Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Tropical House in Manokwari

A few days ago, I went to Kampung Ambon atas. Its an area in Manokwari city. I went there to make some pictures of an old concrete house which was constructed by the Dutch for their civil servant who worked for the Netherlands Nieuw Guinea. It is clear that it is not a typical wooden house of Arfak Mountains. This is a typical tropical house that shows how the ventilation system is installed to keep the indoor temperature as cool or fresh as possible. If we see its jalousie windows, large openings were made above them. The openings can also be seen above the doors. These openings are covered with mosquito nets to prevent the insects from entering the house and spreading the malaria to the occupants of the house. In addition, the wooden windows of the bedroom have been designed to allow air flowing in and out through the harmonica holes of the windows. The design of this house is not complicated. It can be drawn easily if someone who has been commissioned for it does his architectural works using Archicad, a BIM software that is widely used in home and building design. Read my article How to draw floor plan with archicad to learn the basics of this excellent CAD software.
This passive cooling system is effective in cooling the indoor the temperature and is also efficient. This efficient ventilation prevents the home owner of spending a lot of money on buying fans and air conditioning machines. Manokwari was a small town in West Papua. It is located closer to the equator where the day temperature is high but also with high humidity. Well designed ventilation system is vital in ensuring that the tropical house is comfortable. The Netherlands left West Papua in 1962. The houses which they built in Manokwari and other towns in West Papua are used as reference by the current Indonesian architects when they want to design and build new houses.
If we look carefully at the photograph, the roof that was installed is not made of metal sheets. It is difficult to find such roof now. Today, most of the houses in Manokwari use corrugated metal roof that is cheaper but with several disadvantageous. The corrugated metal sheet roofs can easily become very hut during the sunny weather and will be noisy during heavy rain. Although they are not comfortable during the extreme weather condition, city dwellers in Manokwari prefer to use them because they are cheaper and more durable. Of course new houses that are now being built in this city have begun to use ceramic roof tiles that are more expensive than the ordinary asbestos and corrugated metal sheets. 
Only a few wealthy families who can afford to buy them because such construction materials are still imported from big cities in Java, especially Jakarta and Surabaya. When they have been locally manufactured, they will be cheaper. A little addition has been added by the occupants of this house. They made a small shade above the front door to protect the living room from receiving too much glaring sunlight in the afternoon. by Charles Roring