Picture by 123rf
Malay Houses Have A Long History
Buildings in Malaysia were traditionally designed with our tropical climate in mind, until air conditioning became a necessity! Houses were built on stilts out of wood, with wood or bamboo walls, and were located in a vast complex surrounded by masses of vegetation – nature's own air-conditioning. Traditional Malay houses are built with consideration for socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental factors. It has plenty of room for expansion as families grow, as well as open spaces for hosting community members during Hari Raya and weddings, as well as a pleasant environment.
Built With a Purpose in Mind
1) Attap, or Roofing
The importance of ventilation cannot be overstated. Starting with the roof, it is covered with a light but effective thermal insulator made of palm fronds, which must be waterproof. It doesn't retain much heat throughout the day and cools down at night. The gables, or triangular part of the roof between the crossing sides, are fitted with screens to guard against severe downpours while also providing ventilation.
2) Lots of huge windows
The main feature of a kampung house are the walls, especially in the hall, are full-length windows that allow magnificent views of the surrounding environment and make it pleasant for huge meetings. The openness of these dwellings represents the actual nature of the Malay people, who are, to put it mildly, inviting and hospitable.
3) Elevated floors
Being in a tropical climate with high humidity of over 75% and having developed communities near bodies of water like rivers and coasts, it was necessary to raise the house on stilts to avoid ground moisture and flooding, which would hasten decomposition. The high flooring allowed for better ventilation through holes in the floors and walls, as well as protection from wild animals.
4) Interior with a Longer Length
Traditional Malay homes have an open plan layout that ensures ample ventilation throughout the entire house with minimum walls that would otherwise prevent air from reaching the back of the house.
5) Overhangs that can be used for a variety of purposes
Large overhangs shelter the eyes from glare and provide protection from heavy rains. This permits the windows to stay open regardless of the weather, allowing for constant ventilation throughout the house.
Picture by 123rf
What's the difference between old Malay houses and new Malay houses?
Traditional Malay houses were constructed without the use of modern architectural materials and construction processes, yet they require more upkeep than modern constructions. The tropical climate of Malaysia, as well as the presence of termites, can make it difficult to maintain a wood-based Malay home.
As a result, modern Malay houses have begun to incorporate more modern house design aspects in order to make them easier to maintain in the long run. This includes fortifying the foundation and certain areas of the house with cement blocks, as well as tightening important junctions with nails and screws to make them more robust in the long run.