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Ch. Gantini, J. Prijotomo, Y. Saliya. ‘Gerenceng bale banjar adat’: change and continuity in Balinese architecture. International
Journal of Academic Research Part A; 2014; 6(1), 143-148. DOI: 10.7813/2075-4124.2014/6-1/A.19
Library of Congress Class ification: NA1-9428, NA2695-2793
‘GERENCENG BALE BANJAR ADAT’: CHANGE AND
CONTINUITY IN BALINESE ARCHITECTURE
Christina Gantini1,2, Josef Prijotomo3, Yuswadi Saliya4
1School of Architecture, Planning and Policy Development, Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Bandung,
2Department of Architecture, Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung,
3Department of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Planing Faculty,
Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) Surabaya,
4Department of Architecture, Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung (INDONESIA)
E-mails: cgantini@yahoo.com, jospri@indo.net.id, yewe1506@gmail.com
DOI: 10.7813/2075-4124.2014/6-1/A.19
Received: 30 May, 2013
Accepted: 25 Dec, 2013
ABSTRACT
Bale banjar adat (traditional community hall) in Bali is an important public building complex for Balinese
societies which functions as a social and cultural identity. This building complex also functions as the place where
the community holds public activities and assembly meetings. The complex of bale banjar adat comprises several
buildings with different functions and forms. The focus of this study is to understand the change and continuity of
the sites, tectonics and use aspects of bale banjar adat as well as bale komunal (communal pavilion), the biggest
and the most important building in the architecture of bale banjar adat located in Gerenceng, Bali. This focus is
line with the goals of this study are: a) to identify any physical changes that have occurred in the community hall
and communal pavilion during the time; and b) to see what aspects of the hall have been preserved. Field
observation methods, such as, visual observation and documents study were used. Results showed that changes
have occurred in three aspects, i.e. the building location/placement, tectonics, and usage. This study does not
only provide us information about what parts of the hall have been altered or conserved but also the factors
affecting them. The analysis of the development of Gerenceng bale banjar adat and bale komunal’s appearance
would bring useful information regarding Balinese architecture progression of the structure.
Key words: traditional community hall, communal pavilion, architecture, Bali, change, continuity
1. INTRODUCTION
Bale banjar adat (traditional community hall) is one of the traditional public buildings in Bali. It comprises
traditional compound buildings, such as bale komunal (communal pavilion), bale kulkul (large tower-like structure
containing wooden signal drum), bale upacara (sacred ceremonial hall), Pura (temple) Penyarikan, bale
pawaregan (dining hall), and sometimes there are additional buildings of banjar dinas (goverment unit community
hall) and jineng (rice granary). Specifically, bale banjar adat is used by the Balinese as a public building to hold
the village democratic discussion; mutual aid activities to establish or repair a building;the village public activities
of happiness, such as wedding ceremonies and rituals, as well as grief or death related occasions [1].
Bale banjar adat is believed to have first appeared around the 17th century during the era of Gelgel
Kingdom [2], while the one in Denpasar appeared around the 1800 during the era of Badung Kingdom [3]. In the
old time of the Badung King’s reign, when a noble was instructed by the king to build a fortress around the
kingdom, he would go to where he was stationed and build a puri (palace) and a residential area around the new
puri for his army and housekeepers. Then, bale banjar (community hall) was built there as a public building and
was usually located at the center of that residential area [4].
Ever since its first appearance, bale banjar adat has experienced major changes in its aspects and
functions as well as undergone physical development in some parts of the buildings. These changes were the
results of the influx of modernization, development of tourism, and globalization. Initially, bale banjar adat
consisted of only a traditional building: a communal hall (bale komunal) and a large tower-like structure containing
a wooden signal drum (bale kulkul). With the times changing, bale banjar adat has developed into other types of
buildings, such as, kelian dinas office, paon, bale upacara, and Pura Penyarikan, and bale pewaregan. Despite
the many changes that have occurred in bale banjar adat around Bali, there has been very few studies conducted
to analyze the transformation. It is important to study bale banjar adat in order to reexamine the history of
Balinese traditional architecture. For this study, bale banjar adat located in Gerenceng, Bali, was used as the
object of study focusing on bale komunal, the biggest building in the complex. Bale komunal was also analyzed to
recognize any structural differences in its visual appearance aspects that have developed over the years—from a
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traditional form into a glamorous modern building - and to evaluate which specific areas of the building have been
well-maintained. This study can be used for future generations as a source of knowledge about traditional
Balinese architecture as well as a media to conserve and preserve the historical knowledge and Balinese
traditional architecture.
