Conical houses of ‘worok’ wood and bamboo in tied- together rattan construction with thatched roofs are the archetypal buildings of this remote island village but they need to be constantly renovated and, at greater intervals, rebuilt. A group of young Indonesian architects in the habit of touring a part of Indonesia each year arrived to find that, in this village, two of the structures were in need of renovation. Symbols of unity in the family and the community, the houses represent a living culture; the villagers are guardians of this culture but the necessary building skills, having traditionally been handed down from generation to generation, had faded from memory. The architects initiated and facilitated a community-led revival of traditional techniques enabling all the original houses to be rebuilt. This role was opened up to include university students who both participated in and documented this architectural preservation and cultural conservation project and continue to do so annually.
Architect’s Record of Preservation of the Mbaru Niang. Courtesy of Architect (submitted to the Aga Khan Award for Architecture), 2013.
In the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the architects of projects engaged in the nomination process receive an Award documentation package which describes the standardised presentation requirements. In addition to submitting photographs, slides, and architectural drawings, architects are asked to complete a detailed Architect's Record pertaining to use, cost, environmental and climatic factors, construction materials, building schedule, and, more importantly, design concepts and each project's significance within its own context.