in Bali? What about in other countries?

While there are over 1400 species of bamboo, we work with around eight different ones–notably the giant bamboo ‘Petung’ (Dendrocalamus Asper), which comes from Bali and Java, bamboo ‘Tali’ (Gigantochloa Apus) and bamboo ‘Duri’ (Bambusa Blumeana). The giant species from South America (mostly growing around the Amazon rainforest) is bamboo ‘Guadua’ (Guadua Angustifolia). Japan and China have an astonishing abundance of bamboo ‘moso’ (Phyllostachys edulis).

How strong is bamboo?

Based on certain studies by mechanical engineers, some bamboo species like Gigantochloa Apus have tensile and compressive strengths surpassing those of steel and concrete respectively, making it one of the world’s strongest natural materials.

What is the life span of bamboo?

Structural performance of our structures based on our engineers’ calculations is a minimum of 25 years. There are bamboo structures in South America and Europe that are over 100 years old. If the bamboo is chosen well, treated properly, designed carefully, and maintained, a bamboo house can last a lifetime.

You mentioned the “new treatment methods have given the bamboo a new capacity for long life.” What kind of treatment methods are we talking about?

Our main treatment uses a boron solution that suppresses the glucose inside the bamboo and renders it inedible for insects.

Does it include the use of chemicals, or is the bamboo treated naturally?

The bamboo is treated naturally with boron, a chemical element found in nature in places like the Great Salt Lake, USA. Boron has a low toxicity similar to table salt and is perfectly safe to use in a family home.

Does bamboo lose its form after a while?

Bamboo is a flexible and tensile material with the strength equivalent to steel. We account for the flexibility in the engineering process and work to ensure our bamboo maintains its integrity over time.

Is it easy to have access to large quantities of bamboo?

Yes, bamboo is plentiful in river valleys throughout Asia, and the clumps regenerate each year. Bamboo is ready for use as a building material at age 3-5 years.

How does the bamboo survive in the sun and rain?

Our building are designed to avoid prolonged sun and rain exposure. The bamboo can also be coated with a weather resistant coating.

What kind of maintenance is required in the long run?

Properly treated and selected, mature bamboo in a well designed structure does not require significant structural maintenance. The bamboo should only be treated once before construction begins. Additional treatments against insects are not necessary. The roof of a bamboo house must be maintained to protect the columns from prolonged rain contact and direct sun exposure. Poles that are exposed should be monitored and protected and joints reviewed every few years to confirm that they remain secure. Recoating both structural and interior bamboo every 2-4 years will improve its appearance and longevity, and we anticipate that the quality of–and technology behind coatings–will advance over time, including waterproofing and UV resistance. Long term maintenance is primarily cosmetic refinishing.

Can I build with bamboo in non-tropical environments?

Although bamboo can withstand a wide spectrum of environmental conditions, it will react poorly to repetitive variations in temperature and humidity. The real limitation in the development of international bamboo projects is that the building codes of most countries still do not regard bamboo as a standardized material.

Do I need to be experienced to join Bamboo U?

No design and construction experience is required as long as you are resilient and excited to learn.

What is included in the cost of the course?

The cost includes all workshops, materials, tours, lectures, meals and accommodation (except the one free day which includes only breakfast & accommodation). Transportation to and from the airport is not included but we will be happy to help arrange this for you.