2. MATERIALS AND METHODS
The main focus of this study is the Gerenceng bale banjar adat and bale komunal. Other buildings in the
complex area will also be discussed in relation to the factors connected to the bale komunal. Data and information
for this study were obtained from documents studied and field observations on the architecture of Gerenceng bale
banjar adat. Awig-awig (the basic regulation) of Gerenceng banjar adat (traditional community) and literatures
about Balinese traditional architecture were used as reference.
Gerenceng bale banjar adat was chosen as the study object due to: a) its relevance to Puri Gerenceng
and Puri Pemecutan (remains of Badung Kingdom); b) its importance as one of the old banjar adat; c) its location
at the historical corridor route of central Denpasar city, i.e. in the corridor routes of Puri Pemecutan Puri
Denpasar – Puri Satria; d) its location near one of the entrance gates of Denpasar City, thus the potential as the
city landmardk; f) its image as a 2006 renovation work of AA Yoka Sara, an international well known local
architect.
There are three aspects of the bale banjar adat architecture analyzed in this study. The first aspect is the
location of the communal pavillion over time in regards to the nawasanga (Balinese traditional nine square grid
ordering principle). The second aspect is that the building tectonics of the communal pavillion can be viewed from
the tri angga traditional rule. The last is its use aspect to accommodate activities that happen there over time. In
this study, we focus more on the review of the building tectonic aspect.
The data analysis was conducted in two steps. Firstly, we did a literature study of Balinese traditional
architecture and identified the normative rules related to the existence of bale banjar adat using the normative
critique method. [5] Secondly, we conducted an in-depth study on the communal pavillion in the Gerenceng bale
banjar adat using a descriptive critique method [5].
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Based on the field observation and the study of historical documents, the Gerenceng bale banjar adat has
experienced several changes. It was first built in 1850, consisting of only a communal pavillion with twelve pillars
(bale sakaroras) and a tower (bale kulkul). From 1850 until now, new buildings, including a temple, rice granary,
dining hall, kitchen, and offices, have been added. In addition, the communal pavillion form also changed from a
bale sakaroras to a modern communal pavillion (figure 1).
Year 1850 - 1921 Year 1922 – 1951 Year 1952 - 2005 Year 2006 - now
Fig
.
1.
Communal pavilion in Gerenceng bale banjar adat over time
Change and continuity of site and context of the communal pavilion architecture
During the time, the change and continuity of the layout aspect of the communal pavilion on site [6,7] was
analyzed using Balinese traditional architecture rule called nawasanga (Balinese traditional nine square grid
ordering principle).
Based on the principle of nawangsanga, a communal pavilion should be located in madyaningutama (MU)
zone, madyaningmadya (MM) zone and utamaningmadya (UM) zone (figure 2.a). Between 1850 and 1921, a
communal hall in the form of bale sakaroras was built in nistaningmadya (NM) zone (figure 2.b). Between 1922
and 1923, a tower (bale kulkul) which was first built in nistaningnista (NN) zone was relocated westward and was
placed completely outside of the nawasanga zones (figure 2.c). In this era, the origin of Penyarikan temple was
also built. During1924-1952, bale sakaroras (a twelve-post structure pavilion) which initially functioned as a
communal hall was then altered to be a sacred ceremonial hall (bale upacara), whereas the communal hall which
at first functioned as bale sakaroras was later transformed into two elongated buildings (bale lantang kembar)
(figure 2.d). This new form of the communal hall was bigger and was built in the MM zone, madyaningnista (MN)
zone, NM zone, and NN zone. In addition to this, a dining hall (bale pewaregan) consisting of a kitchen (paon),
bale dauh (multi-purpose building for daily activities), and a rice granary (jineng) were also built during this era to
fulfill the growing need of the villagers. Bale lantang kembar functioning as bale komunal was built in MM zone,
MN zone, NM zone dan NN zone. Since 1952 until now, the latter zone is still used and the communal pavilion
has been renovated twice. The first renovation was conducted in 1952 where it was transformed into a modern
building with only one story. The second renovation of the communal pavilion was conducted on a large scale in
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2005, but it still maintained the Balinese traditional style. In 1952, an office building (bale banjar dinas) was built,
and in 2006, the rice granary was relocated to the second floor of the office building. The rice granary is no longer
used to store rice but is still considered as a sacred dwelling place of Dewi Sri, the rice goddess of the Balinese
people.
