Page 1

Rumah Gadang the minangkabau legacy

“ Rumah gadang bari bapintu nak tarang jalan kahalaman kalau dikumpa saleba kuku jikok dikambang saleba alam �

Published by Department of Architecture Kuliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design International Islamic University of Malaysia Jalan Gombak Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Editors Asst. Prof. Dr. Zaiton Abd Rahim Asst. Prof. Dr. Zuraini Denan Authors 窶連isyah Fajri Johari Akmal Aisya Abdul Aziz Farhana Mohammed Isa Nuraimi Idris Nurulhuda Ahmad Faris Ruhil Athirah Alias Research Group Abdul Azim Marzuki Abdul Fattah Ghani Azizul Hakim Musa Che Raiskandar Che Rahim Irfan Hassan Khazani Kahadi Hanis Abd Razak Mohd Reza Afandy M. Radzi Mohd Safuan Azman Mhd. Hafiz Karami Mhd Zain Mohd Fadhli Ilias

Mohd Hisyam Mohamed Yusoff Mohd Nazirulhaq Abdul Wahab Muhammad Afiq Ibrahim Shukri Muhammad Firdaus Zamin Muhammad Khaliq Yazit Norsyila Mohd Zain Nur Amirah Abd. Samad Nur Balqis Ahmad Safawi Nurafni Anissa Musa Salwa Mohamed Seth Shafinaz Ahmad Shazalli Tasnim Mohd Hatta

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writting from the publisher

TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword by Dean Foreword by Head, Department of Architecture Foreword by the Course Coordinator Acknowledgements Preface

ix x xi xii xv

Introduction Minangkabau History Pariangan Rumah Gadang

2 4 6 8

Overview of Rumah Gadang Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Suku Piliang and Suku Pisang Contextual Factors Space Planning Facade Design

12 13 14 16 18 22

Art of Construction Introduction Foundation Columns and beams Roof Floor Wall Openings Staircase Ornamentation

26 28 29 31 35 38 42 45 46

Conclusion Photo Album Photo Album 1 - Faces and Culture of Pariangan Photo Album 2 - Architecture of Pariangan Photo Album 3 - Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum Photo Album 4 - Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Photo Album 5 - Minangkabau Architecture


References Glossary

60 62

50 52 54 56 58


This book is dedicated to all students who have contributed to the making of this book and also to the people of Pariangan.

FOREWORD BY DEAN Assalaamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Pulau pandan jauah ditangah,

West Sumatra, known for its Minangkabau architecture is rich in

dibaliak pulau angso duo,

Minangkabau villages, among them, Pariangan which is one of the

hancua badan dikanduang tanah, budi baiak dikana juo.

earliest Minangkabau settlement with priceless inherited rumah gadang. It is blessed with beautiful highlands and rich land which contributes significantly to the economy of the people. Since the advent of Islam in the Minangkabau lands, the religion

Thank You.

enjoyed development together with the existing customary law or adat and stood through the test of time. The Minangkabau people have a strong relationship with nature or alam and believe that nature guides them and acts as the best teacher to them. This is in line with their philosophical value of nature, Alam Takambang Jadi Guru. The community is rich in culture and custom which affects the built environment as well. I believe that all the information gathered and work done by the students on the rumah gadang will further explain the diabolical relationship between the Minangkabau society, its culture and the built environment in general, and contribute to knowledge on the architecture in West Sumatra. I thank all those who involved in the production of this invaluable work especially the third year architecture students who were involved in Heritage Studies on the rumah gadang in Pariangan. Thank you, Wassalaam.

Prof. Mansor Ibrahim Dean, Kulliyyah of Architecture & Environmental Design (KAED)








Assalaamualaikum warahmatullahi wabaraktuh,

Assalaamualaikum warahmatullahi wabaraktuh,

The people of Minangkabau are known for their strong connection

Alhamdulillah, the Heritage Studies 2009 has been successfully

with the customary law or adat which influenced all aspects of their

completed by the third year architecture students. Their determination

society and built environment. The history and development of

and hard work in completing the course can be seen in every detail

the Minangkabau architecture namely the rumah gadang explored

of this exhibition. Both the motivation to go to Pariangan village,

throughout the heritage studies proved to be an interesting topic.

to feel the culture and environment of the earliest settlement of

The trip was not only fruitful to the students in acquiring knowledge

Minangkabau and the gathering of information are not only for their

of the Minangkabau architecture but also developed friendship and

own personal satisfaction, but also for the benefit of others too.

network with their Muslim brothers and sisters in West Sumatra.

