“Chameleon Villa” is located in Buwit, a village in the lush interiors of the southwest coastal area of Bali. Constructed on an acre of land, overlooking a dense forest and a gentle river below, the villa sits on a steep contour with an 11-meter difference of level between the arrival area and the river that runs the western length of the property.
“Given such a spectacular location, the challenge was to create an architecture that truly connected with its surroundings and that integrated well with the topography of the site.”
The architects worked on the idea of ‘landscaped architecture’, by blurring the boundaries between natural and built environments. As a result, the buildings appear to be a part of the land itself sometimes disappearing within it, and then at other times, emerging from it.
The buildings are situated on different levels of the land and they follow the contour lines in a way to take in the vantage points towards the river below and the forest across. The rotation of the volumes on the land follow these criteria and allows the creation of in – between spaces and gardens to enjoy which would otherwise be difficult to experience on a land of such a steep pitch.
Traditional Balinese Architecture
As per traditional Balinese architecture the different pavilions accommodate different functions and all communal spaces are kept open towards the elements whereas the bedrooms and other more private spaces such as office, gym and media room are close-able volumes.
The main building, which is on two levels, follows the idea of rectangular volumes stacked on one another off-axis as if they were resting on the land. They are composed of an outer frame which holds and protects the inner one where people would tend to spend most of their time.
The purpose of the outer frame is to protect the spaces from the elements and provide insulation. The supporting ‘camouflaged’ roofs provide a cooling effect to the spaces below and assist with rainwater collection whereas the spaces below these frames have been used to store all the technical equipment.
The result is a composition of volumes that are clean and modern but at the same time they feel ‘earthy’ and organic. The material palette is largely comprised of natural and locally sourced materials, meaning that not only local suppliers and artisans could be supported by this initiative, but it also minimised the carbon footprint.
About Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth (WOM) is a dynamic young architecture and interior design practice based in Bali, Indonesia. Led by Principal Architect Valentina Audrito, the practice has been involved in the design of residential and commercial projects ranging from private homes to multi residential dwellings, retail spaces and hospitality environments.
The practice believes in the important role that space, volume, light and nature play in affecting mood and behaviour, and so aspires to create spaces that achieve the best possible combination of these essential elements. The architecture of WOM is designed to invite personal interaction and provide contemporary comfort, whilst always maintaining a strong relationship with nature.
© Photography by Daniel Koh