Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Balinese house compound and Batak house compound

In general, Balinese house compound basically is more assemble compared to Batak house. ‘The requirements of correct spatial orientation determine the layouts of house and village and dominate life: there are auspicious places to eat,cook,sleep and even have sexual intercourse, and Balinese person must lie in a certain direction to sleep.’ This is because the layout of the house itself is following based on the natural and spiritual elements. For example, the horizontal axes are mainly the important directions to locate the layout because it’s depicted between the mountains and the sea. The direction of the mountains is holy and prestigious especially from the highest and holiest volcano, Gunung Agung.

The main characteristic of Balinese house often relates to its location. For instance, ‘Kaja means upstream, or towards the mountain, kelod downstream or towards the sea.Kangin(east) and kauh(west) are also vital for them. The direction of kaja and kelod varies according to a village’s location.Kaja is the south in north Bali,but to north in south Bali.’ Consequently,the design of Balinese house is done by architecst ‘ (undagi) who create and work following the old manual and manuscript called Asta Kosala Kosali.’ ‘With regard to the vertical dimension, the three-dimensional or the physical realization of any architectural building must follow the concept if tri annga,i.e. the structure must contain head( roof),body (walls and space), and feet(building foundation),representing the religious values of “high,pure” or utama, “middle” or madia and “low” or nista.’

The Balinese house is made up by space hierarchy. For example, ‘the place for the worship of the gods is located at the highest space hierarchy which is located at north-east.’ It is also known as the head (ulu). Furthermore, the adjacent south-east corner is considered to be the abode of evil and is always left empty.The entrance is facing to the auspicious south-west. Next, the granary(lumbung) and the kitchen( paon) are placed in the south-west corner also known as the feet (teben). ‘An important feature of compound house design is the communal outdoor space (natah) –a connection between the indoor and outdoor space-in the middle of the compound, the dweller’s centre of orientation.’

Besides, the open pavilion (bale) is one of the important spaces in Balinese house. It’s distinguished from one another by the number of pillars (sasaka). ‘There are three distinct sleeping quarters in Balinese house.For example, the bale duah (guest’s room),the menten bandung (the room for parents, grandparents and unmarried girls) and the bale danging (the adults quarters).The bale danging is used to celebrate such important rites of passage as wedding and tooth-filing.’ Moreover, the rice barn is the only building that rose on piles. Normally, the piles are topped with large wooden disc below the main body of the granary to prevent rats and mice. Indeed, the buildings used stone, unfired bricks,woods,bamboo and grasses for the materials.

However, the layout of the Batak Toba house is different compare to Balinese house. There are basically 3 types of building customarily in the layout which are the house (rumah), rice granaries (sopo) and assembly houses (bale). ‘The Batak house compound normally is originated in groups of ten or less which constitutes a small villages.’ It is located side by side with their front gables facing the village street. Other than that, the houses are erected close together as the detention from war .Since the house is located near to the lake, much of the area is wet. In regard, the Batak place their buildings on stilts to avoid flooding and dampness.

The main layout of the Batak house is prepared vertically into three distinct zones. The lower zone is the area beneath the house raised on piers is functioned as a work area and as an open-air pen for animals. The next zone is the floor of the house .It is a living area where as many as four different families crowded together. ‘Ladders were once used to access the living area from the ground, so that in times of war the ladder could be quickly retracted and the opening sealed.’ .Moreover, the highest of the house is the upper storey, which extends about 1/3 of the depth in from the front of the house which stored a family valuables and ancestral shrines.

Furthermore, the other important structure in Toba Batak is the rice granary called sopo bolon. ‘A typical village consists of a row of houses flanking a corresponding number of small rice granaries, one for each house.’ The rice granary belonging to each house would stand opposite it to create a sense o f complementary and harmonious. ‘The sopo bolon has a similar platform as a meeting place,and also a place where young unmarried men would sleep at night’ .The decorations are basically old and mellowed with the impressive proportions. On the other hands, ‘between the two rows of buildings run a street called an "alaman" to serve as a working area and also a place for drying out rice in the hot sun. Indeed, the Batak house also used natural materials like bamboo, sugar palm, coconut and wood to erect the building.

In conclusion, the interpretations from above therefore have rounded up with an explanation to show how Balinese house compound differentiate between the other house layouts for example, the Batak house. Indeed, those layouts really give the most remarkable and spectacular vernacular building to the world.

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