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Balinese Architecture and Design Philosophy

 Balinese architecture is a vernacular style of architecture wherein designers use local

materials to help construct buildings, structures, and houses, as well as reflecting local

 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.

Balinese 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. Some of the popular
luxury villas that uses the Balinese architecture or a touch of it are Villa Ambra, Villa
Hartland, and Villa Ketapang.

Despite the visible marriage of tradition and modernity in architecture in Bali homes and
private villas, designers and builders still place the distinct philosophies of Balinese architecture
as the top priority.

The 7 Philosophies of Balinese Architecture

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
Using these philosophies, Balinese architecture focuses on 4 Strength Aspects, which are:

A Good Ventilation System – with Balinese homes and luxury villas, big windows are used to
give full attention to air circulation. A large free space between the roof and wall is also created.

A Strong Foundation – based on the Tri Loka philosophy, the human body is similar to a house
– with a strong foundation, such as the feet for humans, a house will have tremendous strength.

A Massive Yard – based on the concept of being in harmony with nature, a typical Balinese
house or villa must have a yard for which to commune with the natural surroundings.

A Guarding Wall – a high wall protects the home from public view, providing privacy and
protection from other people, as well as to ward off black magic and evil spirits from entering the

A Typical Balinese 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.

Source: ;
By: Darrel Bella
Balinese Traditional Architecture Concept

Originally, the ancient Balinese perception to space is bounded by the earth beneath and the sky
above. Later on, the traditional Balinese spatial concept was developed to sky-earth spatial
orientation; mountain-sea, and sunrise-sunset.

The development of spatial regulating system actually evolved in modern time, with Sanga Mandala
and Tri-Mandala. Base on several traditional rules of Balinese Architecture, the basic principle of
Balinese Architecture came from:

1. Tri Loka is the spatial hierarchy consisting of:

• Utama (the upper, sacred, Gods)
• Madya (the middle, human)
• Nista (the lower, profane, demons)

2. Hasta Kosala Kosali is the application of Tri Loka and Tri Angga in all planning and
architectural design such as: measurement units, proportion, ceremony, orientation, sitting
and spatial order in the Balinese villages and homes’ design.

3. Tri Mandala is the application of Tri Angga in the vertical zoning.

4. Sanga Mandala is complex zoning applied all principles above.

The most important, sacred, or private part of a village or dwelling are located to Kaja
(Mountain) as possible.

The spaces that are used for day-to-day life are located in the center of the Sanga Mandala.

The most impure or potentially profane areas are located in the direction of Kelod (Sea).

The most important sacred is oriented toward sunrise while the most profane is oriented
toward the sunset.