Last year we had the honor of visiting the incredible bamboo world created by John Hardy and his tribe in Bali, Indonesia. After visiting houses, a school, a hotel, some bridges, factories, a permaculture farm, an architecture office and many other structures created in bamboo, we were left speechless and not sure how to react.
Having emigrated from Canada aged 25, and after a successful 20-year career as a jeweler, John Hardy started out on a project that was very different to anything he had done before. Determined to find a system of building that was more natural and sustainable than standard building techniques, Hardy developed a system of building with bamboo that many now recognize as among the world’s most successful (and beautiful) examples of sustainable craftsmanship. In recent years, Hardy’s expertise has received global exposure, leading to TED Talks by John in 2010 and by his daughter Elora Hardy in 2015.
What has been developed in Bali goes far beyond just “innovative architecture” or “architecture in bamboo.” Instead, Hardy, his family, and his colleagues are attempting to bring about a new way of inhabiting this planet—a way that is truly sustainable, respectful of the environment and responsible with resources. Their technique can be used to build houses, schools, bridges and almost any other type of structure. And, if used according to the system that the Hardys have developed, these buildings can last several decades, contributing a solution to the growing problem of scarce resources and the unsustainable way in which we exploit them.
The Hardys are also dedicated to teaching those who wish to learn about how to design and build sustainably. They have done so through initiatives such as their partnership with the AA in London, where they have conducted a series of popular workshops, or through permaculture courses taught in Kul-Kul farm, managed by Orin Hardy and Maria Farrugia.
After having witnessed this project we believe that, with conviction, it is possible to create new ways of inhabiting our planet. We sincerely hope this interview transmits Hardy’s conviction and hope.