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Bali Car Rental Blog

Bali Architectural Style

3 August 2009

Each community around the globe has its own characteristic related to convenient housing in accordance with its surroundings. If Eskimos have unique dome-like igloo in polar zone, Balinese people have a house called bale or pavilion. Designed for two seasons, it is thatched to generate warmth or coolness. The ones in original design remain to be found almost everywhere in Bali.

Bangli Regency, for instance, has Penglipuran traditional village. It resembles a living showcase of Balinese compounds designed based on traditional architectural concept. Zonal arrangement is made in such a way where sanctum lies at upper stream or higher place, then residential area at the lower and followed by cemetery at the end. Similarly, the structure and affixing ornaments in use goes along with the local concept. Another ancient pavilion can be observed at Kertha Gosa Hall of Justice in Klungkung. This pavilion was formerly used as courtroom during the reign of Klungkung kingdom. These two destinations are visited by many tourists every day.

Traces of written source left regarding to Balinese architecture retains in the manuscripts like the Asta Bumi and Asta Kosala Kosali. Students of architecture in Bali are, at least, also given introduction to this subject. Though original manuscripts are difficult to find, its transliterated version are widely sold at most bookstores in Denpasar. Both manuscripts are referred in designing various sanctum and traditional pavilion. By nature, Asta Bumi highlights about the basic measurements of sanctum building, house, geomancy and selection of good wood used for each building.

Meanwhile, Asta Kosala Kosali also contains some standard measurements used for making bale building and its attached beds structure. In addition, it also alludes the making of bade tower used in cremation ceremony. The latter is explained from the materials required until the initiation rites and mantra chanted before the tower is used for the cremation.

Let us be back to Balinese bale. Residential zone in Balinese compound is filled with a series of traditional houses having different functions. Each building is called bale. It is generally filled with bale delod (southern pavilion for organizing ritual), bale daja (northem pavilion for bedroom), bale dauh (western pavilion for hosting guests), kitchen and rice granary. Afterwards, each has fixed measurement, number of beam, ornament pursuant to its type and distance from one another and from sanctum and kitchen. Failing to meet these standards, it is believed to result disharmony in the dwellers.

Marked characteristics of bale layon its base, beam (6, 8, 9 and 12), roof and other structures. In the past, bale always used alang-alang or thatch roof. The alang-alang grass itself can give warmth during the rainy season and coolness during the dry season. Then, the wall applied the mixture of refined soil, husk of rice and reinforced by bamboo bars. Today, some elements like foundation, wall and roof have been replaced with modem materials. However, its design and structure remain the same.

In keeping with the development of tourism industry, the bale architectural style has much widely inspired the design of tourism property across the island. It does not only give new style to the property itself, but also preserves the indigenous traditional concept. Based on this inspiration, creative undagi (traditional architect) have produced a wide variety of gazebo for hotel, villa or spa outlets. Interestingly, bale has now been made in mass production in the form of wooden knockdown. It shores up the emerging trend of eco-friendly property both at home and overseas. It is good to install at coastal and chill areas.

At the beginning, the bale was used for private living by Balinese people. Later, this concept is applied to tourist accommodations like cottage and villa. Tourists visiting Bali can now rejoice in the comfort and tranquility of the bale as the Balinese do. Even, they can now bring it home in order they could feel the comfort longer.