The new Mandalika Intercultural School campus opened on October 18th 2023 and has since become a marquee contributing aspect to the vibrant community on the south coast of Lombok. Built on an expansive 10,000m2 in central Kuta, it is a purpose-built school designed to serve the needs of modern-day students whilst still retaining a close association with the natural surroundings, the visible rice fields and tropical hillsides from all areas of the campus create a truly special educational setting for learning.
The owners of the school worked with a school specialist architect to help them put together a progressive and sustainable campus. Their initial research on the location used was in line with EDGE environmental building practices. They looked at building orientation to allow us reduce heat gain, predominant wind directions, efficient water use, sustainable building materials and short safe access for children to travel to the school.
The campus buildings include modern classrooms, playing fields, Manta Hall (our bamboo assembly and indoor sports hall), arts, computer and science labs. The owners wanted to use indoor and outdoor learning spaces for collaboration and teaching. They also incorporated traditional Sasak architectural design at the security gate from which the children and parents must enter the school.
It is a progressive school and sustainability is one of the aspects that we have incorporated. Manta Hall is the new school’s main hall and a big part of its identity, a community wellness space and gymnasium for the campus. This beautiful piece of bamboo architecture will use locally sourced bamboo and sustainable building techniques. That being said, we have a modern building that suits the changing weather conditions of Kuta, Lombok.
The owners have diligently used the architecture as a teaching tool with ergonomic features for different age ranges, geometry and shape, scale, light and shadow, texture, material and nature all incorporated into the design. The result is a holistic learning village with a strong educational mandate that seeks to inspire students to be more curious, more engaged and more passionate about learning and the environment.
The design of the hall was built to be both functional and tell a story. The organic shape of the hall was inspired by a Giant Manta. The manta ray is one of Indonesia’s most beautiful and exotic marine creatures, capturing the heart of divers with its gentle, elegant ocean dance and unique shape. Native to the waters around Lombok the IUCN listed the reef manta as vulnerable in 2019 and the giant manta as endangered in 2020.
One last fact, mantas have huge brains — the biggest of any fish — with especially developed areas for learning, problem solving and communicating. The giant rays are playful, curious and might even recognize themselves in mirrors, a sign of self-awareness.
Lombok has long played second fiddle to the seductive wiles of its closest neighbour Bali. That may be coming to an end, as people start to get frustrated with the congestion of the major arteries in Bali and look for a more authentic island lifestyle that Kuta offers. The Mandalika project has improved the infrastructure around the town which caters for foodies, surfers, yogis and party goers in its own way. With a natural beauty and a clean environment, we have seen an explosion in luxury villas along the south coast.
The school itself is located in the middle of a rice paddy, looking at tropical forested hillsides and coconut trees. As part of the design, we have included in the campus our own orchard and mini-farm so the kids never lose their connection to nature. The fruit and vegetables that are harvested are to be used in the school canteen.
We have a very diverse community from cultures around the world. The people who live here range from local business owners to developers to crypto traders and everything in between. The local community are the friendliest people in the world. The smiles you see every day make it a pleasure to live here. The laid-back way of life is a little too infectious. We have also had amazing support from the local government with road infrastructure and support generally. The Lombok Governor – Bapak Dr. H. Zulkieflimansyah, S.E., M.Sc. – recently visited us and was so impressed to see such a progressive institution on his island.