16.4.2014

Alila Villas Uluwatu, in Bali Indonesia

The design combines the delights of traditional Balinese pavilion architecture and rural landscapes with modern dynamic treatment of space and form.

This hotel and villa development is designed as an ecologically sustainable development. Located on the dry savannah landscape of the Bukit Peninsular on the Indonesian island of Bali, it comprises a 50-suite hotel with 35 residential villas.

Rather than the typical steep pitched Balinese pavilions, the buildings are instead inspired by the local farmers’ terraces of loose piled limestone boulders. A terraced low pitched roof was developed using Balinese volcanic pumice rock, which is a natural insulating material and can also support local ferns and succulents. These terraced roofs blend with the landscape, keeping the original wide open panoramas that make the site so unique. The 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.

The masterplan respects the contours to avoid cutting and fill. All large trees are maintained or transplanted. Site vegetation was surveyed and documented, with specimens sent to Kew Gardens for identification. A site nursery has been started, propagating the native plants which are being used in the landscape rather than exotic species from nurseries. The local plants are adapted to the dry savannah landscape by going dormant in the dry season and flowering spectacularly and will provide a unique seasonal display of flowers. These native gardens will require far less water, and will encourage local animals and birds to remain in the area.

Materials are all sourced locally – the walls use stones from the actual site from the road cuttings, while all other materials are either from Bali or the neighbouring island of Java. Sustainable timbers including coconut and bamboo are used. Craftsmen in Java and Bali are hired to make furniture, lamps and accessories. This strategy makes the development unique in terms of its materials, supports local skills and gives local materials prestige, promoting their use with the locals rather than them aspiring to expensive imported products.

The development has been designed from the start to exceed Green Globe 21 requirements. Environmental techniques used include:
• Rainwater collection and water recycling in retention ponds
• Aquifer recharging through soaks, swales and rain gardens
• Wastewater goes to grey water system for watering plants and toilet flushing
• Sewerage is treated and sewerage water recycled in grey water system
• Huge overhangs to allow natural cooling
• Water heating using heat pumps.
• Landscaping based on natural vegetation to encourage wildlife
• Landscaping based on dry-climate natural vegetation to save water
• Recycled plantation and renewable timber
• Saltwater pools
• Waste separation and recycling
• Naturally ventilated public areas
• Non-chemical termite treatment
• Low energy lighting

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The development is an appropriate next step in resorts, where luxury does not mean excessive consumption, but instead delight and enjoyment of the natural beauty and sense of place. The environment is located in an impoverished, rural area, replacing marginal agriculture with tourism that generates substantial employment and income for local people. Through showcasing local skills, materials and vernacular elements, it confirms the local people’s opinion that they live in a marvellous place that should be cherished and maintained.

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