Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
DRA House in Bali, Indonesia by d-associates architect
June 15th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: d-associates architect
Boutique resort and villa design developments on the island of Bali are well-known for their extravagant attempts to stage a lush tropical getaway embellished with reproductions of craftsmanship associated with the exotic ‘Balinese’ atmosphere. Against this backdrop, D-Associates’ pursue of a humble sense of home away from home in Bali is a rare undertaking. The brief is simple, to design a villa for an extended Indonesian family in Sanur, one of the most iconic Southern Balinese settlements and the island’s most established tourist destinations. Not dealing with the Western world’s imagination of a somewhat ‘Balinese’ exoticism, here we are encountering a more subtle appreciation of the calm tropical landscape of Sanur. The villa is envisioned as a family retreat set in a tropical landscape, a contrast to their Jakarta living, while learning from a particular aspect of spatial configuration of Bali’s indigenous dwelling architecture: an emphasis in breaking up the volume of a house and in blurring the inside and outside spaces.
On a long rectangular shape 897 sqm site, the main structure of the two-storey villa is located near the long southern side, while creating a generous open area of pool and lawn on the northern side. This configuration allows all the rooms in the villa — four bedrooms each equipped with its own bathrooms, living, dining, and kitchen to all be opened on both their south and northern sides (avoiding the direct east west sun direction of the tropic) with the lawn and the pool becoming the main focal points throughout the villa. From the neighbourhood street, the considerably tall massing of the main volume of the villa is set back and scaled down through a strategic configuration of the front part of the site where an enclosed carport area, a landscaped front yard (with a pond) and a foyer pavilion with a flat wooden roof act as a humble entry court to the house. Further toning down the volumetric composition, each of the structural elements are covered by a distinct natural building material — the heavy grey river stonewall as the carport enclosure, the timber columns and screen of the foyer, the unfinished concrete pathway softened by the landscaped garden and the pond.
The foyer pavilion is a reference to the aling-aling element in Balinese dwelling compound, a transitional screen element where the act of entering one’s house is emphasised as a kind of procession that marks where the private space of a house begins. In this project, D-Associates spatialises this traditionally surface like architectural element into a small foyer space enclosed and supported by a row of recycled ulin timber (previously used as railway track sleepers).
The main structure of the villa inside is divided into two volumes of space: the upper level area is configured as a floating dark wooden box sheltering over the lower level area, a contrastingly open and light transparent volume that acts as a platform of family living activities. This strategy again tones down the massing of the villa in order to maintain a sense of home and human scale. The heavy tone of the dark coloured ulin timber and plywood finishing of the upper volume introduces warmness into the villa from the strong tropical sun. The lower volume appears more as a platform of space that merges with the pool and the garden due to the lightness of its enclosing elements: the pilotis like row of thin round concrete columns painted in white and the floor to ceiling panels of glass windows that can be thoroughly opened. This configuration is also a modern articulation of the rumah panggung (wooden house on poles) typology, a common vernacular dwelling type built in tropical region in Southeast Asia.
An anchor to the whole composition is a two-storey height sheltered terrace breaking the long massing of the villa in the middle. This tall terrace space is a spatial bridge that connects the upper level (which contains all the private bedroom units) and the lower level (which contains all the living spaces), the internal living spaces and the surrounding landscape. It amplifies a sense of lightness and openness into this otherwise large structure with a total floor are 897 sqm. By using the same finishing materials indoor and outdoor, the boundary between the inside and outside is blurred, maximising the family’s experiencing of retreating into the landscape of Bali.
Amanda Achmadi is a lecturer in Asian architecture and urbanism at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She holds a doctorate degree in architecture and Asian studies.
d-associates, established in 2001, is a Jakarta based architectural practice directed by Gregorius Supie Yolodi and Maria Rosantina. The practice has emerged a consistent figure within the architectural scenes of Indonesia through the first decade of the 21st century as demonstrated through a range of carefully detailed material experimentations and meticulously executed architectural projects. A wide range of recognitions of their architectural trajectories is evidenced in a number of prestigious architectural awards and design accolades they received consecutively between 2008 and 2012 and the selection of their works as representations of the dynamic of Indonesia’s architectural scenes in key international publications on the topic of contemporary Asian architecture.
Key projects that help position d-associates as one of the leading architectural practices in Indonesia are Rest Area KM 19, one of the first architecturally designed public facility strategically positioned on the Jakarta-Cikampek highway which connects the capital city and important regional towns on the island of Java and the Papilion Building, a mixed-use commercial building iconic for its adaptation of a double glass façade for the tropical climate of Jakarta.
Gregorius Supie Yolodi, born in Jakarta, October 14, 1974, graduated from the Architectural Engineering Parahyangan Catholic University in 1998.
Interned in 1996-1997 at Grahacipta Hadiprana, Jakarta. Later in the year 1998 – 1999 worked as a project architect at Triaco Bali, in year 1999 – 2000 became a partner in Tjipta Nuansa Kreasitama. Then in 2001 founded the dassociates. Yolodi is a registered member of the Indonesian Institute of Architects (IAI) and has served as pengurus IAI Jakarta 2006-2009.
Maria Rosantina, born in Jakarta, 19 September 1974, graduated from the Architectural Engineering Parahyangan Catholic University in 1998.
Interned in 1998, at Rekamatra, Bandung.
After graduation, in year 1998 – 1999 worked as a project architect at Hepta, Bandung in year 2000 – 2002 worked as an architect at Batara Krida Mega Kencana, then in 2003 joined as a partner in the d-associates . Maria is a registered member of the Indonesian Institute of Architects (IAI) Both Supie and Maria were active members of the Green Architecture club during their study and are well-travelled throughout the Indonesian archipelago. This experience equips them with a strong awareness of the diverse facets of architectural history, traditions, and socio-urban and environmental characteristics of the rapidly developing nation.
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