Framing Nature With Architecture: A unique and classic blend


Site Layout

site layout
Photo by Danial Koh from AchDaily

The blend of architecture and nature resulted in a camouflage structure in the western forest of Bali. Being part of the island series, it has lush greenery all wrapped around it. Nature was the first ever habitat that existed for human occupancy. Reliving that experience will bring us back to our origin. The hotspot of tourism and youth all across the globe, Bali has made its position in the top list. Greenery all around, immediate seashore, and availability of supplies for stay and food. Such qualities validate the potential and importance of the land. Considering and understanding this demand-supply ratio, the structure took place in the dense.

The growth of the travel industry is in absolute high demand, supporting constituents must be available at all times. Vacation is a never-ending story in the book of life. Everyone needs one and always looks for innovative options to spend time on. Solo trips, with a partner or family trip, as the number and group change location does too. Each category has its own needs and comfort.

Accompanying comfort, luxury also takes its place on the table. People tend to spend more on travel, with the logic of “it’s only happening once in life”. This expands the market for architecture in travel and tourism. A site with contours is a platform for architecture to experiment with levels and heights of spaces. This can be seen clearly in the section of the chameleon villa. 

Entry in industry

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Hotels and restaurants have been part of the travel industry for quite some time now. They have given their best in time and continue their legacy in each corner of the world. But as the era changes, trends do too. This era has been witnessing more solo travel trips and staycation culture. To fulfill this demand, hostels and renting spaces came into the picture. The culture of dorms and bunks has been more popular in recent years. But the dimension changes as we move towards the north of the hierarchy in money and power chain.

The upper class has a set of luxuries that can not be scaled down to the bare minimum. The requirements and budget both are extraordinary. Catering for this class of society with limitless cash investment and supreme comfort has its business market. For mental peace and away from the city hustle, people tend to come under the shadow of nature. Solving this problem with aesthetics and architecture, rental villas came into the picture. This type of facility is maintained and owned by its owner but used by the renter. This exchange of money and leisure through the medium of architecture captured the industry in a short period.

The villa

Photo by Danial Koh from AchDaily

The initiative of building such a structure in the lap of mother nature does remind us of the great contribution in the field of architecture by Frank Loyed Wright called Falling waters. Such a milestone is hard to achieve yet similar attempts have taken place in the last few decades. Any Architect or designer always wants to leave their mark on the history of the world through their art and work. Few succeed and others remain nameless. But such structures when entering the ring of the travel industry are often shown in the highlights of the region. Recognition of the project helps in publicity as well reach up to a maximum number of people across the globe.  

The Chameleon Villa was created by WOMhouse (word-of-mouth house) architects and is located in the village of Buwit in Bali’s southwest coastline region. The house has a lot of flora that makes it blend in with the surroundings and looks out over a river and a thick forest. To construct a set of structures that appear to be a part of the land itself, WOMhouse has worked upon the concept of “landscape architecture” at times vanishing within it, and other times rising from it.

Each building accommodates a particular function while being positioned on a separate level of the land, which is a typical aspect of traditional Balinese architecture. The displacement of the forms on the land creates in-between areas and tiny gardens that provide unobstructed views of the jungle.

Talking the volumes

Photo by Danial Koh from AchDaily

Any project starts with the site analysis and north direction. The study of soil, land, neighborhood, and directional climatic study helps in better shaping the structure. The services, incorporation of natural light and wind inside the structure, and structural details are based on these studies. The best use of the site can result in spacious and barrier-free movement, it can shape the interior layout and helps design the roofing treatment for suitable aesthetics.

Having a site in the middle of the forest where nature and scenery dominate all other factors, the best use of potential is just to incorporate. Providing the end user with what they are looking for with a surprise element will always impact them on a personal level. Studying the requirements of clients and finding their best match along with site suitability is the prime focus of any designer. This is best showcased in the Chameleon villa located in Bali.  

To provide views of the riverbed below and the forest opposite, the buildings are positioned on various levels of the land and follow contour lines. These parameters are followed by the rotation of the blocks on the property, which makes it possible to create gardens and in-between areas that would otherwise be challenging to experience on a property with such a steep pitch.

