Nic Brunsdon imbibes rugged regionalism into luxury resort The Tiing in Bali

Designed by architect Nic Brunsdon in Bali's Tejakula district, The Tiing draws its name from local word meaning bamboo, with the site framing views of the mountains and sea.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : May 04, 2020

Located on the northern coast of Bali in Indonesia, which has become a popular tourist destination due to its tropical climate and beautiful beaches, The Tiing was proposed to be a luxury boutique hotel in the remote district of Tejakula. The clients - a Chinese-American and a local Balinese hotel proprietor wished to build a ‘reward for the intrepid’ in this secluded spot in the wonderful stepped landscape of Bali. Perth-based Australian architect Nic Brunsdon was invited to design the hotel that overlooks the magnanimous view of the sea in a natural setting of green lustrous surroundings.

  • The traditional Balinese gateways that are famous worldwide  | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The traditional Balinese gateways that are famous worldwide Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  • The framed views of the mountains  | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The framed views of the mountains Image Credit: Ben Hosking

One of the challenges was to respond to distance; with respect to the remoteness of the project as well as the architect’s office being located six hours away. Brunsdon says, “Comprehending that the project would need a point of differentiation to pull people out of the well-worn tourist paths of southern Bali, the Tiing was designed with multiple influences and references embedded from its local and cultural context”. The project was also a finalist at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2019 under the Best Hotel category.

The Tiing derives its name from the local word 'tiing' that means bamboo.

  • Access through the site’s rugged landscape | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    Access through the site’s rugged landscape Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  • Walls create privacy as well as frame views towards the landscape and the sea | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    Walls create privacy as well as frame views towards the landscape and the sea Image Credit: Ben Hosking

While providing a robust conceptual framework, the design deliberately leans on traditional materials and construction techniques. As concrete has been a preferred construction material in Bali, and bamboo is plentiful in the region, this resulted in a series of bamboo formed concrete walls on the site, framing views of the mountains on one side and the sea on other.

The form of the structure implies a ‘rugged regionalism’ through its materiality aimed to work within the local context, resources and climate. “In a tropical climate, a clean finish would require much maintenance, however here, the material will naturally weather in, enhancing the character of the architecture and place with time. Importantly, this gave the structural strength and also became the finishing,” mentions Brunsdon, while adding that “expressing the texture and form of the bamboo as a negative impression in the patina of the concrete becomes this project’s primary motif”. Concrete walls created using bamboo became the major architectural gesture of the entire design. Bamboo has been used in the doors, window shutters, entry pavilion, lobby, spa, and in the fences as well.

  • Sketch of the framed view of the landscape | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    Sketch of the framed view of the landscape Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  • Sketch of the plan of the positioning of the villas to offer privacy as well as picturesque views | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    Sketch of the plan of the positioning of the villas to offer privacy as well as picturesque views Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  •  Detailed sketch of the plan of the positioning of the villas with the walls that protect from the heat and provide heightened sense of privacy | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    Detailed sketch of the plan of the positioning of the villas with the walls that protect from the heat and provide heightened sense of privacy Image Credit: Ben Hosking

Referencing to local Balinese gateways prevalent throughout the island, at each end the walls become shear walls gaining strength. In Balinese culture, these act as highly decorated totems, shear-cut on the travel path encouraging the eye and the spirit to drift onwards. A similar metaphor has been used for the unending views that the site presents of the sea and the landscape.

  • The pool within the villa overlooking the landscape | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The pool within the villa overlooking the landscape Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  •  Living area on the first floor of the villa | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    Living area on the first floor of the villa Image Credit: Ben Hosking

The walls were erected on site to create spaces in-between as well as the conditions within the spaces of the hotel. Architecturally, these walls act as funnels, giving each room equal and opposing view of the mountain and the ocean. “We thought it vitally important to draw attention to this dual condition as part of a locating and grounding travel experience,” says Brunsdon. Further, careful attention has been paid to the height of the site and the way the water bodies of the pool and the ocean would layer against the horizon.

  • The open-to-sky bath area   | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The open-to-sky bath area Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  • The circular deck with the restaurant beneath | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The circular deck with the restaurant beneath Image Credit: Ben Hosking

One arrives at The Tiing post a long journey of traversing winding roads through the lush green landscape of Bali, Indonesia. A red public bathing pool acts as a distinct counterpoint to the lush green jungle that one encounters throughout the journey. Partially hidden from the entry sequence, the red pool acts as an energising arrival moment.

At the foothills of the mountains where the highlands meet the exotic, black sand beach sits Tejakula Villa - a luxury boutique resort consisting of 14 spacious villas located on the northern coast of Bali, and a property by Luwak resort. The villas have spacious rooms placed on top of the beach front with unique, elegant design and contained terrace with views of the mountains or the vast ocean or both and an in-room private pool. Each internal villa also has a light well, connecting the occupant back to the sky.

  • The ground floor living area  | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The ground floor living area Image Credit: Ben Hosking
  • The ground floor living area with a bamboo sunshade | The Tiing hotel | Nic Brunsdon | STIRworld
    The ground floor living area with a bamboo sunshade Image Credit: Ben Hosking

The Tiing is a luxury and unique resort that offers a heartfelt experience to its visitors. Its design creates refuge and delight due to its protected and hidden nature, with an attempt to connect to self and nature in an aloof setting.

Project Details

Name: The Tiing
Location: Tejakula, Bali, Indonesia
Project size: 2000 sqm
Site size: 4000 sqm
Completion date: 2019
Building levels: 2
Architect: Nic Brunsdon 
Execution architect: Manguning

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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