The heritage trip provides a holistic learning experience, not only

In this book, the rumah gadang, the architecture of Minangkabau

bounded in the classroom but also by exploring the world outside

focusing on Pariangan village shows how the Dutch colonization

the four walls of their classroom. Horizons are widened by interacting

and the advent of Islam to the Minangkabau lands influenced its

with people of other countries as well as getting accustomed to their

architecture. Islamic architecture is rich due to the different cultures

culture and built environment.

which embraced the religion. The study on Islamic architecture is very important for the Muslims to appreciate and realize the greatness of Islam as the guidance of life and its influence on the built environment. I am confident that the works done by the students will be a mean and contribute to the knowledge on the rich culture and architecture of the Minangkabau people. I would like to congratulate the third

It is hoped that all the work done by the students including this book will greatly benefit everyone. Throughout the semester we managed to foster a sense of appreciation in every student and also to hold on to the principle that knowledge is meant to be shared. Thank you, Wassalam.

year architecture students from the 9th batch 2009 for their hard work in making this book a success. Thank you, Wassalam. Assoc. Prof. Ar. Datin Norwina Mohd Nawawi Head, Department of Architecture, KAED

Asst. Prof. Dr. Zuraini Denan Course Coordinator, Heritage Studies 2009, KAED




ACKNOWLEDGEMENT In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. With the blessings of His Almighty we are able to complete this

We would also like to extend our gratitude to other fellow lecturers

Heritage Studies successfully and managed to publish this short

supervising this course including Asst. Prof. Dr. Zuraini Denan, Asst.

book without any shortcomings. May what we have gone through

Prof. Dr. Zaiton Abd Rahim Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Raza Soomro, Asst. Prof.

strengthen our faith towards Him and by that, we look forward to

Dr. Aida Kesuma Azmin, Asst. Prof. Ar. Dr. Abdul Razak Sapian and Asst.

share our knowledge for the benefits of the ummah as a whole.

Prof. Dr. Noor Hanita Abdul Majid, for their advices and assistance throughout the whole semester.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to both caretakers of the houses, Dt. Kayo Jufri, and Dt. Mengkudum Drs Dalimi

Our credit also goes to our family for their moral and financial support

Kassim for granting us permission to study their houses.

throughout this coursework. Last but not least to the group members of PADANG ‘09, for your diligences and full and tireless commitments

Our further acknowledgement goes to Wali Nagari Pariangan, April Khatib Saidi, Secretaris Nagari Pariangan, Pak Aswardi, Pak Mayor, Khairudin and all the residents of Nagari Pariangan, Tanah Datar, West Sumatra. Their acceptance and warm welcome made our stay in Pariangan a very valuable one. We would also like to express our deepest thanks to lecturers and students of Kuliah Arsitektur, Universitas Bung Hatta, Padang, to whom we feel deeply indebted. Thank you, Pak Rifan, Ir. Harmaini Darwis, Ir. Syamsul Asri and Pak Zulherman for your warm welcome, invaluable assistance and support.

towards the accomplishment of this work and to those who gives hands on helping us intentionally or unintentionally.


PREFACE Minangkabau people are known to be the largest ethnic group on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. The clans believe in a philosophical of nature, Alam Takambang Jadi Guru (Nature is the best teacher). Thus, their ancestors correlated this belief along with other factors i.e. material, environment condition, social and need of space have influenced their architecture style and the built environment. Rumah gadang or the great house of Minangkabau acts as a symbol of wealth for families and a centre place to conduct various events related to the culture of Minangkabau. This book focuses on two rumah gadangs of different matriclans or suku. The first is owned by Dt. Mangkudum of Suku Piliang and the latter by Dt. Kayo of Suku Pisang.






Minangkabau or ‘menonkobu’ is derived from old

Nature is important to the Minangkabau people

Sanskrit words which means the land of origin.

and provides guidance in their lifes. its importance

However many Minangkabau people believed that

is reflected in their philosophy ‘Alam Takambang

the name is a combination of two words ‘minang’ and

Jadi Guru’. This philosophy influenced all aspects in

‘kabau’. Based on the folklore, the words signified

their lifes, from their daily life to built environment.

their victory in a buffalo fighting competition upon a

This is practiced until today despite through various

territorial dispute with a neighboring prince.

colonization including Dutch, Japan, etc. of the land.