The many pavilions accommodate various uses by traditional Balinese design, and all social spaces are maintained open to the elements while bedrooms and additional private spaces, such as offices, gyms, and media rooms, are closable volumes. From the time one lands in the parking, a sense of discovery permeates the entire property.

The Interiors

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While the bedrooms and other areas like the office, gym, and media room are maintained more private and enclosed toward the interior, all common spaces in the chameleon villa are opened to the outside. The main structure’s shape is inspired by rectangular volumes stacked on top of one another. It is made of an outer frame that insulates and shields the inside from the elements. The chambers below are cooled by “camouflage” roofs covered in multiple layers of flora and help collect rainwater.

From the time one land in the parking, a sense of discovery permeates the entire property. From the moment we plunge into a deep slot in the ground and learn it is the entrance to the guest bedrooms located at a lower level, we can only see a clear view of the forest ahead comes across before realizing the overlooking view of the roof of the structure below.

The primary structure, which has two floors, is designed with boxy volumes stacked on top of one another off-axis to appear as though they are resting on the ground. The inner frame, where humans typically spend most of their time, is held and protected by an outside frame. The outer frame’s main function is to insulate the areas and shield them from the weather. The areas underneath these supports have been used to contain all the instruments, while the supporting “camouflaged” roofs have a cooling effect and help with rainwater collection.

The composition of spaces feels both “earthy” and raw while being crisp and futuristic. The material palette is primarily made up of organic and locally obtained materials, which not only allowed this endeavor to support local vendors and artisans but also reduced the carbon footprint of the house. In addition to passive cooling and choosing eco-friendly materials, green solutions for this project have included solar power generation, water recycling, and rainwater collection for irrigation of the garden.

Tasteful Choices

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The project does not end with the erection of footing and building of walls, nor when the plumbing and painting are over. The process reaches the finish line by accommodating the interior and furniture. The choices of equipment as well as their complimenting color truly shapes the room. Aesthetics and luxury both are achieved through this interior design of the space. With help of the right furniture with a suitable color pattern in the right place will always add life to the volume.

The elongated infinity pool overlooking the river edge outcasts the villa into nature. The pool deck and peripheral walls in an earthy grey tone border the entire view. The swimming pool itself is designed like a natural water body with open-to-sky scenery and a jungle edge. 

The informal corners and courtyard are useful for the tenets only with the right choice of furniture and lighting. The shades used in the villa are complementing the natural backdrop around it and also merge the villa with nature. The use of minimum furniture highlights the greenery outside and provides the user with the experience they came for.

Incorporating Sustainability

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Today’s world is facing crises due to limited natural resources. Where the solution to this problem is tackled with help of sustainability. The measure of carbon footprint and minimum usage of non-renewable energy forms come under this paradigm. With technological advancements, the world is stepping into the future with comfort and safety, yet what is getting neglected is the harmful impact on the environment.

In the list of sustainable development goals which are being followed across the globe to step into a better future together. On various platforms and through multiple competitions people are being challenged to design sustainable buildings. The topic of sustainability is being incorporated into the academic syllabus as well as people can dedicatedly enroll in the post-graduation courses. The seriousness and importance of this situation must be taken into consideration by the architects and designers to shape the cities considering the perspective of nature.  

The villa features a material palette made up of natural and regionally obtained materials and a layout of structures that are both minimalist and sensual at the same time. Through the use of solar panels, water recycling, and a rainwater atchment system for garden irrigation, the architects used a sustainable structured approach for the project.

Capturing the market in Architecture

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Being one of the most aesthetically pleasant and sustainable projects, it earned fame and glory. Starting from the planning of the house, considering the slopes and contours till the choice of material pallet and interior. Each well-planned decision by the designer has left its mark on the revels of the stay holders. Architecture not only houses people but also their memories.

When a person enters the space, the space also enters the person. The impact of energy and surrounding that have on the human mind is shocking. The holiday itself has a long-lasting imprint on human psychology, with the addition of nature and aesthetics, the bar goes straight in the north. Realizing the potential and influence of architecture, this can become a major revolution.

Conclusive Psychological Impact

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The experimentation of architecture through these parameters will begin the new lateral in the field. Travel and tourism will never end as long as the human race goes. All fields are interdependent in the core. This lifting up the standards with an amalgamation of two industries together is nothing but what the future holds. In support of this, the chameleon villa did set a benchmark to achieve.  

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