Green School

John Hardy and his wife Cynthia were well known in certain circles for their international jewelry brand, John Hardy Jewelry. John Hardy moved to Bali in 1975 with his first wife and they began the jewelry brand with one-off pieces sold one at a time from out of their house. 30 years later John and his second wife, Cynthia, had built the business to an amazingly successful international brand and were the largest private company employers in Bali. So, to me, it is something of a surprise to find that in 2006, they sold the business (and the name) and used that life-long investment to fund a new dream, the Green School.

The Green School mission: Empowering global citizens and green innovators who are inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world.

With that in mind, maybe this dream isn’t an entire departure from their jewelry design past. John Hardy Jewelry had a mission of sustainable luxury, which is in keeping with this new vision…but aside from that, moving away from a fashion customer base in jewelry to an education and sustainability base with a strong focus on architecture. Yep, it’s an entire shift away from everything and into something new. I find that amazing.

There are about 14 million references and articles about Green School, not counting its website, so I won’t really go into details. Basically, it is a school that started just 4 years ago, in 2008, for kindergarten through 8th grade. Their first 12th graders will be this year. They teach all the basics, but they flip learning on its head. Put the classrooms outside. Build the school sustainably using natural materials and natural light. Take away the walls. Add sustainability and creative process into the curriculum, and empower the next generation to not only be responsible global citizens, but creative, questioning, ideating citizens as well.

Just think about your primary and secondary education…what if YOU would have learned in this environment:

Green School

Soccer Field and outdoor lunch and meeting area

Garden and Electrical Room

This garden supplies food for the school. The building is the computer and electrical brain of the facility, housing all of the ugly power boxes etc in a pretty form – YAY!

Green School

This is a small lecture/class in the round. It has maybe 16-20ish seats.

Green School Bridge

The kids cross this bridge to cross the river as they arrive and leave school (picture taken from Green School website)

Green School

Centerpiece of the Green School, class areas and meeting spaces.

Green Village: wowing the world with bamboo

John Hardy took us on a tour of Green Village, a neighborhood of homes designed and built with an-open-air concept, a rejection of the 4-walls boxes of modern-day home design, and an ingenious and never-ending supply of innovation and ideation using bamboo as the central building material. The creative direction of the Green Village and, indeed, the management of the project, is headed up by John’s daughter, Elora Hardy, who was not available the day we visited, so John graciously toured us around.

We visited 2 homes under construction. Both houses were probably somewhere around the 1 million US Dollars price point, which is entirely reasonable from a US standpoint, in fact you probably couldn’t build them for $1 million in the US. They are built with the buyers 100% in mind. As John showed us around each house, he often mentioned the family, how they lived, who would be in each room, and how they intended to live in it.

Green Village

Homes in Green Village, a project founded by John Hardy and his daughter, Elora Hardy

*update 8/3/13
We received beautiful photos from Elora to share to replace the construction shots we originally took. Enjoy:

A tropical paradise. The pool outside shares the same air as the main house, just a different plane.

This expansive main living area overlooks the valley. It is stunning. Couldn’t help thinking about my 3-year-old as I looked down from such a high place in the trees. John’s response: “If you put your children in a cocoon their whole life, they will never learn self reliance. My kids grew up on cliff sides without barriers, and they never fell…” hmmm. John also mentioned that in one home all of the railings also have a netting attached throughout until the children are old enough to not fall through the railings.

Stairway to Heaven… The interior spaces are so open they make the home feel huge. But most of these homes are under 2000 sq ft.

I love the little inner cocoons throughout the house, offering private, peaceful solitude when needed.

What a wonderful welcome.

Hmmm, I think I could manage this…

Kitchen area and bathroom basket rooms.

A room with a view

Green Village home under construction

This is one of the original snapshots I took (as is obvious) of a home under construction. Isn’t that incredible? These homes are designed with an open air concept. The bedrooms, however, are designed with louvered doors so that they can be closed off and air conditioned when necessary. I was happy when I learned this.

Green Village home under construction

Another snapshot showing a better understanding of how the bathroom works. No worries, people, you won’t be on display – the toilet areas are enclosed baskets within the structure. The same basket-within-the-space concept is used for closets and cupboard or storage areas.

Green Village home under construction

Here’s John and Aly talking technical stuff about how the foundation works. I understood enough to know it’s incredibly innovative…I’m sure Aly will explain in his blog.

The structures in Green Village are amazing and beautiful and really pushing the boundaries of building methods and materials, which is an element of its intent. The Hardy family is working to change the world for the better by showcasing sustainable design and sustainable peaceful living through beautiful fantastic buildings. John mentioned that during the building process, they do not clear cut anything. In fact, much of the growth that is on site when they begin construction continues to grow around them as they build. In order to realize this dream, they not only have to have incredible vision, but a team of people they trust implicitly, a country with a labor rate that enables them the time to experiment, a demand for luxury sustainability which they cultivate through promoting their message in conferences, TED talks, media promotion, etc, AND raw materials on site – in fact, they farm and harvest their own bamboo and have a facility where they cut and treat the timber for the various building needs (support elements, railing, weaving pieces, etc) and build furniture on site. Basically, it takes dedicating your life to it and hoping your family follows suit to make it happen.

It’s wonderful to take a shower outside

I didn’t think I would particularly enjoy the luxe camping element of having private yet outdoor shower, but I was wrong. It was really pleasant, and I didn’t see any wildlife in the shower area until well after I was done and dressed and a large gecko sped down the wall :-)

Anyway, before I move on to new adventures, had to finish the photo story of Bambu Indah, so here you go:

Bambu Indah, Udang House Shower

Outdoor Shower- sort of. There were walls and a ceiling of sorts, and privacy screens so the other houses couldn’t see, but it was still open air, and it was great.

Bambu Indah, Udang House bed

Here is the bed. Each evening, they put the mosquito curtains down. There is a small air conditioner in the ceiling area of the bed. Because the mosquito curtain is more tightly woven than a traditional net, you can keep cool without necessarily cooling the whole room.

Bambu Indah, Udang House

Here is the path to get to our house which is in the background

Bambu Indah pool

Here is the pool, with a few of the house villas around it.

Bambu Indah, Udang House view

The view from our porch

Bambu Indah view

View of the rice fields from the bluff of Bambu Indah.