Kampong houses are built with stilts below and they have large windows. This is mainly to keep the building cool and the stilts elevate the building to keep them away from floods.
Kampong houses are detached houses and they usually have no fences around them The traditional kampong house serves the housing needs of the majority of people living in rural areas of countries like Malaysia. It was evolved by the Malays over the generations, and adapted to their own needs, culture, and environment. Basically a timber house with a post and lintel structure raised on stilts, with wooden, bamboo, or thatched walls and a thatched roof, the house is designed to suit the tropical climate.
Ventilation and solar-control devices, and low thermal capacity building materials are part of the building heritage. House construction is highly systematized, like a modern prefabrication system, but with a much higher degree of flexibility and variation. The house components are made on the ground and later assembled on the building site. A very sophisticated addition system, which allows the house to grow with the needs of the user, is an advantage for the poor because it allow them to invest and build gradually rather than shouldering one huge initial financial burden.
The house is designed according to the owner’s needs. This way, costs are cut down by eliminating the need for professionals like architects. It suits the owner uniquely and showcase the house as a different brand of personality.
The traditional kampong house has an open interior, promoting good cross ventilation and lighting and allowing the space to be used for many purposes.
Since most activities take place on the floor, the need for furniture is minimal. Bed mats and mattresses are rolled up in the day and stored. Interior spaces are defined, not by partitions or walls, but rather by changes in floor level; they may be respected or ignored, allowing the house to accommodate larger numbers of people than usual during, for example, feasts.
The roof is simple and easy to construct, and this partly explains the popularity of this houseform among the poorer villagers and those who build houses themselves. The bumbung panjang roof-form is best in its ventilation properties. The use of ventilation joints allows good ventilation of the roof. It is shaped like a funnel. The bumbung panjang, due to its simplicity, is a very efficient roof-form for making additions to the house. Of these three foreign houseforms used in Malaysian houses, the bumbungperak houseform (also called bumbungpotongan Belanda [Dutch-type] roof in the East Coast) is the most popular.
Materials and Methods
Many of the world’s homes are built with pise(rammed earth) or adobe(mudbricks). There are other techniques that do not require the use of mud, soil or clay. However, most were precursors to today’s bricks and concrete.
Rammed earth or pise has been used all over the world in ancient and modern times. The great fortresses of the 10th Century in the Middle East are mostly of rammed earth construction and they stand remarkably unweathered today. Rammed earth is the best way of making walls from sandy soil by means of compression. Damp soil is packed solidly by ramming it into a strong rigid framework, or form, with vertical sides, placed in position over firm footings. It is made in courses: one section of wall at a time.
Ramming takes up long hours of time and is very physically taxing. The edge over mudbrick is that it twice as fast compared to mudbrick construction. Earth not compacted properly will crumble away while properly compacted earth will neither shrink nor develop cracks. Minimal water is required for ramming which makes it easier for people living in dry climates. But too much water will ruin the earth, thus, wet climates are not very suited to this technique.
Mudbrick or adobe is one of the most flexible and convenient building methods. A building material which consists of clay-loam soil puddled with water, sometimes containing straw. The ideal soil requires a clay content and the straw can be added to reduce drying and cracking. However, almost any soil can be adapted to make mudbricks. It is most popular due to its simplicity, which is easily grasped by the layperson with limited experience, time or resources. If the design and construction are good, the building will last indefinitely.
Advantages to mudbrick building:
1. It can be prepared before hand, making the waiting time for raw materials to arrive etc. minimal.
2. Scraps of wood are all you need to mould bricks.
3. Soil is free and is usually close to hand. If straw is required, one bale will be sufficient for a small building.
4. Bricks can be made in wet weather so long as there is an undercover drying area.
5. No dampness will be felt as the walls don’t absorb moisture so humidity level is relatively low.
6. Economical, it is cheaper to make own bricks than to purchase.
Of course there are also some disadvantages, too:
a. Mudbrick building is very labour intensive and quite tiring (the most exhausting part is mixing the soil and water).
b. Texts and magazines suggest it's possible to make 100 bricks per day per person, although that level of productivity comes with experience and fitness! Thousands of bricks are required for most dwellings.
c. Only two or three courses of bricks can be laid at one time, because the courses need to dry out before more are added on top, to prevent the wall slumping or warping.
d. The technique requires a lot of water, which can be a problem in dry areas.
e. Although it is possible to make bricks in wet weather, a large undercover area is needed.
Wattle and Daub
The principle of the wattle and daub technique is an age-old one. It consists of a load-bearing structure, which is usually wooden, between which is woven a lattice netting from vegetable matter and then plastered on their side with earth which is mixed with straw or other vegetable fibre to prevent shrinkage upon drying. Wattle and daub construction is not one of the main techniques to build in mud.
Nowadays the adobe rammed earth and compressed block techniques are most widespread, and have reached extremely high scientific and technological levels. It is perhaps regrettable that these three techniques now dominate the field to the detriment of the others, which are still of interest.
This method requires good quality clay, mixed with water and straw, to form a 'plastic' mixture. It is laid directly into light formworks on the wall - usually between a post and beam timber frame building - and allowed to dry thoroughly before the next layer is added. The drying period can take over a week, so the overall method is slow but straightforward - perhaps perfect for the weekend self-builder. The roof can be erected 1st before starting on the wall as it provides protection from wet weatherOnce the rough wall is complete, it is trimmed smooth and lintels and door cavities can be carved out. Cob can be loadbearing (ie can carry the roof itself, without timber supports).
This method is very much like cob. It is mostly used as infill walling to a post and beam construction, but - like cob - it can be load-bearing. The advantage of using a post and beam framework is that the roof can be in place ahead of construction, during which the straw needs protection from wet weather. Bales can be simply stacked up and pinned against the plane of the timbers if it is to be infill. If it is loadbearing, the bales also need to be pinned into the footing. Once constructed, a chainsaw is used to cut out window and door cavities. Two layers of render, in and out, will waterproof the walls. Another advantage is that strawbale building requires few specialist skills and is ideal for self-build.
Timber is used in most post and beam structures and is the most often-used method to carry the weight of the roof of a building. The sloping roofs are finished with wooden shingles as in other tropical countries. Small pieces of wooden planks are used in three layers above each other. Although a lot of wood is required, even the very small pieces are used. Also, wood is still a renewable resource, and this option is only feasible in areas where such trees are grown widely in the vicinity. Wooden houses are most suited to a warm climate, unless considerable insulation is installed.
This uses a fundamental building method: the design is usually based upon locally-available timber, with which roof supports are constructed and infilled with smaller timbers. Self-harvested, new, or recycled timber can be used: old telegraph poles seem to be particularly well-suited to polehouse construction.
Bamboo is another building material best suited to warm climates - mainly because the large species used for construction only grow in the tropics and sub-tropics. It is extremely flammable, so extra care needs to be taken in building design to reduce the threat of fire. It is grown and used across Asia and often combined with other building materials and techniques, such as timber and adobe. Because bamboo is round and hollow and separated into culms, it is very strong and can support more weight than an equivalent length of wood. Its lightness makes it easy and fast to manhandle and place. It can also be cut and shaped more easily than wood. Bamboo grows fast and can be grown on a small scale by the builder. It is a fast and cheap option for long-lasting buildings. The disadvantages are that it is not weather-resistant unless treated (steaming and soaking in a copper solution is the norm) and the foot must be fixed in either dry soil or concrete to avoid rot.