Bali is one of the islands in Indonesia which is well known for its beauty in the eyes of the world. Not only its exotic natural beauty, traditional architecture or Balinese traditional houses also have amazing characteristics and uniqueness, you know. Balinese traditional house can be interpreted as a spatial layout that accommodates the life of Balinese people who have developed from generation to generation with all the rules inherited from ancient times until now.
Just like other vernacular architecture, traditional Balinese architecture is designed using local materials that reflect the tradition of making buildings, structures, and houses. The architecture itself is heavily influenced by Balinese Hindu traditions, as well as Old Javanese. Some of the materials that are often used include thatched roofs, coconut wood, bamboo, teak, stone, and bricks. Apart from the material, the arts or carvings on each design element also have the characteristics of a thick ancient culture. Want to see the uniqueness of a traditional house from Bali? Let’s look at the explanation and its characteristics below.
Hindu elements in home architecture
Balinese architecture cannot be separated from the Hindu manuscript called “Lontar Asta Kosala Kosali” which contains the rules for making houses or puri and rules for places of worship or temples. In the manuscript, it is stated that the rules for making a house must follow the anatomical rules of the house owner’s body with the help of the undagi as a pedande or holy person who is authorized to help build a house or temple.
Many Buildings on One Land
In a typical Balinese house building, there are several buildings in one house. Each of these buildings has a different function. Rooms such as sleeping areas or kitchens have separate buildings as well as prayer rooms and other rooms. This is included in the Tri Hita Karana philosophy, where the house creates a balance between the elements of human life, the natural environment, and the spiritual.
Sacred Rules in Building Arrangement
The architectural elements in the housing complex are arranged according to the concept of sacredness in Bali and the cardinal points. The North direction (Utara) is considered sacred while the south (Selatan) is considered bad. This is the concept of Tri Angga, which is a layout guide, where the front part is called the main mandala holy place for worship, the middle part is the Madya mandala as the residence for residents of the house, and finally, the rear part is Nista mandala which is used for the kitchen.
According to Balinese rules, the corner between the north and east (Timur) is a holy area so places of worship are usually placed in this area. Meanwhile, the south and west (Barat) corners are areas that have a lower degree. The traditional Balinese house complex is dominated by a pavilion surrounding the central courtyard (natah). The family temple is the holiest area of the entire house complex and is located in the Northeast which is identified as the head of the house complex. Family shrines are locked in a holy place (Pamerajan).
Polytheism or worship of many gods is an early culture that existed on the island of Bali before the arrival of Hinduism on the island of Bali. This belief is also reflected in several Balinese architectural styles. Balinese people usually build their houses with an open concept with a temple or place of worship and worship in it. In fact, a single house complex may consist of several temples, each of which is used to worship a different god.
Building Materials Shows Social Status
The materials used in each house cannot be the same for everyone. The level of social and economic status is felt in Balinese architecture. Middle-class people usually build houses with clay, while upper-class people use bricks. For roofs, ground tile material is used by those classified as aristocrats while Alang-Alang or fibers are used for ordinary people.
Traditional house styles and original Balinese architecture are not made haphazardly, but with mature concepts and calculations that represent sacredness. These cultural values are not only applied to temples or houses, other small buildings are also designed with this concept in mind. That is why Balinese architecture is very distinctive and well known to foreign countries.