The placement of
communal pavilion
according to nawasanga
Bale komunal sakaroras
,
year 1850 – 1921
Bale komunal sakaroras
,
year
1922 – 1923
Bale lantang kembar,
year
1924 – 1951
Modern communal pavillion between
1952 – until now
Fi
g
.
2.
Nawasanga and the placement of the communal pavillion in
Gerenceng bale banjar adat over time
Field observation showed that there have been changes in the placement of the communal pavilion over
time which never really followed the principal of nawangsanga. This phenomenon showed that nawasangawas
not always followed.
Change and continuity of the building tectonics of the communal pavilion
The tri angga concept was used as a parameter to see if there was a change in the building tectonics of
the communal pavilion architecture in the Gerenceng bale banjar adat. It is a concept of the traditional Balinese
architecture where the building was vertically divided into three parts; the head (roof), body (pillars or walls), and
foot (foundation) [6]. There are four aspects of the communal pavilion architecture that refer to the tri angga
concept, which are a) human scale proportion; b) clarity of structure; d) truth of material; and e) ornamentations
[6,7].
a. Human scale proportion. In traditional Balinese architecture, the scale and measurement used when
erecting a building is based on a human body scale of the building owner. In the communal pavilion in the
Gerenceng bale banjar adat, the use of a human body as a proportion scale could only be seen in the form of
bale sakaroras that was built in the 1850. A modern communal pavilion no longer uses this kind of measurement,
but applies a metric system, instead. Even though bale komunal sakaroras used the tri angga system of
measurement, there was no clear and accurate data available about whose body was used as a standard.
However, as Balinese people tend to use the body proportion of the owner of a building/land as the scale of the
construction, it is assumed that the bale sakaroras in Gerenceng bale banjar adat used the body size of Anak
Agung Ketut Gede from Puri Gerenceng as the standard of scale and measurement since he was the first person
to build the Gereceng bale banjar adat.
The implementation of the human scale on bale komunal sakaroras could be seen in the head part of the
building, which was represented on the roof supporting structure part of the sawhorse. Its size was half the width
of the building. The width of the building was taken from the measurement of the pillars’ length which was 19 rai +
pengurip (rai means the width of the pillars; pengurip means additional length taken from the anatomy of human
body, to symbolize cosmization or eternal movement and to give a breath of life). On the foot part of the building,
the human scale was applied to the elevation part of the building and staircases, according to the size of the
owner’s fingers.
b. Clarity of structure. Clarity of structure of the Balinese traditional architecture is divided into 3 (three)
categories, i.e. a) the structure categorized as clear structure, i.e. both construction and other structures clearly
show the partition between structural and non-structural components; b) the structure categorized as slightly clear
structure, i.e. a structure which is noticeable but has unclear parts, comprising mixed structures of the Balinese
traditional and non-traditional structures; c) the structure categorized as unclear structure, i.e. overall the
structural parts of the building were covered or merged with the non-structural, making them unnoticeable. This
also includes noticeable structures that do not apply aesthetic finishing, for example, the unfinished sawhorse
structures that do not have ceilings. Usually this kind of structure is non-traditional. The observation of the
structure clarity is shown in figure 3. Table 1 depicts that the structure clarity in the communal pavilion has greatly
changed from the beginning until now; from a traditional construction structure to a mixture of traditional and
modern construction structures. This change was represented in all parts of the building, i.e. foot (foundation),
body, and head part (roof).
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Pavilion for ceremony, previously
functioned as bale komunal sakaroras
The application of
petaka/dedeleg,
pemucu and pemade structure in
its roof construction
Building pillars from
wooden materials
Bebaturan
construction
at present
Modern communal pavilion Lotus flower-like sawhorse structure,
two-level roof with exposed wooden
sawhorse materials
Building pillars from reinforced
concrete (covered by scrubbed
red bricks)
B
ebaturan
construction
is not present
Fig
.
