Balinese Residential House

Topics: Human body, Hinduism, Indonesia Pages: 6 (1904 words) Published: April 14, 2008
Balinese Residential Architecture 2

Balinese Residential Architecture:

Balinese architecture has be divided into 6 parts which are the family compound, the pavilions, the temple courtyard and gates, the kul-kul and shrines, the palaces and also the water palaces (Wijaya & Granquist, 2005, p97) . Balinese residential architecture is based on ancient traditional Javanese style combined with Hindu religion and culture. The concept behind this architecture is the openness of space within its compound and also the Hindu religion. Researches have come a few conclusions about the Balinese residential architecture and the questions are:

1. What are the influences behind Balinese residential architecture?
2. What are the methodologies used for constructing the compound area?
3. What are the spaces within its compound?
4. What are the materials used for this architecture?

The reviews of Balinese dwelling compound focuses on these four questions.

What are the influences behind Balinese residential architecture?

The Hindu religion and culture influence a great part of Balinese residential architecture. According to Davison (2003), Balinese architecture is grounded in a metaphysic that presents the universe as integrated whole, where each part participates in

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the existence of each part. The correct orientation of space combined together with ideas of ritual purity and pollution are the main concept as it provides a cosmological support for maintaining harmony between man and the rest of the universe. This view can be derived from the Hindu idea of a divine cosmic order called dharma (para.2 & 3, p.4).

Davison (2003) researched that the Balinese universe come comes in sets of three. The most basic is the division of the three domain such as the underworld or known as the realm of evil and malevolent spirits ( bhur ), the world of human beings ( bhuwah ) and lastly the heavens above which are occupied by the gods and ancestors ( swah ). This model can be seen on the local topography where there is a distinctive division between the mountains and the sea (para.7 & 8, p.4). The two principles of direction in the Balinese cosmology are the two main points on the compass which are called Kaja and Kelod. Kaja which points north is the most important points of reference in Balinese cosmology (Wijaya & Granquist, 2005, p.98), written by Davison (2003) is defined as upstream or towards the mountains because mountains are considered the holiest part as it is a place for worship. On the other hand, Kelod which points south is known as downstream or towards the sea is related to something that is impure and home to evil spirits and influences (para.7 & 8, p.4). This explains why the Balinese people follow this set of cosmology when building their residential compound area.

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What are the methodologies used for constructing the compound area?

There are rules relating to the ritual and practical aspect of architecture and are kept in sacred text with the village priest which are called Asta Kosali (Davison, 2003, para.1, p.6). The human body is used for many measurements for constructing the compound area. Research done by Davison (2003) in building a house, the depa asta musti (Figure 1) measurement is used because it is the most basic measurement. This measurement is a combination of distance between the tip of the middle finger of each hand when the arm is stretched out horizontally (depa) with the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (hasta) and with the width of the fist when the thumb is extended (musti). These dimensions are recorded on a length of bamboo which serves as a yardstick for laying out the compound within its building. The Balinese residential principle also measures the feet, both lengthwise (tampak) or sideways (tampak ngadang) (para.3, 4 & 5, p.7).

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