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.
"Preservation of the Mbaru Niang.” In Architecture is Life, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi. Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers, 2013.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage excellence in architecture and other forms of intervention in the built environment of societies with a Muslim presence. The Award is given every three years and recognizes all types of building projects that affect today's built environment. Smaller projects are given equal consideration as large-scale buildings. Richly illustrated and with explanatory texts, Architecture is Life, the monograph for the 2013 cycle, presents the 15 shortlisted and the 5 Award recipients. The 2013 cycle's topic is centered around the relationship between life and architecture. Numerous essays examine how architecture interacts with the life of people who inhabit it.
Source: Lars Muller Publishers and Aga Khan Award for Architecture