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Cahaya Health and Wellness Retreat

Advanced Studio Fall 2019

Yale School of Architecture


Patrick Bellew, Founding Director, Atelier Ten

Henry Squire, Partner, Squire and Partners

John Spence, Founder and Chairman, Karma Group

Timothy Newton​, Critic, Yale School of Architecture

Site: Gili Meno, Indonesia

Located on a remote island with limited resources and seismic activity, Cahaya is intimately connected to its ecologically diverse site. The design and program of the wellness retreat responds to Gili Meno’s three distinct environments, identified as Sea, Land, and Sky. The built interventions are tailored to each zone, and generate varied atmospheres to cultivate a deep connection between guests and the surrounding landscape. This opportunity to intimately interact with various natural habitats is unique to the property, and provides a range of tailored retreat experiences heightened by the architectural design. The Sea Village projects over the water, and opens outward to experience vast expanse of the water and enjoy the morning sunrise over the adjacent island. The Jungle Spa is nestled in the lush landscape at the heart of the retreat, emphasizing its importance to rejuvenate the body as part of the wellness journey at the resort. The multiple spa buildings are connected through a series of paths and views dictated by the existing foliage and strategic building placement to create an active sanctuary for introspection. The Sky Village is elevated to the height of the palm trees to maximize views across the entire island and simultaneously serve as a safe haven for tsunami refuge. The retreat activities and program in each village focus on the Bamboo construction is used throughout each village for material continuity, and its flexible nature is a resilient measure against future earthquakes. Cahaya cultivates a transformative wellness journey by developing a strong sense of place through the presence of nature within the built environment and retreat activities.  

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