Change and Continuity of sao pu’u

  • YEAR
    Pandjaitan, Toga H
    2006 Conference Papers
    Human Issues


ABSTRACT: Traditional houses in the Southeast Asia can be addressed as a ‘house society’ referring
to Levi-Strauss’s concept and at the same time, by looking through Olgyay’s design approach, they
can be seen as a ‘climatic designed’ building. The Indonesian traditional houses can be recognized in
the same way. The concept of cosmology and the beliefs in ancestral or divine power are common
characteristics that mould the form with a variety of customary ceremonies to sanctify the
construction. Its climatic responsive design and the construction technology are often described in
cultural context that they lose the logical account, which is essential for future development.

Currently, the form of sao pu’u, or the traditional house of the Ngada ethnic group is found to have
transformed to a new model. It appears outwardly modern and resonate a “sense” of environmentally
healthy. This paper intends to examine whether climate, health issue, or cultural beliefs has the most
influence in the current change and whether they are closely interdependent. A field observation was
conducted with interviews and thermal measurement. The result indicates that people prefer to build
the semi-modern house because of its modernity form and economy wise.

The study concludes that the form of traditional house has always been protected from being
changed for cultural reasons, unless the change itself is culturally determined. The new transformed
sao pu’u indicates that some influences are beyond merely culture. There is also a sense or feel of
healthy environment, although it is thermally unsuitable when compare to the old traditional model.
This study is expected to encourage collaboration studies between architecture, especially building
science, with anthropology.


To top