Monday, September 14, 2009

Bali Green School

During our trip to Bali we were fortunate enough to be given a tour of the famous Green School. The mother of a friend of ours was one of the founding teaching/administrative staff and offered to show us this amazing international nursery to high school.

While we waited for approval to come down into the campus we noticed the parking shelter was a very unique structure, made completely of bamboo.
Once we were given approval a staff member walked us through the lush jungle down to the river.When we reached the river we came upon a bridge that took us into the Green School campus and that was when we realized this is not an ordinary international school.The Green School was founded by wealthy jeweler John Hardy to provide an ambitious green education to students from all over the world. We immediately understood the concept of a sustainable school upon trying to walk around the campus in our flip flops. The difficult and jagged walkways was part of the school's belief in leaving a near zero carbon footprint.As we tried to walk around we could see how easily the school could be dismantled and you would never know a school once stood there.But what truly made the Green School an incredible place was the architectural, natural and complete use of bamboo. At the time of our visit the school was erecting the world's largest bamboo structure, future home to administrative offices and a library. The large building was massive and could be seen from many areas around the campus.
The classrooms were equally as impressive.Here's the cute little bathrooms with composting toilets.
Due to the balmy weather all year round there is little need for the classrooms to have walls; a creative solution in the upper-grades' classrooms, when a group of kids need to be separated in order to work on projects, were these inflatable pods.
This is what it looks like deflated.
We walked down to the temporary admin offices, which were gorgeous stilted huts in the jungle hillside!Everything at the school was made of bamboo - everything. The desks, both teachers' and students'.
Here's a sample of the items we saw made out of bamboo at the school cubbie holes lounge chairssoccer goalshammockumbrella standAnd our favorite item we saw made of bamboo, drum roll please - their maintenance vehicle!
The Green School is striving to not only teach sustainability, but also be a leader in sustainable practices. This includes a garden that provides education as well as food for the students.It was a policy of the school not to grow anything that is simply decorative, so you won't find hibiscus or heleconias, just vegetables and cacao.
And a vortex. The school is hoping to someday generate its own energy.
The school also has a large auditoriuma gymnasiuma soccer fielda swimming pool - although the Green School's swimming pool happens to be carved out of the hillside along the river.And what school doesn't have a ceremonial area with known mythical energies?
After a tour of the campus we headed back across the bridge over to the housing area. The roof of the Principal's house can be seen at the top of the photo, above the bridge.
The housing area where the teaching staff and administration lived was gorgeous.
The Principal had a house elsewhere in Bali, therefor we were able to take a peak at the Principal's campus house. The three story home was breathtaking.
The top floor consisted of a massive open loft area with incredible views over the tree tops.The second floor had several bedrooms and a bathroom.Heading down the stairs, the main ground floor is a large windowless open room with a seating areathe open seating area looked out to this incredible view of the Green School Campus across the river
The master bathroom on the ground floor was stunning. The stone carved bathtub and sinks were massive and gorgeous.The two composting toilets were for - you guessed it: number 1 and number 2. The basket in between the two toilets is filled with sawdust to cut down the odor, which we were told works incredibly well.We quickly wrapped up our self-guided tour of the Principal's house and headed over to see our host's home. Half yurt and mostly bamboo hut, her home was a lofted two-story house. With no windows and plenty of bamboo.The main floor held a great open kitchen and dining/seating area.The Green School is an environmentally, culturally, and beautifully designed school. We feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to see it.

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