Minangkabau society is known to be the largest ethnic group with tracing descent and inheritance through the female line. They live mainly on the island of Sumatra, particularly in the west central highlands


which are claimed to be their cultural heartland. The Minangkabau people are not only well known for their matrilineal system, but also their elegant


archtiecture, craftsmanship from textile, embroidery,


wood and silver carving. Majority of Minangkabau 3

people are agrarian. Planting paddy contribute significantly to their economy. This is made possible given the geography of the land which is blessed with 1 2 3

Pacu jawi or cow race event Highland agriculture Wood carving craftmanship

good volcanic soil.


The Great House of Minangkabau or known as Rumah Gadang The art of textile

500 BC

Austronesian expansion to Southeast Asia


Establishment of Pagar Ruyung Kingdom


Spread of Islam


Dutch Colonization





The history of Minangkabau started around 500 BCE

The colonization put an end to the monarchic ruling

during the arrival of Austronesian people to Sumatera

system. Minangkabau has gone through various

as part of their expansion from Taiwan to Southeast

changes including their acceptance of Islam which

Asia who were believed to be the ancestors of the

their embraced. Furthermore, they are also shifting

Minangkabau people. However, the establishment

the economic source to agricultural sector due to its

of the prominent Minangkabau kingdom of Pagar

rising demand.

Ruyung by Adityawarman only took place during the early 15th century. After 28 years of ruling Pagar Ruyung, the reign of Adityawarman in Pagar Ruyung were divided into 2

three main powers led by three kings of Rajo Tigo Selo which are Rajo Alam, Rajo Adat and Rajo Ibadat.

Land of Gold The land of Minangkabau was rich in gold. The invasion on Minangkabau started during the mid of 16th 3

century by Aceh Sultanate, followed with 200 years 1 Istana Pagaruyung, Batu Sangkar 2 Surau Nagari Lubuk Bauk 3 Mount Marapi, Pariangan

of Dutch colonization, and interference from Japan, resulting in the decrease in gold in Minangkabau.

Tambo Alam Minangkabau


The Minangkabau society has its own history of social development as claimed by the traditional historiography, the Tambo Alam Minangkabau. The first Minangkabaus were said to have arrived by ship and landed on Mount Marapi which protruded from a surrounding body of water. The tambo claims that the ship was sailed by a descendant of Iskandar Zulkarnain. After the water receeded the Minangkabau people proliferated and dispersed to the slopes and valleys


surrounding the volcano. The royal family led by Dt.

4 Jam Gadang, Bukit Tinggi 5 Masjid Raya Nagari Lima Kaum, Tanah Datar

Suridirajo descended to a place called Galundi nan Baselo which is is later known as Pariangan.




Situated on the southern slopes of Mount Marapi, with the altitude of 860m and approximately 15 km from the nearby market town of Batu Sangkar, Pariangan is significant to Minangkabau society in terms of its history and culture as it is claimed to be 1

the first Minangkabau settlement by the locals. With the total of 452 hectares, it is part of the Nagari Pariangan - Padang Panjang. The village of Pariangan consists of 8 matriclans or suku which are Koto, Piliang, Dalimo Singkek, Dalimo Panjang, Melayu,


Piliang Laweh, Pisang and Sikumbang. At present, the whole village is being preserved under the national legislation as a cultural historical site; it is rich in Minangkabau traditional houses, the rumah gadang which is the subject of study of this book.


1 2 3 4 4

Paddy field of Pariangan The Rumah Gadang of Suku Piliang The Settlements The Rumah Gadang of Suku Melayu Location Plan of Pariangan





The great house of Minangkabau or rumah gadang is

There are various types of rumah gadang. The house

an inherited house. The identity of the Minangkabau

form was influences by the Minangkabau’s adat or

traditional architecture is portrayed by its elegant roof

customary law and response to the changes around

form. The sophisticated construction techniques and

them such as colonialization and the acceptance of Islam

the intelligent use of the materials allow the house to

as a way of life. The house has evolved over years due

withstand natural disasters such as earthquake and

to these influences, changes in lifestyle and availability

flood and last for a very long time.

of materials and technology. Four prominent types of

Also known as rumah adat, this particular house is a striking feature of the Minangkabau people and


rumah gadang are: Gajah Maharam, Surambi Papek, Bapaserek and Baranjuang.

claimed to be one of the distinctive and refined variations of the Austronesian saddle-back roof to be 2

found in Indonesia (Waterson, 1999). 2

The great house of Minangkabau is not just grandeur in its physical appearance, but also accomodates the needs of the inhabitants according to the culture of the matrilinieal Minangkabau people. It acts as a symbol of wealth and status. It is not a subject of individual


possession but belongs to the clan, utilized as a host 3

for several of Minangkabau rituals (Navis, 1984).

