Alexis Dornier’s Alpha House is an island retreat crowned by an undulating roof

Nestled near the Balinese town of Ubud, this holiday home clad in traditional kerobokan stone features a grid shell roof with sinuous geometries.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Aug 23, 2021

Among the vast rice paddy fields and lush forested hills surrounding the town of Ubud on the Indonesian island of Bali, a mass of sinuous forms reminiscent of the peaks and troughs of sound waves crowns a holiday home that blends into the natural landscape. This geometric similarity combined with the Greek heritage of one of the two clients, were the main factors which granted the residence its current name - Alpha House. As per the team at Alexis Dornier, the firm responsible for the residential architecture, the client woke up one morning and was inspired to name it such after viewing a picture of the house captured during construction, which highlighted the roof structure's resemblance to alpha waves.

The residence blends into the surrounding natural scenery of its tropical island context | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
The residence blends into the surrounding natural scenery of its tropical island context Image: KIE

The home was built for an entrepreneur and a former finance professional who had reconnected after long careers and were looking for a place away from their hectic lifestyles. The Indonesia-based firm elaborates, “It was intended to serve as a source of inspiration for people to pursue their dreams, take risks and try different things outside their current life or career paths. The house is used as an Airbnb as well as the clients' private residence when they visit Bali.”

Alpha House was designed as a respite from the clients’ hectic lifestyles | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
Alpha House was designed as a respite from the clients’ hectic lifestyles Image: KIE

Oriented in an east-west configuration to ensure privacy and facilitate self-shading, Alpha House comprises two stacked volumes with contrasting expressions of forms, culminating in a dynamic façade design. The lower volume, accessed through the garage at the eastern end, is a regular, cuboidal mass.

  • The residence consists of two stacked volumes that make distinct architectural statements | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    The residence consists of two stacked volumes that make distinct architectural statements Image: KIE
  • From the entrance, visitors are naturally drawn towards the cavernous living space | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    From the entrance, visitors are naturally drawn towards the cavernous living space Image: KIE

Large glass doors lead into the open kitchen housed within a vast double-height volume that also contains dining and living spaces, as well as a lounge at the eastern end of the structure; the spaces open into the pool at the property’s southern end. With walls cladded in grey kerobokan (a local Indonesian sandstone), this cavernous space forms the core of the internal layout. Illuminated by clerestory windows sheltered beneath a fluid wood-panelled ceiling, light filtering into the space casts fluid shadows in accordance with the ceiling geometries.

Furnishings in worn dark wood complement the textured monochrome finishes on enclosing surfaces. A pair of floating stairs at opposing ends of the dining area frame the interior design and imbue it with strong bilateral symmetry.

  • A pair of staircases at both ends of the space add symmetry to the layout | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    A pair of staircases at both ends of the space add symmetry to the layout Image: KIE
  • Walls clad in kerobokan stone form the core of the monochrome design aesthetic, enhanced by dark wood furnishings | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    Walls clad in kerobokan stone form the core of the monochrome design aesthetic, enhanced by dark wood furnishings Image: KIE

The upper floor extends this uniformity with a pair of adjacent housing units - mirrored in their layouts, containing two bedrooms each. Linked by a continuous balcony on the outside and separated by the void of the main living area on the inside, the spatial arrangement is simple and repetitive, allowing the fluid, organic architecture of the roof to take centrestage.

  • Arched clerestory windows line the wall space beneath the ceilings | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    Arched clerestory windows line the wall space beneath the ceilings Image: KIE
  • Light entering space casts shadows in accordance with the curved ceiling forms | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    Light entering space casts shadows in accordance with the curved ceiling forms Image: KIE

Shedding light on the roof’s design, the architects mention in an official release, “Grid shells have always done it for us, as they suggest interesting and new ways to define roofs." In this project, the grid shell is composed of a steel frame clad with asphalt shingles and beneath it, twisting ceilings finished in curved wood panelling wrap around the bedrooms. "In the case of the 'Alpha House'," the architects continue, "the walls become the roofs and create a silhouette, consisting of an iconic and rhythmic pattern that sticks."

  • Light entering space casts shadows in accordance with the curved ceiling forms | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    The upper floor hosts a pair of identical living units, each containing two bedrooms Image: KIE
  • Bedrooms are blessed with stunning views of the surrounding landscape | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    Bedrooms are blessed with stunning views of the surrounding landscape Image: KIE

On the ground floor below, warped images of the wavy roof enclosure are formed in a rectangular pool design. Sun beds and parasols populate the wooden deck running along the pool’s edge. Landscape design features, hanging creepers, and planters are closely integrated into the architectural forms, making the structure one with its scenery while allowing the clients and the property’s periodic guests to immerse themselves in nature.

Alpha House is a picturesque setting for an island getaway | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
Alpha House is a picturesque setting for an island getaway Image: KIE

The house merges elements of traditional Balinese architecture with the geometries of the rolling landscape to create a picturesque setting for a luxe tropical island getaway. Reflecting on the journey that brought Alpha House to fruition, the architects conclude: “Our office culture is one of dialogue, common goals, and not so much about right and wrong. Together with builders, artisans and manufacturers, this project has been one continuous opportunity for personal growth.”

  • First Floor Plan | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    First Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Alexis Dornier
  • Second Floor Plan | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    Second Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Alexis Dornier
  • Section | Alpha House by Alexis Dornier | Bali, Indonesia | STIRworld
    Section Image: Courtesy of Alexis Dornier

Project Details

Name: Alpha House       
Location: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Typology: Residential
Area: 280 sqm
Architectural Design: Alexis Dornier
Construction: Surya Kembar
Completion: 2020

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
2598,2515,2351,2405,2406

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

Collaborate with us

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE