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The Green School, Indonesia (shortlisted 2008–2010)

The Green School of Bali was founded in 2007 by two expatriates, John and Cynthia Hardy, who have lived in Bali for decades and felt indebted to the country that had been so good to them. John Hardy was born in Canada and travelled to Bali in 1975 (Shim, 2010). Intrigued by Balinese craft traditions, he settled there and began producing jewellery with local artisans. Cynthia Hardy was born in America and arrived in Bali in 1982. John and Cynthia began their professional collaboration as the founders of an internationally respected jewellery company in 1989.

Throughout the island of Bali, bamboo grows everywhere and is widely used for temporary structures at communal festivities and religious events but is not traditionally considered a material for permanent buildings. On the Green School campus, bamboo is used in structurally innovative ways to create original architectural spaces unique to the setting (Mostafavi, 2011b). The campus is situated in a lush jungle with native plants and trees along with organic gardens. The school project creates a sustainable campus straddling both sides of the Ayung River in Sibang Kaja, Bali. Lying along the equator, Bali has a tropical climate, with two distinct monsoonal wet and dr)' seasons (Shim, 2010).

The school also works with the Meranggi Foundation, an environmental non-profit organisation that raises bamboo seedlings and distributes them to farmers across the island to help them grow commercially valuable bamboo species (Mostafavi, 2011b). The foundation maintains detailed planting records using GPS technology, monitors bamboo growth rates (including associated carbon capture), and secures markets for future bamboo trade. Campus buildings include classrooms, gym, assembly spaces, faculty housing, offices, cafes, and bathrooms. ‘The heart of the school,’ a building mainly for congregations, consists of three spiralling roof forms that are interconnected to create an extraordinary and inspiring semi-open space. A range of architecturally inspiring significant spaces within the Green School campus were conceived, from large multi-storey communal spaces to much smaller classroom spaces (Shim, 2010).

The school’s designers were concerned about the depletion of the world’s resources and became advocates for the use of bamboo as an alternative to rainforest timber as a building material (Shim, 2010). The objective of this project was to create a place for educating young people to become the environmental stewards of the next generation. Reflecting a sustainable design philosophy, the school’s founders determined that the school could be a place for invention and experimentation with bamboo, which is a locally available material in this equatorial climatic zone (Figure 4.5).

The Green School, Bali, Indonesia, by PT Bambu Source

Figure 4.5 The Green School, Bali, Indonesia, by PT Bambu Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Ahkamul Hakim (photographer)

Palmyra House, India (shortlisted 2008-2010)

Built as a weekend retreat, Palmyra House (Figure 4.6) lies in the shade of an extensive coconut tree grove on an agricultural parcel of coastal land facing the sea near the fishing town of Nandgaon, about two and half hours by boat and car from Mumbai. Situated 50 metres from the road in small family-run palm plantations (Studio Mumbai Architects, 2010) and serviced by extensive networks of aqueducts, the house is sited on a lot measuring about 4200 square metres, with a beach-fronting width of about 72 metres and a subdivided depth of about 195 metres (Low, 2010). Palmyra House is an intimately double-storey timber structure in two blocks with a centrally located lap pool.

The threat of falling coconuts did not affect the decision to preserve trees as a low-tech source of shade and passive cooling that also provide a screened view to the sea. Aside from the general programmatic objectives, the specific functional requirements were left to the discretion of the architect, and as such, a formal brief did not exist. The architect decided on twin blocks as the means to differentiate the master bedroom wing and its study from that of the twin bedrooms, as well as to provide a spatial identity to the basically anonymous site (Low, 2010; Arch-Daily, 2010).

The programme was organised in two parallel oblong, louvred masses, with a central pool serving as the uniting space that extends westward to

The Palmyra House Twin Block, Alibagh, India, by Studio Mumbai Architects, Bijoy Jain

Figure 4.6 The Palmyra House Twin Block, Alibagh, India, by Studio Mumbai Architects, Bijoy Jain

Source: © Aga Khan Trust for Culture/Rajesh Vora (photographer) the sea. Living room, study, and master bedroom are contained in the north volume, while the south volume contains the kitchen, dining, and guest bedrooms. Set in the plaza between the buildings, the pool provides a channel for swimming, with expansive views of the sea to the west and views into dense foliage of palms to the east. The block elevations feature louvres made from the trunks of the local palmyra palm (Borassus abellifer), an indigenous agricultural crop cultivated for its nutritious fruit and highly valued durable wood (Mostafavi, 2011c). There is no decoration on the block elevations, and the exposed construction details contribute to the overall texture of the building.

With minimal enclosure, the house puts occupants in intimate contact with airflow, humidity, temperature, sound, and smell. Apart from the adjustable teak louvre doors, the enclosure is a permeable skin of palmyra wood louvres gently angled downward from inside to outside (Mostafavi, 2011c). Rather than aiming for a kind of spare, modernist universalism, the building’s approach has its roots in organic architecture and the arts and crafts movement. Taking cues from its region coats it with a sheen of sophistication that reflects the challenges of building locally in a globalised world (Hawthorne, 2008: 87).

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