Bali & Beyond, April 2003, Volume 5 No.3

Compendium on

Balinese Architecture

Text by Supardi Asmorobangun

Bali’s top architect Made Wijaya recently released his newest book, Architecture of Bali : A Source Book of Traditional and Modern forms, An encyclopedia in its own sense, it is the comprehensive source book on Balinese architecture after its predecessor of the same context, Balinese Architecture; Toward an Encyclopedia, The large book is divided into eight chapters; the Balinese Village, Courtyard Elements, Building Materials and Architectural Hybrids. Twenty years in the making and just published by Archipelago Press (an imprint of Editions Didier Millet) and Wijaya Words, Wijaya’s latest book is destined to become the definitive compendium on Balinese building design.

With over 360 illustrations, including his own personal archive compiled over the past 30 years, it presents a visual study of Balinese architecture: its origins, elements, variations and vagaries. Besides Wijaya’s own archival photographs the book is illustrated with the work of internationally acclaimed artists, specialist photographers and illustrators, including Tim Street-Porter and Rio Helmi, and drawings by Chang Huai-Yan, Deni Chung, and Bruce Granquist.

A designer or just an ordinary reader will find Architecture of Bali useful as a source of book for materials, built form, ornamentation and ideas about the use of space. Lovers of Bali will welcome its documentation of a rapidly changing world. The best way to describe this book is as a fun and accessible encyclopedia. In fact, each chapter has as many as 13 two-page subchapters, which go into detail about the elements that make up Balinese architecture. Newcomers to Bali and architectural design will be impressed by the minute details in design, something that Wijaya points out as disappearing with the rapid so-called “development” of the island.

The book consist of rich, full color-filled pages and black and white photographs depicting interiors and exteriors, alongside some rare authentic images of Balinese people in architectural settings, which have, if not completely disappeared, been pushed aside in the rampant development of the island. Buying the book just for the sake of the rare images is reasonable..
If not, necessary.

Architecture is an inherently visual medium. Wijaya effectively utilizes photographs wherever possible. After reviewing the book for yourself, you would consider why such a comprehensive book shouldn’t stand alone on a designated shelf in book stores.

Translation the book into Bahasa Indonesia would be a great contribution to the indigenous and Indonesians in general, who might have suffered from the degeneration of authenticity in architectural designs, to might better understand and cherish the amazing asset they actually possess. Expect more great work from the maestro in the future, Archipelago Press/Wijaya Words, 224pp, Rp 450,000,-

Available at top bookstores or PT Wijaya Tribwana International, Jl. Pengembak 98, Sanur, 287-668.

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PT. Wijaya Tribwana International
Jln. Pengembak No.9B Mertasari, Sanur 80228, Bali - Indonesia. Ph: (62-361) 287668, Fax: (62-361) 286731

Copyright 2010 PT. Wijaya Tribwana Internationa