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John Hardy & Elora Hardy

John Hardy & Elora Hardy

Founded by John and Cynthia Hardy, the Green School opened in September 2008. The compound is hidden in the jungle, spread over the sacred Ayung River. The school’s majestic bamboo structures mix in perfectly with the natural surroundings, and perfectly reflect the sustainable principles the school is based on. The Green School community also has a variety of schemes working with local bamboo farmers, villages and children.

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John Hardy & Elora Hardy

John Hardy & Elora Hardy

The Green Village is an amazing and magical place in Sibang, across the valley from the school, that is a sustainably built village that redefines the concepts and parameters of bamboo. It is designed and developed by John’s daughter, Elora Hardy, and her team at Ibuku – a highly skilled set of artisans that have produced masterpieces curving into the forest. 
Each house is specifically designed according to the wishes of the client and their needs are taken into account. There are a range of different shapes and sizes dotted mystically through the dry terraces.

We talk to John and Elora Hardy about these two incredible projects, Bali, bamboo and what inspires them.

Q: John: You were inspired to build the Green School for your younger children and future generations, how do you feel it has changed the perceptions of your children and other pupils to the environment and learning?

John: ‘Yes I feel it has achieved much of what we set out to do. I encourage future generations to think beyond the ‘traditional’ vocations and look to become entrepreneurs of a more sustainable future. They do not have to become doctors and lawyers or accountants if they do not want to, there are plenty of people qualified to do that. We encourage free thinking to build up sustainable business models as you can employ people to help you run your business but the new generation has to come up with the new ideas.

The aim of the school is not only to provide traditional education to children but to incorporate sustainable and environmental learning as well. It aims to raise a generation of children who are more aware of the environmental issues we face globally. We encourage green entrepreneurial skills from a young age in both the pupils’ and local communities.’

Q: Elora: You had a successful career in New York, what made you decide to move back to Bali to found Ibuku and develop the Green Village?

‘Fashion felt as if it was quite set whereas interiors always attracted me as something more flexible. After seeing the Green School, it fitted in with my vision of the future and the Green Village evolved from there. I grew up in Bali so it felt natural to come back and create the Green Village here. There is so much creativity in Bali that allowed me to go into the future of the Green Village utilizing a product that is not scarce and doing something felt right.’

Q: John: You are seen as a pioneer. Do you feel you have achieved the unique education and environmental model you set out to?

‘As well as changing the children’s perceptions we have created a school within a sustainable environment. Their classrooms are built of bamboo; the school itself is also sustainable through hydropower, solar power and the growing of fruit and vegetables.

The school also runs a scholarship program whereby 20 percent of its intake is local Balinese or Indonesian children. It’s possible to sponsor a child to attend the school encouraging the future generation of Balinese to also take on the green lessons as well as our other pupils from all over the world.’

Q: Elora Much as your father is seen as a pioneer, you are too, for creating the first green and bamboo community in Bali. What are your hopes for the Green Village and Ibuku?

‘The key for me was opening up the possibilities of bamboo and architecture/ design at a high-end level. I wanted to the make the Green Village change the perceptions of bamboo to a cooler material and use it in innovative ways. I love making creative, beautiful things using craftsmanship that can open up and preserve a new skill set.

My hopes are to preserve skill sets for the future and create a new outlet for existing craftsmanship and expand on it. I would like to expand the bamboo interiors at Ibuku globally internationally and the homes at the Green Village on the individual level, as they are now.’

Q: John and Elora: You are both seen as an inspiration but what inspires you globally and within Bali?

John ‘Watching Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ changed my life and kind of ruined me! Once I had seen that I could not turn my back on the environmental situation happening and it inspired me to create a more sustainable business model and establish the green school to change the existing education and environment paradigms.

Renewable energy and resources is also something that interests me and we are continually trying to develop at the Green School with the water vortex for power and solar. Energy today is not infinite.’

Elora ‘Internationally architecture and interior design is always an inspiration. There is an architectural firm called BIG who have incredible designs they describe in such simplistic terms is very inspiring.

Within Bali the land I build on is an inspiration, fitting the structure to the curves and terraces.  Also the cultural elements of Bali, I found some offering bowls and masks that made me think of new designs, and also some floors. There is so much creative inspiration everywhere here.

Also my wonderful team at Ibuku. The Green Village is not just about me but my team who put their belief, time and talent into this.

We have so many interesting people visiting that they are a constant source of new ideas.’

Q: John & Elora: You both use bamboo for your buildings because of it’s durability and sustainability. You must both have extensive knowledge of bamboo now. Tell me what you feel it’s greatest benefits are and what you have both learnt about working with bamboo.

John: ‘Bamboo is a totally renewable material. If you plant a field of bamboo now, then not only can you build a house for yourself but also your children can build theirs and your grandchildren. Trees and hardwoods take longer to grow and with the rate of deforestation it is not an easily renewable resource. Bamboo is inexpensive compared to hardwoods, grows quickly and is a strong building material.’

Elora ‘Again bamboo is a totally renewable resource; if you grow bamboo you will always have a house.

john3I remember my mother had a bamboo plant and told me it was the symbol of Grace, Strength and Flexibility. I like to stay true to those characteristics of bamboo and invent ways to use it without resorting back to wood or concrete. To treat like a person in a way.

You have to find ways to use it for everything from the structure to the interiors. Once you start working within the confines of nature, you realize it is difficult to keep straight lines, so you innovate, like turning a basket on its head to make a bathroom. I want to create a new form of architecture, that is as homegrown as our bamboo, and use Bali as a starting point for a new sustainable form of future architecture. I hope we can do Bali justice.’

The Green School can be visited by joining in the daily tour, which starts at 4:00 p.m. except on public holidays.

www.greenschool.org | Tel: +62 361 469 875

 

john2The Green Village to book a tour visit
http://greenvillagebali.com/tour/ or email tour@greenvillage.com

 
 
© 2014 The Eco Gypsy - Ethical Exploration.
   


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