1, 2 & 3 The earliest rumah gadangs in West Sumatra, Indonesia

1 2 3 4

Rumah Gadang Gajah Maharam Rumah Gadang Surambi Papek Rumah Gadang Bapaserek Rumah Gadang Beranjuang









The Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum is located at

The Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo is located at No 163,

No 76, Suku Piliang, Dusun Balai Saruang, Jurong

Dusun B. Panjang, Jurong Pariangan, Nagari Pariangan,

Pariangan, Nagari Pariangan, Kecamatan Pariangan.

Kecamatan Pariangan. The Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo is

This Rumah Gadang Tiga Ruang or three-spaces

a Rumah Gadang Lima Ruang or five-spaces rumah

rumah gadang was built to replace the five-spaces

gadang. It is estimated to be 300 years old and may

rumah gadang for the family which was destroyed by

have been constructed in three phases. The house is

a fire. It was believed to be built 200 years ago on the

a rumah pusaka or an inherited house of Dt. Kayo of

tanah pusaka or inherited land and has undergone

Suku Pisang or Pisang matriclan which originated from

three renovations. The renovation reflects the Dutch

Koto Pisang. It was built by tukang tuo Dt. Garang. The

and Islamic influences particularly in the addition of

present owner of this house is Dt. Kayo Jufri while the

the sarambi or verandah and changes in materials

past owner was Dt. Kayo Dabur, who passed the house

used. This rumah gadang belongs to Suku Piliang or

to his only son, Dt. Kayo Nursan. It was then inherited

Piliang matriclan. It was built by architect (tukang

by the ibu kecil who is the youngest daughter of Dt.

tuo) Dt. Mangkudum Kinciak. The rumah gadang

Kayo Nursan, named Nurhaya. Unfortunately, Nurhaya

was built according to the family’s wealth, status and

and his husband, Dato’ Paduka Rusli has no daughter

composition. At present, it is inhabited by the family of

and therefore the house was passed down to their

the fifth descendent, Dt. Mangkudum Dalimi Kassim.

son, Dt. Kayo Jufri. The rumah gadang has been

He is also the caretaker of the house, inherited from

inhabited by six descendents and Dt. Kayo Jufri is the

his mother, Tiani.

last inheritor, as he has no female siblings.






1&2 3

Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum Roof finial (gonjong)

4 5 6

Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Two granaries (rangkiang) Side elevation of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo




Suku Piliang is one of the oldest clan in Minangkabau. The word Piliang is from the words pele meaning ‘many’







Mangkudum’s family is among the families from the Suku Piliang, headed by Dt. Sinaro as the pucuak adat or chieftain. The clan stills preserve the surau and


paddy field, which are identified as the components of the Minangkabau clans. The surau used to be a place for teaching religious education to young males of the clans. The Suku Pisang originated from Koto Pisang, Pariangan. At present, the Suku Pisang is left with

2 1 Surau Suku Piliang 2 Surau Suku Pisang

only four families who reside in Koto Pisang. Dt. Kayo, as the pucuak adat of Suku Pisang, expanded the clan’s territory by building their house away from Koto Pisang. According to Dt. Kayo Jufri, the current chieftain, the clan still preserved their surau and paddy field. However, at present, the surau is used as a dwelling by a family of Suku Pisang. The location of the paddy field and surau can be identified in the Master Plan of Pariangan.



CONTEXTUAL FACTORS OF PARIANGAN VILLAGE As Pariangan village is situated at the foot of Mount Marapi, both houses are oriented and constructed to take advantage of the mildly cold weather and

17 Legend for Site Plan 1 Rumah gadang 2 Tabek 3 Dapuar 4 Rangkiang 5 Orchard

wind. The front part of the house is oriented to face the sunrise. The side wall of the house (pangkal) face Mount Marapi. This allows natural light to penetrate 1

into the houses during the day while the rear part of

4 Site plan of the Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum of Suku Piliang 5 Site plan of the Rumah Gadang Dt.Kayo of Suku Pisang

the houses face the Qiblah. Within the compound of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum, there are a kitchen house (rumah dapuar) and a pond (tabek). The function of the tabek


is not only as a source of economy but also to reduce the heat from the sunlight directly entering the house. 2

