Monday, April 18, 2011

Wooden houses in Senopi

Wood as house construction material is still abundant in West Papua especially in District Senopi. From church, to villagers homes and from school to priest house, most of them were built with wood. The most popular tree for home building in District Senopi is Kayu Besi and Kayu Matoa. In the past, when chain saw and wood working machinery had not entered Senopi village, the indigenous Papuan built their traditional homes that were called rumah kaki seribu manually. The walls of these houses were made of barks whereas the floors were made of bamboo. For the roofs, they used thatched palm leaves. Today, we cannot not see that kind of rumah kaki seribu anymore. Most of the timber houses have been constructed from wooden blocks and panels that were cut using chain saw and other wood working tools.
The windows that we do not see in the traditional kaki seribu house design have been installed in the modern timber houses in Senopi. Many households in Senopi receive solar panels from the government as power resource for their radios and lamps. Unfortunately, the quality of these panels is low. Many of them cannot produce enough electricity anymore.
Although the houses are now using panels and blocks cut from big tree, their designs are not the same as the wooden houses that we usually see in Manokwari city. Most of the wooden houses in the city have floors made directly on the ground. Floors of Senopi houses are still around 1 meter above the ground adopting the traditional style of Rumah Kaki Seribu. The space under the floor allows air to flow freely and provides natural cooling for the house.  Wooden house is relatively an eco-friendly home. In addition, the empty space is mostly allocated for animals such as pigs, and chickens. So, it is not surprising if we hardly ever see any pigpens in Senopi. by Charles Roring
Also read: wooden house and alleyway of Kyoto
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