3.
Clarity of structure of ceremonial pavilion (previously sakaroras communal pavilion)
and clarity of structure of modern bale komunal
Table 1. Clarity of structure of communal pavilion at the traditional community hall in Gerenceng
Tri Angga
Concept
Sakaroras Communal Pavilion
(1850 – 1923)
Lantang
Kembar
C
o
m
munal
Pavilion
(1924 – 1951)
Modern Communal Pavilion
(1952 – present)
Foot Concept Traditional foundation construction
from pedestal and stone materials
Traditional foundation construction
from pedestal and stone materials
Modern foundation construction
made of river stone and concrete
Body concept
Traditional column-beam-wall
construction made of wooden
material
Traditional column-beam-wall
construction made of wooden
material
Column-beam-mixed wall
construction made of reinforced
concrete material and finished with
emery red bricks
Head concept Traditional roof construction from
wooden material
Traditional roof construction from
wooden material
Mixed roof construction with exposed
wooden material, steel and concrete
d. Truth of material. Natural material concept is an application of local materials with its final form still
expressing its natural texture and color. The final finishing should keep the naturalness of its original material
characters. Concrete painted in wood color or texture, for example, does not belong in this concept.
The observation of the truth of material application in Gerenceng traditional community hall is shown in
table 2 below, which describes the use of natural materials, artificial materials as well as a mixture of natural and
artificial materials, which have been used in the communal pavilion during the period of 1850 until present time.
Table 2.Truth of Material in the communal pavilionat the Gerenceng traditional community hall
Tri Angga
concept
Sakaroras Communal pavilion
(1850 – 1923)
Lantang Kembar
Communal
pavilion
(1924 – 1951)
Modern Communal pavilion
(1952 – present)
Foot concept Natural Materials: pedestal,
stone, soil
Natural Materials: pedestal,
stone, soil Artificial materials: ceramics
Body concept Natural Materials: Wood Natural Materials: Wood
Natural Materials: scrubbed red bricks
Artificial materials: Plaster, Iron railing,
Wall paint, Wood paint
Head concept Natural Materials: wood,
bladygrass Natural Materials: wood, bladygrass Artificial materials: Roof tile, Glass, Bronze
Table 2 shows that the materials of the foot and head parts have changed from natural to artificial modern
materials. This change has also been applied to the materials of the building’s body parts with some natural
materials still in place.
e. Ornamentation. In general, ornamentation in the Balinese traditional architecture can be divided into
two main categories, i.e. a) building ornaments, which are integral parts of the building construction
ornamentation. They serve as the construction finishing elements that are integrated with the construction
performance as a whole; b) building decoration which includes ornamentation components installed in
architecture components, but are not an integral part of the construction, rather it functions only as
aesthetic/decorating elements that can be reinstalled or uninstalled without affecting the construction’s shape
[8,9,10]. The observation results of the ornamentation at the traditional community hall of Gerenceng is shown in
the table below, describing: a) floral ornamentation (pepatraan); b) faunal ornamentation (kekarangan); c)
geometric floral and faunal ornamentation (lelengisan); d) brick tectonics or other organic rocks used as lines and
plane on the walls and wall base of the column (pepalihan); e) faunal statue ornamentation (patung); f)
geometrical ornamentation.
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Table 3. Ornamentation in communal pavilion at the Gerenceng traditional community hall
Pavilion
Ornamentation
P
epatraan
K
ekarangan
Statue
L
elengisan
P
epalihan
Geometr
y
Sakaroras
Communal Pavilion
(1850 – 1923)
Decorated - Ornamentation - Decorated -
Lantang Kembar
Communal Pavilion
(1924 – 1951)
Decorated - Ornamentation - Decorated -
Modern Communal
Pavilion(1952 –
present)
Decorated - - Decorated Decorated Ornamentation
Richly sculptured shape
Transition
silhouette Geometrical shape
Visual Object Conceptual Object
Table 3 shows that there has been a change in the application of ornamentation, both in the old and
modern communal pavilion. In both old communal pavilions, sakaroras communal pavilion and lantang kembar
communal pavilion, decoration elements are applied as pepatraan and pepalihan; whereas ornamentation
elements are applied on statues in the form of tugeh roof (the short support parts of the traditional roof structure).