On the other hand, within the boundary of the Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo, there are two granaries (rangkiang), two rumah dapuar and a small pond to wash feet before entering the house (cibuak). Rangkiang is used to store paddy. The configuration of the rangkiang is quite similar to the rumah gadang. An orchard is located behind the house. It is planted with various 3 1 Rangkiang 2 Tabek 3 Dapuar

types of trees and plants. 5



A 1 2

A 4





B 1




5 B 1




Neighbourhood Context A

Legend Section of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum from Tantejo Gurhano’s Street

1 2 3 4

Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum Rumah Gadang Suku Melayu Rumah Gadang Suku Piliang Common House


Section of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum from Simpang Taluak

1 2 3 4 5

A sundry shop (Lapau) Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum Rumah gadang Suku Piliang Common House

The Tantejo Gurhano Street is the main route that

The neighborhood context of the site is surrounded by

leads to Pariangan Village. Both houses face the main

rumah gadang of different matriclan, common houses,

route that heads towards Mount Marapi.

ponds (tabek), small sundry shop (lapau), Kantor Wali

The site boundary is set by a boundary stone, which is

Nagari and numerous types of vegetations.

used to mark the territory of each land owner. Since

Other than the rumah gadang type of house, the

the area is of clustered dwellings, the boundary for

surrounding neighbourhood also contains modern

each house is in irregular shape.

brick houses of different matriclans.


Legend Section of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo from tantejo Gurhano’s Street

1 2 3

A sundry shop (Lapau) Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Rumah Gadang Suku Pisang


Section of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo towards Gunung Marapi (North)

1 2 3 4

Settlements of Suku Pisang Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Tantejo Gurahano’s Street Common House

20 Ground Floor pen(kandang) First Floor bedroom (biliak) hallway (labuah) interval space (bandua) meeting place (balai) verandah (sarambi) Second Floor attic (loteng)



The spaces in rumah gadang are determined by the arrangement of the columns which creates row (lanjar) and space (ruang). It is divided into several main parts. The first part is the verandah (sarambi), located in the middle and extended out to the front. It is covered by a steep and pointed roof (gonjong). It is flanked by two staircases at both sides. The sarambi can be considered as the public space of the house where guests are entertained and limited to. This part of the house is an addition influenced by Dutch


colonization, arises from the need to entertain the Dutch officers who frequently visited the head of the clan’s house. The second part of the rumah gadang is the main house, which has the shape of a long rectangle. It is divided into four main spaces; the meeting place (balai), hallway (labuah), interval space (bandua) and bedrooms (biliak). The balai is located next to the entrance door to the main house. Labuah is an elongated space in between balai and bandua. Bandua stretches across the entire lenght of the house and is one level higher than labuah and balai. It is used for various activities such as having meals and performing prayers.




1 Section A- A’ of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo 2 Section B- B’ of Rumah Gadang Dt.Kayo

Biliak are located next to bandua and divided into odd numbers, occupied by unmarried daughters. This is the most private space of the house for resting and sleeping. The upper level of the house is the attic or loteng used to store paddy while the lower level of the house is designed as a pen or kandang to keep animals such as

Figure above shows the volume of upper part of the house known as loteng or attic. Loteng functions as storage for paddy and utilities. Formerly, paddy was stored in rangkiangs or granaries at the front compound of the house.

hens and ducks. The rumah gadang is raised two metres from the ground. It is elevated on posts creating a space


beneath the living floor called kandang. This space

Section A- A’ of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum

is enclosed by plaited bamboo panels. The ceiling


of the house is three metres high. The sarambi was

Section B- B’ of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum

originally constructed of timber with bamboo stairs. It was eventually replaced by concrete staircases.

The most fascinating element of the



house is the roof form. The double layer roof resembles the shape of a boat or the horn of a buffalo. The curved pointed roof provides good protection from the rain and ventilation to the 1 Front elevation of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo 2 Left elevation of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo 3 Front elevation of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum 4 Right elevation of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum



house. The adaptation of


or metal finials which is located at the roof summits is believed to be influenced by the Pagar Ruyung era which represents status and prosperity of the rulers (Waterson, 1999).




This type of rumah gadang is Rumah

This great house of Dt Mangkudum’s

Gadang Bapaserek which contains two

family is a Surambi Papek type of

layers of roof. The extended roof ridge

rumah gadang. Its curvy roof profile

creates elegant curves of rabuang

is identified as sapik kalo or scorpion

membasuik or bamboo shoot type of

tweezers type of roof curve. Apart from

curve. This rumah gadang is built with

its roof, other uniqueness of the house

more lavish building patterns such as

is that the façades are elaborately

carvings, paintings and decorations to

carved with ornamentations. Among

represent the status of Dt. Kayo as the

the decorations and carvings

chieftain of Suku Pisang.

bungo matahari, dedaun, saikgalamai, ako cino and bungo daun bodi.




