Preservation of the Mbaru Niang

Location: Wae Rebo Village, Flores Island, Indonesia (South-East Asia)
Architect: Rumah Asuh/Yori Antar, Tangerang, Indonesia
Client: Wae Rebo Community
Completed: 2011
Design: 2008
Site size: 6,500 m²

Structural framework of the Mbaru Niang conical houses.
Structural framework of the Mbaru Niang conical houses.

“Conical houses of ‘worok’ wood and bamboo in tied-together rattan construction with thatched roofs are the archetypal buildings of this remote island village. A group of young Indonesian architects in the habit of touring a part of Indonesia each year arrived to find four of the last surviving examples of these houses, two of which 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. In this a 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.”

Aga Khan Development Network

1 thought on “Preservation of the Mbaru Niang”

  1. Lots of people want to know the cost per square foot. These homes were made entirely of local natural materials. Like many other types of indigenous architecture — tipis, log cabins, adobe houses and so on, the building materials are free. The cost nowadays is labor and any modern features you decide to add, such as bathroom and kitchen fixtures, windows, electrical, etc. Provide your own labor (build it yourself) and the cost of a natural home can be extremely low. It’s key though to build in areas with few or no building codes or the savings vanish due to excessive building codes and regulations.

    Here’s the link again to our blog post about How Much Will My Home Cost:


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