Friday, February 17, 2012

Traditional Housing & Longhouses :: Sabah & Brunei, Borneo

It's been a busy month with travelling around Sabah, Borneo then a quick trip to the UK for my sister-in-law's wedding - and now I am on a week stopover in Dubai before continuing on our travels to the Philippines.

Travelling around Borneo was great fun and interesting to see other house styles in this tropical climate. There is a actually bit of a mix between timber stilt housing (similar to the Australian Queenslanders), new terraced and townhouse developments and traditional and new community 'Longhouses'. 

A traditional 'Longhouse' literally means a large wooden communal structure, raised on stilts (in the case of the modern ones there is parking beneath) and the home and communal dwelling to one indigenous community or extended family.

In Northern Sabah there still remains the traditional timber Longhouses, this one belongs to the Rungus community and was originally 90 doors long with each dwelling being 3 meters in width, making a 270m longhouse! 

A traditional timber longhouse
The timber and bamboo construction allows for shade all day long in the private family rooms and the communal covered area.
Massive open plan communal living areas with open wall construction to allow for cooler air flow
It is designed with slanted side walls to allow the occupants to sit comfortably without the need for modern furniture! This is quite important as the Rungus women are renown for their skills as bead weavers and sit with their legs stretched out in order to produce their handicrafts.
Slated walls for leaning against, sleeping areas and all with minimal furniture
I was also invited to a more modern Longhouse in Brunei which was similar in layout but constructed in modern materials and with car parking spaces below.
Some communal furniture
Room below for car parking
Nowadays communities favour the modern town housing developments which are still similar in layout to the traditional longhouse community, thus still allowing for extended family living.

I wonder how we would all fair if we all lived so close to our extended families? 

Have fun.

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Have fun, Lisa

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