Known as the Island of Gods, Bali, Indonesia has a powerful cultural and Hindu religious tradition that has had a significant influence on Balinese architecture. Today, modern Balinese style is mostly seen in tourism-related buildings such as hotels, villas, restaurants and airports, featuring a blend of traditional forms and materials with international aesthetic principles. This guide presents the top five contemporary buildings of high architectural interest in Bali.
Architect: Antonio Citterio, Patricia Viel and Partners
Construction year: 2006
Set on a high 150-meter cliff overlooking Indian Ocean, Bulgari Resort represents the brand’s famous Italian style: bold lines and sleek surfaces. Its modern and elegant approach to the traditional Indonesian architectural type stands out and creates a sophisticated atmosphere. The hotel and its 59 villas have been built and furnished using hand-cut volcanic stones, rich exotic woods and refined fabrics. Natural lava and palimanan stone are used for the garden and interior walls, refined bangkiray hardwood in the villas, alang alang (coconut thatch) roof tops, natural green colored subakumi stone to clad outdoor showers, plunge and swimming pools. A collection of exquisite Balinese antiques and exotic art pieces, including more than 90 examples, adorn the entire resort.
Situated in the Bukit Peninsula on the southern cliff of Bali, Alila Villas – a 50-suite hotel with 35 villas – is designed from the start to exceed Green Globe 21 requirements as an ecologically sustainable development. Built with locally available materials like coconut and bamboo timbers, the lodge respects the environment and surrounding topography. Rather than assembling stereotypical steep pitched Balinese pavilions, its unique design investigates a modern dynamic treatment of vernacular architecture. Hotel rooms are designed as inhabited gardens, rather than an interior room. The garden walls form the walls of the room, within which sleeping, eating, lounging and bathing occur in a garden environment. Hillside villas are designed as pavilions linked by bridges across water gardens, tucked into the hillside as terraces. Each villa forms a landscape foreground for the villa behind it.
Located on the premier Seminyak beach, Potato Head Beach Club has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the best vacation destinations in the world and acknowledged as a true institution in Bali. Not only unique in its concept with the Beach Club’s 500-square meter lawn and infinity pool, two bars, two restaurants, but also in its design. When you arrive you will be greeted by the magisterial sight of the ‘Colosseum,’ a towering elliptical façade of mismatched 18th century teak window shutters, collected from across the Indonesian archipelago, and an edged planted slope. As you journey further, the wood entrance and ceiling of Lilin restaurant stands out with its edgy formation.
“Green School’s vision is to create a natural, holistic, student-centered learning environment that empowers and inspires students to be creative, innovative, green leaders,” as its founders say. Its bamboo buildings became an integral part of this vision, according to Ibuku – the bamboo design-build team – which was born out of the construction of this project. “When Green School master plan was created the main building was titled: Central Administration Building. This transformed into Heart of School.” The roof is shaped in the form of three nautili spiraling into one another, while it is supported by three giant bamboo towers. The building has three stories and is the work space for the Green School administration team as well as the high school. The U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools granted Green School the 2012 Greenest School on Earth award.
Architect: Budiman Hendropurnomo of Denton Corker Marshall
Construction year: 2001
Blending old and new, Maya Ubud Resort & Spa represents the architectural synthesis of a traditional concept with modern style. Its setting is inspired by the ancient Balinese tradition of orienting villages along a north-south sacred axis and linking the mountains in the center of the island. “A central ceremonial walkway along the central ridge connects important public spaces from the porte-cochere, through the lobby and down to the spa. The villas or dwellings are then positioned on either side creating a village-like axis that follows the contours of the land. Four parallel lines in the form of massive stone walls emphasize this ceremonial spine, the subtlety of which may not be immediately apparent to the casual observer.”