Concrete in Bali
Here in Bali, the Balinese red bricks characteristic is slowly shifted to other different materials, such as concrete. Although concrete is not common in traditional Balinese buildings but it has made its way to Ujung Water Palace (Taman Ujung) in Karangasem where it was used its renovation after Mount Agung eruption. The palace was originally built by the King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik and it is a privately owned by Karangasem Royal.
In modern architecture of Bali, concrete is usually left in its exposed state in order to create a raw, industrial statement. Using concrete to form simple but striking volumes of different shapes and sizes is a common approach, often designed to create architecture that contrasts with nature, yet feels grounded within its context.
Tropical Brutalism Architecture
Concrete is now becoming more popular in the island. One of the reasons is due for its reflective nature. Concrete reflects heat as opposed to absorbing it, making it suitable in this tropical climate of Bali. More commercial buildings, art spaces even private houses are now implementing raw concrete finish and often adorn with tropical softscape. This concept is also known with the term of “Tropical Brutalism.”
Some of the most interesting architecture today lies in the architects’ ability to find a connectivity of buildings and nature by combining it with other materials like wood, glass and steel for that twist of design. Concrete and wood is particularly popular pair in Bali. Combining woodwork adds warmth and ease to a massive concrete building impression. It also picks up more texture and pattern to the concrete backdrop.
Nicolas Schuybroek X SHL Asia
The concept is implemented for a private residence in Tabanan area, a collaboration on-going project between an international architect, Nicholas Schuybroek, as the principal architect and SHL Asia as the local architect. Nicholas’s architecture style is heavily influenced by minimalism and simplicity. His projects often use concrete material, including the one in Bali. SHL Asia will add more tropical feel to overall design through the simplistic tropical garden. Although the design looks modern and minimalistic, the details are exquisite. It may seem cool from its exterior, but the interior and furniture give warmth throughout the house creating a sense of balance.
With the endless possibility that concrete can offer, it is no wonder that it gotten more and more popular in the architectural map across the country especially in this island. The challenge for architects will be to ensure that such innovation would not replace or overshadow the vernacular architecture of Bali, rather it can be combined and integrated with such harmony creating an extraordinary contemporary design.