Early days on site

The first of the three teams arrive in Lombok. Shaun Laksana, a graduate Bridge Engineer, and Design Engineer Orestis Angelidis tell their story

We arrived in Lombok just over a week ago. It is so exciting to be here and get to build what we have been designing, discussing and stressing over during the past year.

On our first day we got to see an existing bamboo house owned by Els Houttave, founder of the local charity we are working with, it was incredible and created even more motivation to get started on construction of the two template houses.

After a 3-hour ride to the first site, we were welcomed by the local building team and community, who were full of energy for the project, it was great to meet them.

During the first few days we were accompanied by the team from UCL. They were here to 3D scan and take samples for testing of the bamboo pieces to be used in the construction of the bamboo houses, barcoding them and tracking their final position. With the aim of refining and improving design in the future, their work will prove important in the adoption of bamboo housing in the region. It was great to have them onsite for the first few days of the project. They’ve now headed home with their suitcases loaded with bamboo samples!

Enjoying lunch with the team

During this first week the teams assembled the main frames for the construction of the template houses in each of the two villages on the island – Salut and Sajang. Different approaches to constructing are being adopted at each site, reflecting the experience and favoured methods in each location. This gives us a chance to see which method works best and can be most easily adopted.

We now have the frames completed ready at each of the sites

A crucial part of our work in Lombok is the delivery and refining of workshops to help local tradespeople become skilled in bamboo house construction. The workshops also include detail on planting and treating the bamboo and health and safety. Orestis delivered the first session and we are pleased the with the high level of engagement. The sessions will intensify over the coming weeks so the locals will have the knowledge and skills to be able to construct for themselves.

Shaun (centre left), Koert, retired engineer and Grenzeloos Milieu sponsor (second from right) and Orestis (far right), accompanied by invited local bamboo experts

We have now completed our time here in Lombok and hand over to Lene Marie Rognan and Tom Harley-Tuffs. We’ve made some fantastic progress, discovered cultural differences that we need to be aware of and address, and we’ve overcome some practical difficulties that no amount of planning could have anticipated.

From left to right; Lene, Orestis, Shaun and Tom, accompanied by the local workers

It’s been wonderful to experience the hospitality and goodwill of the local people during our stay and while it’s been hard work, we have also managed to see some of Lombok, and what a beautiful island it is.

A truly beautiful island!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *