How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture


Glistening ocean-fronts, warm beaches, and perpetual sunshine. These are just a few of the components that make for the perfect, tranquil setting. Aside from these natural elements, what architectural components serve to complete the experience?

Tropical Modernism is known for its wide, open spaces, increased ventilation, a focus on local resources, and building materials with cooling factors. The trend is a clear relative of the highly popular style of Modernism, but where did it derive from?

Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Manning Bawa was one of the first to explore Modernism and effectively apply it with a focus on cultural connotations of the respective location he was designing in. As a result of his insight, Tropical Modernism emerged, demonstrating that surrounding cultural notions could dictate a certain architectural style. 

Adhering to the traditional understanding of the area at hand, Bawa found he could also successfully integrate a sense of structural innovation, a fundamental ingredient to Modernism. 

Here is a look at six structures with impeccable Tropical Modernism design.

Casa Tropical

How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture

Casa Tropical, designed by Camarim Architects

Located in a fishing village in Ceara, Brazil, this summer spot has the best of both worlds as it entertains the wet and dry seasons. Designed by Camarim Architects, it manifests functionality and innovation. The hotel's suspended roof shields from the harsh rays of the sun while also allowing for a comfortable warmth to permeate through the walls. The village reaches extreme temperatures, but Casa Tropical's ventilation system alleviates the need for central air conditioning.

See more photos of Casa Tropical

Jeda Villa

How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture

Jeda Villa, designed by Bart Speelman

If Brazil isn't your forte, the Jeda Villa Bali Resort in Pemuteran, Indonesia, just might be. With a plethora of open spaces and a gorgeous, thatched roof, this resort emanates a sense of relaxation. To combat Bali's signature humidity, this structure's stone floors, high ceilings, and roller blinds acting as walls, help establish a cool breeze within the resort. 

See more photos of Jeda Villa.

LT House

How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture

LT House, designed by Tropical Space

Traditional Vietnamese materials combined with cutting-edge design, makes for an extraordinary place to ditch your responsibilities (at least for a little while). Baked bricks are the staple resource poured into this structure with glass placed between as a preemptive measure to keep any creatures out. Natural light and tons of cool air are always welcome as a result of the open design by Tropical Space

See more photos of LT House.

The Manta Resort

How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture

The Manta Resort, designed by Genberd Art Ltd.

Pemba Island, in the United Republic of Tanzania, is home to a stunning underwater room. Genberd Art Ltd. is the architecture group responsible for the ingenious design that allows for the viewing of rich marine life and endless miles of crystal blue waters. The extraordinary glass structure is complete with a double bed and other amenities for a singular sleeping experience. 

See more photos of The Manta Resort.

Residencia Paranal

How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture

Residencia Paranal, designed by Auer Weber

Located in the driest desert in the world, Atacama Desert, Chile, Residencia Paranal is unique in that it was built as an artificial oasis, integrating modern architectural style. The structure consists of 120 rooms, a wellness center, swimming pool, and multiple lounges. Escaping from the heat is never an issue here with four levels of complex infrastructure and views extending to the Pacific Ocean. 

See more photos of Residencia Paranal.

Colectivo Urbano

How Tropical Modernism Is Making Its Mark on Architecture

Colectivo Urbano, designed by Colectivo Urbano

If you're on the search for a pool with a truly exquisite layout, Sinaloa, Mexico, might be the place for you as it is home to the gorgeous Colectivo Urbano, which sits on a historical landmark. In addition to its heartening history, this pool encompasses many sustainable features including a newly added spiral water slide that provides safe interaction with the tidal waters. The area was abandoned following a hurricane in 1954, but was revitalized with the assistance of five socially conscious architecture firms in 2015. 

See more photos of Colectivo Urbano

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Comments (1)

Deshan, Student • 2018

Hi there , im a University of Houston undergrad in the Interior Architecture department. Im currently writing a thesis paper over tropical modernism, i was wondering if you have gathered any extra information that you might like to share over this topic. Thanks , let me know!