This is the third in an ongoing series in which we look at how spatial design is helping the travel industry create a more socially and environmentally conscious form of tourism.

One of the main barriers to building viable hospitality projects in remote locations is access. Transporting machinery, materials and manpower makes such interventions prohibitively expensive and ecologically invasive. The solution? Build off site. While prefabrication has traditionally been the focus of the residential sector, it’s playing an increasing role in hospitality’s aspirations to move off-grid. 

Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier’s new venture, Stilt Studios, is based precisely on this concept. The business develops prefabricated units that can be inserted into the wilderness on raised supports that ensure the minimum of impact on the terrain. They are also designed to be easily relocatable. Local market conditions were key to the genesis of the concept. The prevalence of short-term leasehold plots means buildings often have a limited lifespan, which requires economically and ecologically unsustainable cycles of demolition and rebuilding. Being a top destination, Bali is also feeling the pressure of overtourism. There’s an urgent need to find ways to encourage visitors to stay in some of its less well-known island communities.

Header and top: Stilt Studios, a business initiative of Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier, develops prefabricated and easily relocatable units that can be inserted into the wilderness on raised supports, thus ensuring minimal impact on the terrain. Photo: Courtesy of Stilt Studios | Bottom: Tiny-home start-up Baumbau tasked Austrian Studio Precht to design a modular accommodation system. The resulting kit of tubular parts, called Bert, can be used to create modern treehouses in branchlike formations. Photo: Courtesy of Studio Precht

Sustainability drives many of the central design decision for the units, with Stilt Studios planning to use predominantly cross-laminated timber construction. They will also benefit from cross ventilation, rainwater harvesting and solar panel arrays.

What Stilt Studio hopes to do for Bali’s coastline, start-up Baumbau aims to do for Europe’s forests. The tiny-home manufacturer has recently released plans for modular accommodation system called Bert, designed by Austrian architect Studio Precht. These modern treehouses are based on a kit of tubular parts that – integrating bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and social spaces – accommodates guests’ any needs. Arranged in branch-like formations, the kit’s parts weave around trees without imposing on the surrounding environment.

‘We believe that the future of tourism is not in large hotels and mass tourism, but rather in special buildings that offer a unique experience. With Bert, we cater to the people who seek adventure, nature and inspiration,’ says Rudolf Obauer, CEO of Baumbau.


This series was originally featured in our May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134. Get your copy here.