HomeBlogs Architecture of South Sumatera Traditional House Traditional architecture is usually built according to and following the
norms inherited by their ancestors and followed by the local society.
Beside pile-houses, where living-rooms are over the ground-surface, and
the space under the houses is for keeping tools and animals, other
characteristics of the traditional building of South Sumatra (Palembang)
are the differing heights of the floors.
The part with the
highest floor at once indicates also the most important part. The house
can be observed as being divided into 3 parts, namely the front-veranda
in the front, the middle part and the rear-veranda, which are
successively functioning as follows: The front veranda for the guests
and the sons, the centre is for the parents and room for the brides or
for prominent guests, and the rear-veranda for the girls and the
The parents are the most respected persons, therefore
the highest place for them. A limasan roof covers the middle part, which
is drawn forward and backward to covering the front and the
rear-veranda, shapes the monumental form of the house. The shape formed by the extension of the roof, confirms the concept of room-hierarchy inside the building.
the traditional houses in other areas especially of the classic style,
art elements are never forgotten, particularly in religious buildings,
palaces and houses of nobles. The art elements not only function as
decoration to beautify the building, but also bear symbolic meanings.
Even social status factors are reflected inside.
Thus the case we
observed on buildings in South Sumatra which are full of wood carving
with golden colours. Chinese motives and European motives are blended in
one with traditional motives, which further gave the birth of Pelembang
Like most of the traditional buildings
in Sumatra, the traditional house or adapt-house in South Sumatra shows
characteristics of timber buildings with pole construction, i.e. house
built on poles with space under the floor.
Building material is
mostly lasting timber as the tembesu wood (Lat, Fragraca), the tenam
(Anisoptera) or the seru (Schima bancana) which are usually utilized as
mast, cross-bar, rib, frame and partition board. As roof they commonly
use bamboo or gelumpai with palm fibre layers.
Based on the shape
of the roof the traditional houses in South Sumatra are classified into
the limas an (pyramidal) – type and the tatahan (encrusted) type.
Viewed from the front, the limas an type has the shape of a pyramid. The
tatahan type has a Minangkabau-styled shape of its roof, i.e. a pointed
roof-ridge and a bent down roof-centre.
The volume and size of
the house depend on the social status of the inhabitant. This can also
be identified through the quantity of the interior decoration of the
As the case in the traditional house of Riau and Jambi,
the ground plant of the house shows some divisions. The most front is
the front-veranda introduced by the house-ladder. From the front-veranda
we enter the men’s hall (jogan) and further to the main-room
(kekijing). Behind the main0room there is the rear veranda (garang) with
the kitchen. The floor of each room differs from the others, it means
that the front part has a low floor and the main room has the highest
Of the South Sumatra’s traditional house, its interior
decoration is quite attractive. This decoration has the form of wood
carving with a so called see-through transparent carving technique
bearing plant motives as sunflower, bamboo shoot, etc.
art in a Palembang traditional house is an integration of elements of
Javanese and Chinese arts. Wood carving decoration combined with
contrast colours like gold-coating and red lac (lak).