Balinese building rules are very strict and adhere to two basic principles. Firstly they must conform to the needs of the gods residing within the building; secondly they must be true reflections of the exact size of the builder/owner. I find this really fascinating.

Text by Alistair G. Speirs

Balinese building rules are very strict and adhere to two basic principles. Firstly they must conform to the needs of the gods residing within the building; secondly they must be true reflections of the exact size of the builder/owner. I find this really fascinating.

So when you look at a traditional Balinese compound where a family live you will know that its alignment is perfect to the Mother Temple Besakih, its buildings and shrines are all made to meet the expectations of the spirit world, to appease the malevolent spirits and enrich the happiness of the benevolent. But more than that, the whole place is built in proportion to the exact body measurements of its owner!

The compound walls are measured by the distance from fingertip to fingertip of the owner with arms outstretched and the distance must be an odd number of units. A badly measured compound is “blocked” or “dead”, a correctly measured compound is “open” or “alive”!

The distance between certain buildings is measured by the length of the foot, and other parts of the buildings according to the hands, the head, and the shoulders.

But equally important, as the building progresses, very specific ceremonies have to be performed to make sure the construction and its results are pure.

So what does this all mean? It means that the Balinese, to this day, respect the spiritual world with everything they do, everything they live in, everything they build. This is something we must respect, try to understand, and try to not to disturb.

I think it may come as a shock to some foreign villa owners that they have (unwittingly) built, what to the Balinese, are complete abominations, which go against their history, their culture and their religion.

Why this is allowed to happen I honestly don’t know, I suspect it’s got a lot to do with money, but whatever the reason is, please stop. Whether it is hotel, villa, shop or mall you are building please follow all the Balinese architectural rules. They are there for a reason. One that has been tried and tested for 2000 years. 

 

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