What do you do if you need to find shade for 500 people in a hurry? Build a massive bamboo marquee, that’s what!

Andrew Ma, a member of the Green School staff and recent architectural graduate, jumped at the chance to create a temporary pavilion to provide shelter for the 500 expected guests who would attend the 2014 Green School Graduation, at which Jane Goodall spoke.

The concept of the structure was conceived by John and Elora Hardy, and living every new architects dream, Andrew put his ideas down on paper and let his imagination run free as he brought this vision to life. After a few iterations, and in consultation with PT Bamboo’s chief architect, Putra Wiasra, Andrew was given approval by Elora Hardy, to go ahead and build the tent-like structure.

All bamboo petung (aka the green bamboo poles used to create the structure) was sourced and loaned to Green School by PT Bamboo Pure (PTBP). After the structure was disassembled, the bamboo was returned to Ibuku to be used in future design projects.

The structure, which took 10 days to collect materials for and another two weeks to assemble, was made up of 38 large bamboo poles, also known as ‘petung penjor’, 100 smaller bamboo poles and 2000 pieces of ‘klangsa’, or woven palm fronds.

PTBP sourced the longest possible petung penjor (18m+) from bamboo groves one hour from Green School. They were so massive, the truck couldn’t make the turns necessary to reach campus through the west entrance nor could the truck bring the poles down the curvy east road entrance. In the end, the building team had to carry each pole over the Millennium Bridge and across campus. It took two strong men to lift one pole and more to carry it fully to the field.

The ‘klangsa’ was sourced from a village near Jimbaran where the families of 11 houses worked day and night to fulfil the order.

The structure was tied together without cutting, and by joining the bamboo using only natural fibres. A peg system anchored the base of the poles without digging into or disturbing the soccer field lawn at the foundation points.

Andrew says supervising the builders was a learning experience in itself. PTBP are the forerunners in working with bamboo to create contemporary modern design, he says.

“It is fascinating what the contractors know and, as an aspiring architect, it was good to be in the middle of that.”