About to embark on building your dream Lombok or Bali villa? Have you considered your home’s sustainability and environmental impact?
We recently sat down with Paula Huerta, Lombok resident and the architectural design brains behind Bambook Studio to get her expert insight into how to succeed in building a sustainable and eco-friendly home in the tropics.
Founded in 2014, Bambook Studio is Lombok’s leading sustainable architecture firm. Specialising in Sustainable Luxury Architectural Design and Sustainable Landscaping, Bambook has completed a number of residential and hospitality projects in Lombok, Bali and beyond.
A passionate Spaniard, driven and ambitious, it’s no surprise we covered a lot in this interview! Read on to hear Paula’s insights and tips on how to build that perfect Lombok or Bali villa that is both luxurious and sustainable, setting up a life here in beautiful Lombok and where she sees the future for this island paradise.
1. What drew you to the South Lombok region and what made you set up a life here?
After working for 7 years in Singapore first as a Designer Architect and after as a Sustainability Consultant, I felt I had to leave the big city and corporate world and move to a quieter more nature orientated area where I could help to bring sustainable knowledge to their ongoing development. I started my own sustainable consultancy in Singapore which still operates today. I then started Bambook Studio with a desire of focusing on new sustainable development mostly for luxury architecture of residential projects and eco resorts. Outside of architecture, we also provide land planning and sustainable landscaping development.
2. What advice would you give to people embarking on building their dream home in Lombok? What are some of the common pitfalls?
I find people often focus their house design on that picture-perfect view, or the infinity pool, or their living room with tropical plants in it… This is a mistake. Architecture is made to live in and to be used. Things like orientation, shade, air flow, circulation, off grid solutions, etc. are essential to guarantee comfort and quality of life within the home. If the design is not thought out properly for the location, then homes end up being concrete air-conditioned boxes. Meaning they are fully dependent on high use of electricity and do not adapt to the tropical climate at all. I would recommend people that want a house in paradise to design a house that fits paradise. Building a home like you would in an urban environment doesn’t make sense to me. And neither does it make sense to the environment.
3. Who is Bambook and what is their vision?
Bambook was born with the aim to preserve and protect as much as we can in the South East Asia Developing region (and the planet) by implementing thoughtful Environmentally Friendly Design and Sustainable Solutions.
Lombok is such a wonderful untouched paradise, and while we cannot stop development, we can contribute to design, build and teach by example, with conscious green architecture.
4. You’ve worked in a lot of different regions, what is unique about designing and building a home in Lombok?
Indonesia is not only a beautiful, natural paradise but is also home to a large and diverse cultural and art heritage. Indonesia has some of the most incredible examples of Vernacular Architecture* on the planet.
Being able to design buildings which are influenced by the local traditional architecture while keeping the highest standards of sustainable performance and western design is a dream come true. If on top of that you add the tropical climate and the huge amount of local natural materials, then we can say that this may be the best place to practise low scale, naturally crafted green architecture.
* Note: In case you’re wondering, Vernacular Architecture is an architectural style that is designed based on local needs, availability of construction materials and reflecting local tradition
5. Of all your projects, which are you most proud of and why?
My house in Lombok – Siwak House. It is made entirely of bamboo and natural materials and to me, is the dream home. The design was extremely well thought out to ensure the house has a minimum impact on the environment whilst still maintaining comfort. To do this we undertook solar studies, airflow studies, heat load calculations, etc. so that it didn’t need air conditioning nor sophisticated technology solutions to provide comfort. It is an off-grid house run entirely by Solar Power that can grow with the years and can resist wind, sun, rain, earthquakes, etc.
It was also built by local workforce with only the need of a screwdriver. Of course, at Bambook Studio we design more sophisticated and larger luxury villas such as Villa Sorgas, but Siwak House is everything we represent: small scale, only what we need, total comfort, western standards but fully sustainable. Everything has been thought of to bring minimum impact to the environment while keeping our needs fully covered.
6. Where do you see Lombok in 10 years time?
Of course we expect to see a lot more development driven by growing tourism. But my hope is that Lombok will show many excellent examples of conscious architecture making it a role model for the rest of the world. This will come down to people making the right choices when they build and thinking bigger picture.
7. What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
I have two main goals. Simply to:
Teach sustainability and practise what I preach.
To chat to Paula direct, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org