Located in Canggu, Bali, a small community where anyone can enjoy the tranquil Balinese village life, the Kayu Aga House was designed by Indonesian architect Yoka Sara. Pastoral surroundings make the location of this exceptional home better connect to the basic life, but gives the inhabitants the comfort of living in a contemporary residence. Designed for Italian businessman Alberto Agazzi, the house was shaped as a four cornered structure, with three orthogonal sleeping pavilions – each with private garden courts and outdoor bathrooms – and a carport shaping the floor plan. Living and dining spaces are sheltered in the central two-story pavilion, above which an elevated studio and a roof garden seem to be floating. A semi-circular terrace reached via a modern oval bamboo/metal staircase rests on top of the pond adorned with simple white columns. Displaying an architecture harmonious with nature, the Kayu Aga House is shaped out of a series of curved walls and placed facing views to the east of paddy fields and beautiful sunrises.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.