Bali architects adopt experimental design for treetop accommodation
Indonesian-based architectural studio Alexis Dornier has recently completed a tropical treehouse escape located in Penestanan, on the outskirts of Ubud, Bali. Dubbed Lift, the treetop boutique hideaway offers guests a unique experience to sleep amid the treetops in a luxurious eco-structure.
The architects approached this work as an experimental project with the goal to test out a new ways of building lightweight structures that have little impact on the natural landscape. The goal was to step away from more traditional building techniques that often include the use of concrete, while also creating a cost effective and faster build. The architects therefore came up with the idea of building a cluster of elevated treehouse-inspired dwellings that are lifted above the ground and reduce their footprint on the site.
“Many developments here on this island use high quantities of concrete,” says Alexis Dornier. “We wanted to challenge that and create light architecture while suggesting a surreal mix of industrial impermanent structures embedded into a tropical forest.”
The Lift treehouses are built using steel structures and locally sourced bamboo and timber. An external spiral steel staircase winds its way to the top of each of the villas, which are nestled amid the palm trees and tropical flora. The elevated dwellings take advantage of passive cooling and shading from the surrounding trees, while also offering reprieve from mosquito shrubs.
Each treehouse villa features a master bedroom with king-sized bed, separate luxury bathroom, air conditioning and a private external terrace or balcony. The Earnest Hemingway House is elevated 12 meters (39.4 ft) above the ground and comes with furniture made from Rattan and recycled timber. Its roof-line is inspired by traditional Javanese homes associated with aristocrats.
The George Orwell and The Stanley Kubrick villas feature a Balinese Alang-Alang thatched roof, offering shelter and passive cooling. The Stanley Kubrick has a more modern interior coupled with a private rooftop terrace, while the The George Orwell stretches over two levels and boasts stunning forest views.
“Each of the structures has a different organization, material and appearance,” says Alexis Dornier. “Somewhere stuck in the past and the future, it seeks to bridge different aspects of Bali into a memorable experience, and creates a backdrop for pictures to take or keep in mind.”
The Lift boutique resort is set in a natural park-like setting and offers guests the use of its outdoor pool, bar, sauna, hammocks, picnic tables, yoga deck and secluded recreational areas.
Alexis Dornier architects hopes to further expand the Lift treehouse retreat with additional design partners, while continuing its goal to work with non-traditional structure designs and building methods.
“We are planning on extending the hotel further down to the river,” says Alexis Dornier. “Our aim was to create spaces where people could retreat to, detached and off the ground, unpretentious and reduced to a minimum. We wanted to evoke a sense of impermanence and allow for other experimental structures to fill in the blanks in the future. We are now collaborating with other architects on experimenting with new shapes, materials and organizational ideas – all surrounding the idea of off-the-ground structures.”
Accommodation at the Lift treehouse hotel starts from US$75 per night, per couple.