There is no application of statues in the modern decorated communal pavilion, instead, lelengisan and pepalihan
are used as decorating elements in almost all parts of the building. Meanwhile, a new ornamentation variety of
geometrical shapes are applied in building pillars and have become assimilated with the pillar shape.
Change and continuity of the communal pavilion function
The change and continuity of the building’s function was analyzed by using observation data of activities
conducted at the traditional community hall of Gerenceng (table 4).
Table 4.The function of the pavilion in Gerenceng traditional community hall
Period
Building
function
1850 - 1921 1922 - 1923 1924 - 1951 1952 - 2005 2006 - Present
Main Building Venue for conducting joy and pain events, including death ceremonies ; communal discussion; and information
center
Supporting Building
Center of religious activities
Rice granary of
Banjar
Place for food preparation for comm unal activities
Official activities
Additional Building
Place for Bazaar
Space for
voluntary associati on
activities
Space for governmental
activities
Space for commercial
activities of Banjar
From the field observation and literature study, it was found that throughout the time bale komunal has
been a center for information and accommodating similar activities, including democratic activities. In addition to
its main usage, this building also functions as a multi-purpose place for preparing traditional events to be held at
Penyarikan temple, and as a place for other communal activities, such as routine assembly meetings, for children
to practice dancing, and for the village housewives to practice the Balinese musical instrument of gamelan.
4. CONCLUSION
In terms of change and continuity in site and context of the communal pavilion architecture, it was found
that from the beginning the banjar pavilion was built, builders had not obeyed the principles of nawasanga
(Balinese traditional nine square grid ordering principle) for positioning the traditional community hall at
nawasanga area. Regarding the tectonics of communal pavilion architecture, several findings were found
including: 1) Measurement and calculation of the building’s scale in sakaroras communal pavilion was based on
the body proportion of the building’s owner, but this method has no longer been applied in the modern communal
pavilions, and was replaced by a metrical measurement system during its construction; 2) The structure clarity of
sakaroras communal pavilion has changed from a traditional construction structure into a version made from a
mixture of modern-traditional; 3) There were changes in the use of building materials, i.e. a) natural materials
were replaced by artificial and/or a mixture of both were used; b) Some natural materials, such as scrubbed red
bricks and wood, are still in continuous application until now; 4) Related to the ornamentation, some findings
revealed that: a) the ornamentation of pepatraan, kekarangan and statues are used as visual objects, whereas
the use of the ornamentation of lelengisan, pepalihan and geometrical shapes are integrated as building
conceptual objects; b) Throughout the time, both ornaments and decorations have been used in both old and new
communal pavilions.
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In terms of change and continuity in the use of the communal pavilion, it was found that during the time its
main function has not changed as a place for democratic activities and information center, as well as for various
activities suka-duka and patus.( joy and pain, including death ceremonies).
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Article
As a defining feature of the architecture of C. R. Cockerell (1788–1863) in an age dominated by historicism, his classical allegiance remains secondary to his conception of ornaments in his attempts to balance the reciprocity of history and human inventiveness. According to Cockerell, ornaments compounded representative and communicative rôles. This dual consideration of ornaments can be traced to two prevailing analogies: the book metaphor and the language metaphor. The analogy between architecture and the book primarily concerned the representative rôle of architecture as a bearer of meaning. In the age of printing, this comparison also brought issues of legibility and accessibility to the fore.In the face of the fast and far-reaching dissemination of books, Cockerell adopted a kinetic approach to architectural legibility. Searching a contemporary language that preserved the rôle of architecture as a cultural signifier, Cockerell attempted to democratise traditional symbolism by emphasising participatory movement and the rôle of immediate experience. Interested in ornaments that successfully communicated their expressive content to a wide audience, he reformulated the rhetorician's distinction between res and verba and approached ornament as life-bearing elements that effectively activated architecture. Studying Cockerell's approach to ornament as it emerged in his Royal Academy lectures and his architecture, the present paper reveals a two-hundred-year-old conception of architecture as action.
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