Alexis Dornier designs Birdhouses resort in Bali to “blend into nature”

Guesthouse at Birdhouses resort in Bali

Architect Alexis Dornier has completed a trio of stilted structures in a rainforest in Bali, which feature cantilevered living spaces and balconies that look out to the treetops.

German-born architect Dornier, who moved his studio to Bali in 2013, designed the accommodation for the Birdhouses resort that he founded with a group of friends.

Courtyard of the Birdhouses resort in Bali
Alexis Dornier has created a resort in a rainforest in Bali

The resort is situated in the village of Mas near the town of Ubud and is surrounded by rice fields and palm forest.

It is designed to accommodate up to ten people and comprises a large residence together with a guest house and studio, all arranged around a central infinity pool and decked terrace.

Stilted guesthouse in Bali
The living spaces are raised on stilt-like pillars

Each building features living spaces that are raised above the ground on stilt-like pillars.

Existing trees were retained to provide shade and privacy to the interiors, which are immersed in the canopy.

Stilted guesthouse by Alexis Dornier
Trees provide shade to the interiors

“These so-called Birdhouses blend into nature,” said Dornier.

“Their pivoting floor plans create expressive inhabitable sculptures that form exciting relationships to the outside, while being very present as memorable interpretations of the idea of a house.”

Wooden house in Bali by Alexis Dornier
The main house nestles into the sloped site

The guest house and studio flank the entrance to the site, which is situated closest to a nearby road.

A winding path leads past water features and flower beds to reach the main house that is positioned further down the sloped site overlooking a small creek.

Double-height living room with wood cladding
Wooden surfaces feature inside and out

Outdoor living areas at the base of each building are sheltered beneath angled surfaces that extend outwards from the central supporting pillars.

Entrances on this level provide access to spiral stairs housed in dedicated circulation cores that lead up to the bedrooms and living areas.

“The experience of exploring these structures is a journey through the three-dimensional, maze-like arrangement of their different spaces, all radiating out from their central vertical circulation elements into their surrounding,” the architect added.

Birdhouses’ living areas feature a variety of ceiling heights and proportions, with windows carefully positioned to make the most of views and to give the facades a heterogeneous appearance.

Double-height dining room
Some of the living spaces are double-height

Some of the living spaces are double-height, emphasising the sense of height and structural lightness. In the studio, a mezzanine bedrooms slots in beneath the roof.

Circulation areas and service spaces such as bathrooms are contained in solid, concrete-clad volumes, while the rest of the accommodation features large glazed openings and wooden surfaces both inside and outside.

Mezzanine bedroom at Birdhouse resort
The studio has a mezzanine bedroom

Skylights and integrated lighting wash the internal timber surfaces with a soft light that causes the interiors to glow like lanterns as night falls in the forest.

Birdhouses Bali is the latest project to be completed by serial entrepreneur, Dornier, whose architectural approach combines elements of tropical modernism and industrial architecture.

Bedroom at Birdhouses in Bali
Windows and balconies look out to the treetops

Dornier also partnered with his former client and friend Florian Holm to develop a system for prefabricating houses built on stilts that can be taken apart and reassembled in a different location.

Elsewhere, the architect designed a trio of tropical villas for a surfers’ retreat in the coastal region of Uluwatu and transformed a group of old apartment blocks in Ubud into a co-living complex.

The photography is by KIE.

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