Using such natural materials as thatch roofing, bamboo poles, woven bamboo, coconut wood, mud and stone they are organic statements in complete harmony with the environment. Many of these are temporary such as the offering houses set up before harvest in the rice fields.
Others use trees that will actually keep on growing as the bamboo rots and returns to the mother earth. The Balinese have always been particularly adept using the bamboo and behind every Balinese house one can find at least one stand of bamboo.
The introduction of cement and other modern materials and the rapid growth of hotels, galleries and new homes have produced mixed results. The opulence and ornamentation of many new hotels are often breath taking. Nowhere else in the world would such woodcarvings and stone work be possible.
Still the line between kitsch and a good taste is narrow and too often people have failed to appreciate the essence of Balinese architecture that in many cases has become an amazing parody of itself.
One hopes that in the future more attention will be paid to resorts like the Amandari and Four Seasons Resort in Jimbaran, who have modified traditional Balinese architecture without tainting its integrity.
For those truly interested in Balinese architecture, a visit to the Bali Museum in Denpasar is a must. There you will not only find many old traditional buildings but also information as to the local styles, of which there are many.
Also if you would like to take a piece of tradition back with you there are numerous traditional rice barns, the original knock down building, available for sale for extremely reasonable prices.
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