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Eco-friendly resort in Bali

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This Balinese resort is doing its part to protect the fragile environment without sacrificing standards of style and service

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Developments all around the world are enhancing their appeal to clients and investors by demonstrating that opulent design can be eco-friendly without compromising quality.

The developers of Alila Villas Uluwatu, a seaside resort on the Bukit Peninsula in Bali, decided early on to integrate green practices into their project. They chose to work with architects WOHA because of the company's focus on sustainability.

WOHA director Richard Hassell says the objective was to build a resort that would achieve Green Globe certification for building, planning and design. The programme has been developed to help the tourism industry everywhere improve its sustainability and reduce environmental impact.

"At Alila Villas Uluwatu, WOHA wanted to create more than the usual stereotypical ideas of Bali – we wanted a design that would work with the gently sloping site and dry savannah vegetation," Hassell says.

The result is a cluster of villas, terraces and pools, set high on a plateau that ends in a limestone cliff. All 84 villas and suites are tiered so each one has wide views of the Indian Ocean. But the emphasis on low environmental-impact design doesn't detract from the resort's main aim – to provide a place for guests to relax and rejuvenate.


"The design of the villas was inspired by traditional Balinese architecture, in that each house is a collection of pavilion platforms in a compound," Hassell says. "Each villa is not simply a room, but a connected series of spaces in which to relax."

Walkways and bridges connect the interior and exterior spaces of the villas and access a private pool and pavilion. While shaped like a Balinese bale, each pavilion features slats made from bronze and recycled wood, which give a modern appearance as well as privacy. They also allow air to circulate.

Earth tones influenced by the landscape were chosen for the interiors, to promote a soothing atmosphere in keeping with the emphasis on relaxation. Furnishings are simple, yet chic. Recycled iron wood features on the walls, and locally grown bamboo covers the ceilings.

To promote sustainable practices at the resort, WOHA used local labour to boost the economy and reinforce ecological standards.

"Old wooden telegraph poles and railway sleepers were reused in the construction. All the materials were locally sourced – these materials are environmentally sound and support local communities," says Hassell.

Other conservation measures include the installation of low-flow taps with a maximum rate of 9.5 litres per minute, and showers that consume less than 10 litres of water per minute. These aid the resort in reaching its stated goal of 80% water retention.

To reduce the amount of water and chlorine needed, a salt filtration system cleans the water in the pools, and the latest sewer treatment plant has been installed. Water for both the guests and staff is heated by the hot exhaust from the air conditioning.

All plants at the resort were chosen for their hardiness. Wild plants such as sweet lemongrass and lantana can flourish with available rainfall. An efficient soak system, using grey water, is in place for vegetation that requires watering.

The terraced roof of each villa is covered with a local volcanic rock, batu candi. This porous rock absorbs water and allows vegetation to sprout – it also provides thermal insulation.

First published date: 05 June 2014

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Credit List

Location Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
Architect WOHA Singapore
Civil engineer Worley Parsons; Atelier Enam Struktur
Mechanical and electrical engineer Makesthi Enggal Engineering
Quantity surveyor Kosprima Sarana Kuantitama
Landscaping Cicada
Exterior cladding Limestone from the site; Java sandstone; lava rocks; recycled ulin (iron wood)
Roofing Slab with lava rock (batu candi) overlay
Ceiling Bamboo
Doors and interior finishes Recycled ulin (iron wood)
Floor tiles White polished cement tiles; white terrazzo
Glazing Recycled glass blocks; 12mm tempered clear glass
Paints Low VOC Nippon Paint
Awards 2009 Green Good Design Award – Winner; 2007 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards – Commended Story by Lori Nims Photography courtesy Alila Villas Uluwatu