Posted in Indonesia

Archtrove Travels to Bali – Hinduism and Homes

Balinese architecture, like Bali, is individual from Indonesia, and even possibly Asia. This could be due to the fact that Bali is considered a top resort destination by foreigners and therefore is influenced by the foreign economy, or perhaps due to its beautiful beaches and picturesque countryside, or it could be due to it being the “island of the gods” with its hundreds of temples. Either way, its culture, laid-back attitude, deep religious notions and natural resources, all combine to make what is known as Balinese architecture.

Bali Architecture Style

Balinese architecture is a vernacular style of an architecture wherein designers use local materials to help construct buildings, structures, and houses, as well as reflecting local tradition. It is a centuries-old style of design that’s heavily influenced by Bali’s Hindu traditions, as well as ancient Javanese elements.

Materials commonly used in Balinese homes and buildings include thatch roofing, coconut wood, bamboo poles, teak wood, stone, and bricks.

Balinese architecture has a distinct characteristic of traditional aesthetic principles, using the island’s ancient culture and artistry in every design element of a structure.

Bali Architecture and Its Uses Today

Many of Bali’s domestic homes and luxury villas use the distinct philosophies of Balinese architecture. Using nature at its best to provide a man-made structure with a relaxed and tropical atmosphere, Bali homes and private resorts provide the perfect dwellings that are in tune with the environment.

With the island becoming more and more popular as a top tourist destination in Asia, more establishments are offering private luxury villas to compliment an exciting Balinese vacation. Private luxury villas in Bali using the distinct Balinese style combined with modern elements have become a staple of architectural designs found on the island.

The Philosophies of  Architecture in Bali

The philosophies of this architectural design revolve around Hinduism, spatial organization, and communal-based social relationships. A Balinese-designed home or villa is built around these 7 philosophies:

1. Tri Hata Karana – Creating harmony and balance between the 3 elements of life – the atma or human, angga or nature, and khaya or gods.

2. Tri Mandala – rules of space division and zoning

3. Sanga Mandala – also a set of rules of space division and zoning based on directions

4. Tri Angga – concept or hierarchy among different realms

5. Tri Loka – similar to Tri Annga but with different realms

6. Asta Kosala Kosali – 8 guidelines of architectural designs regarding symbols, shrines, stages, and measurement units

7. Arga Segara – sacred axis between mountain and sea


Bali Architecture and the Home

Unlike most Western countries where there is one, single large house, a Balinese home is a compound of separate pavilions that serve different functions. One pavilion houses the kitchen, while another houses the master bedroom, and another being the family shrine, and so on. All these structures are connected through a series of gates.

A house also typically has a front open pavilion to welcome guests to the home. A Balinese home must also have a landscaped garden with tropical decorative plants that merge the home with nature. However, the grounds are never heavily altered, and designers always use the garden’s natural features to create their designs around them.

A typical feature of a Balinese garden is a floating pavilion surrounded by ponds packed with waterlilies, usually used for meditation or relaxation purposes.

Balinese architecture provides a calm and relaxing atmosphere that forces you to reflect and be at one with the earth. With design elements of plants, flowers, natural construction materials, and large open spaces, staying in a Balinese home or luxury villa is the perfect way to unwind, contemplate, and truly enjoy mother nature.


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See more about Architecture in Indonesia here.

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