Despite still be the early days of the total US$215.5 million renovation, Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is already coming under criticism for a perceived lack of Balinese architectural elements in the proposed final layout.
Local politicians in Bali are decrying the ultra-modern finishes proposed for the new airport. claiming the final result will be a far departure from the legally mandated Bali architectural elements and end up resembling a European airport.
As reported by Radar Bali, even before the main terminal is built it appears that the airport’s management, PT Angkasa Pura I, is abandoning earlier promises to make the airport look and feel Balinese. A member of Commission III of the Bali provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), IB Pada Kesuma, told the press that he has seen the final design of the airport and is extremely disappointed. Claiming the final design is not relevant to Bali, he said: “I have seen the design of a round rood shaped like half a ball. What kind of design is this?”
Kusuma continued: “Bali design is defined by roof lines. The other design elements are far from having any Balinese feel.” The legislator said the people of Bali want the airport to have strong Balinese architectural values. What’s more, Balinese architectural values are world-renowned and form part of the natural attraction of Bali tourism. Bali has had regulations in effect since 1974 stipulating the requirement to include Balinese architectural elements in all building design. This requirement was further reinforced with the new provincial zoning law of 2009.
“With these regulations, every building, including both hotels and others forms of business, must create buildings in a Bali style or have or Bali architectural ornamentation, “ insists Kusuma. Saying the new airport must be required to reflect Bali cultural values or it risks contributing to the destruction of the island’s identity.
Kusuma wants both the regional and provincial governments of Badung and Bali to treat this matter seriously. The local legislator said local government must find the courage to issue reprimands to the Airport Authority to ensure the final building when opened has a Balinese flair. To achieve this, he has called for a re-review of the new airport’s permits if Angkasa Pura management does not relent and continues with the current non-Balinese design plan.
If the airport authority is allowed to stay with its present design, Kusuma is certain that foreign tourists arriving in Bali will have no feeling that they are arriving in Bali. “Foreign tourists to Bali what to see Bali, not a European design. Adding: “The Balinese 'feel' must appear as soon as every airplane lands at Ngurah Rai Airport. If we stay with the present design, arriving tourists will think they've landed in Europe.”
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