Monday, December 14, 2009

The earthquake resistant wooden house of Minahasa enter the internet world

The traditional house of Minahasa has been recognized in Indonesia as one of the best earthquake resistant home construction that is suitable for tropical region. It looks beautiful especially when constructed in a village that is still fully decorated with flowers and green plants. In recent days, these wooden houses are increasingly being exported to other regions in the country and even abroad.

With the availability of internet connection in Woloan village, a major place where the traditional home builders can be found, traders of this earthquake resistant wooden houses try to expand their market by promoting their products on the internet. There are some websites that already offer these wooden houses. Potential buyers can choose the designs that they like based on the ones presented or can request custom designs from the housing company which are more suitable for their needs and climate condition where the houses will be erected.
The science of design and construction of Minahasan traditional wooden house has evolved over hundreds of years through trial and error of experiments that continues to improve the craftsmanship of the designers and builders. As a matter of fact, most of the wooden house design is not created by professional architect who got their expertise from college, not either by the use of Archicad home design software. Instead, the skills in designing and building of the houses have been passed on from generation to generation among the families of the house builders. Although the export of this type of wooden house is rising, there are concerns among the home builders to the availability of the raw materials.
The wooden house of Minahasa is mostly made of Cempaka, Lingua and Jati (tectona grandis) woods. Wood as home materials are getting scarce in the region. Home builders there now order planks and blocks from southern and central region of Celebes island. Some times they order wooden blocks from Kalimantan. This creates sensitive environmental issue such as illegal logging or irresponsible deforestation. This wooden house business can still survive if the local villagers are asked to plant trees that will become the housing materials after 30 years.
Timber frame houses are more resistant to earthquake. But the wood has to be properly treated to protect its fiber from direct contact with water. The application of varnish or paints on its surface will greatly protect the wood from decaying. In addition the standardization of sizes and types of wood used in the manufacture of wooden houses will ensure the safety of the houses. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of Papua