Vernacular SEA (South East Asia) - Major Elements and Technology

This post will give you an overview of the major elements and component considered in the study of vernacular architecture. Some of the parameters are listed below and the same are considered for reviewing indigenous responsive and resilient architectural features in the upcoming posts; (Review 1 - Tongkonan). 


  • Materials - Use of locally available materials Well adapted to local environment
  • Joining, pegging, wedging/binding and mortising most significant in roof construction
  • The superstructure mainly consists of prefabricated screens attached to structural components.
  • Post/Columns are used as load bearing components.

  • Wall - Not a priority instead screens are used. Non load bearing walls
  • Wood - Hardwood (Teak, Cengal) is used. Bamboo is also used for temporary buildings
  • Roofing - Palm leaf and grass thatching
  • Foundation - Raised platform. Varies across region; Some are built directly on ground. Low pile foundations are used in west Java. Raised floor is effectively used in Thailand.

Components/Region; Example.

Toba Batak Village - Indonesia
Saddle backed roof

Extended ridge and
sloping gable

Toba House
North Sumatra - Indonesia
(Batak Architecture)
Saddle backed roof
Different variations
Karo batak
North Sumatra
Tana Toraja South Sulawesi, Indonesia
Stand on high piles
Traditional Torajan ancestral houses.

Layered split bamboo
Curved arc shape.
Tongkonan means ‘to sit’.
Tongkonan Layuk, Tongkonan pekamberan.

Proprofs; Vernacular Architecture Quiz

Proprofs; Vernacular Architecture Quiz
Lets try this quiz below

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