The Rumah Gadang: Big House

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The Rumah Gadang(big house) are the vernacular homes of the Minangkabau ethnic group found mainly in West Sumatra, Indonesia. The design of the house descended from the Dong Son forms, as with the Toba Batak, unlike the other vernacular architecture in the Sumatra region, such as Aceh, Jambi and Palembang, whose forms originated from Malay dwellings. The Rumah Gadang possess a unique saddled-backed roof adorned by a number of curved and upward rising spires(Gonjong). Along with the wood carvings that clad the outward slanting facades and gables of some Minangkabau houses, and the occasional presence of raised floor extensions attached to the short sides of the house (Anjueng).

The inhabitants of the Rumah Gadang, the Minangkabau has a unique
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The largest is the thirty post house and the two smaller ones are the twenty post and the twelve post houses. House plans are the same for all three sizes and the traditional house is built raised 1-2 metres off the ground. At the left end of the house is an annex (anjuang) which is slightly elevated from the floor level of the house. The annex is also qualified as the anjuang nan tingi(the high annex), a reference to both its elevation from the floor level and to its symbolic significance as the pinnacle of the house. Sleeping quarters( billiak) are adjacent and are in the rear of the twenty post and thirty post houses. Curtained doorways of the billiak open out onto the hall (ruang). In the thirty post house, the hall is divided into three zones: the ruang ateh (elevated hall) which is immediately in front of the sleeping quarters: the ruang tongah(central hall) and the ruang topi (side hall) by the windows at the front of the house. There are only two zones in the halls of the twenty post house, the ruang tongah and the ruang topi. In the 12 post house, there are no billiak and the hall is not differentiated into zones. The inner recess of the hall is, however, used as sleeping quarters if necessary. At the right rear end of the house is the kitchen( dapur), which is lower than the floor level of the hall. In some houses, the kitchen is built on ground level and a flight of steps leads down to the kitchen from inside the house which opens into the pangkalan. This space is on a lower level than the hall. The windows are on the front of the house and face the courtyard. There is a graduation of public to private space in the ruang. The ruang topi is a semi-public space where the guests sit, and more public than the ruang tongah on which the household members sit facing and entertaining their guests. As we
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