INTRODUCTION TO CASE STUDIES The rumah gadang is very unique in many ways

Even though it has undergone

not only its distinctive physical appearance. The


architecture is influenced by the Minangkabau culture,

construction of both houses

its geography and climate. Its sustainability is seen in

remained relatively the same.

its construction and material and the ability to adapt

However, some minor changes

to the changes such as colonization and the embracing of Islam as a way of life. The construction of the rumah gadang is subjected to specific regulations according to the adat or customary 1

law, observed throughout the process. It was built by the tukang tuo or traditional carpenter with the help pf the clan members. The skill to built the house is

2 1 Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Jufri 2 Rumah Gadang Dt.Mangkudum




were observed in terms of the construction techniques and material used. For example , the use of nails


Roof Construction


Building Elements

in connecting the structural components, Dutch



and using zinc to

replace ijuk as the original

inherited from one generation to another.

material for the roof.

This chapter will focused on the architecture of

The rumah gadang mainly

Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum and Rumah Gadang

uses the post and beam

Dt. Kayo Jufri located in Pariangan Village. Both rumah

construction. The construction

gadang has evolved over time due to colonization,


introduction to Islam and availability of technology

foundation to the roof will

and material.

be discussed throughout in






Structural Components

the following sections in this chapter. a 3 Structural components of Rumah Gadang





Footing foundation is used for both rumah gadang.

The columns and beams of rumah gadang provide

It is placed at the bottom of the substructure and

stability to the house. The columns have an

transfer the building loads directly to the supporting

important function of transferring the loads to the

soil by vertical pressure. The footing of rumah gadang

other structural components. The beam acts as

is known as batu sandi usually obtained from the river

the horizontal structural components jointing the

of Pariangan village. Frequently the sandi or stone

columns. A bonding between columns and beams

used are black coloured ones. The sandi is distributed

operate as a medium to transfer both dead load

to every column after the structure of the house is

and live load to the foundation. Timber is used as a

completed. The foundation system is constructed

main construction material for columns and beams.

on the ground by having some of the footings half

Timber framing system is used in both Rumah Gadang

buried in the soil. Columns are assembled onto the

Dt. Mangkudum and Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo Jufri.

footing without nails or any jointing but are placed on top of the sandi to endure earthquake. However the foundation type used for verandah is different which is masonry footing construction.


1 b


The first column to be constructed in any rumah gadang is the central post or tonggak tuo. There


are five main columns of different length used to

Legend a column b beam

construct the house. Different beams such as roof beam or baliang-baliang and wide beam or rasuak are


connected to the column. The peak of each column has a hole to place the rope in the process of erecting it. The column will be laid down on the ground and 1 Batu sandi as foundation

pulled up straight on the site of the house by the

2 Load transfer diagram of the structural components of rumah gadang

villagers using the rope. Another set of beam are the

3 Masonry footing foundation at verandah

long beam or palanca and the roof beam or paran.

1 Timber posts (tonggak) in rumah gadang 2 Connection between beam and column




The roof is the most significant of the rumah gadang. The big and curved roof with multiple gables and upsweeping ridge creates an interesting characteristic to the house. The roof was constructed before the


floor to protect it from rain. Both Rumah gadang


Dt. mangkudum

and Dt. kayo have similar roof


construction but differ in size and shape. Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum uses sapik kalo type of Legend 1 Tonggak Tuo 2 Baliang-baliang 3 Rasuak atas 4 Rasuak bawah 5 Palanca 6 Paran

roof while Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo uses rabuang mambasuik type of roof. The structural components of the roof are the beams or paran, truss or kuda-

c) Sapik Kalo

kuda, rafter or kasau, and purlin or turang. The roof structure are made of timber and is covered with zinc.


The traditional methods are used for the construction

b) Rabuang Mambasuik

of the roof such as tongue and grooves and mortise 3 Structural system of Rumah Gadang

Each of the columns is shaped with twelve or eight

and tenon method for jointing. Pegs are used to

faces symbolizing the Minangkabau Undang-undang

strengthen the connection between the roof beams

Dua belas (Law of Twelve) and Undang-undang Lapan

and columns. Basically the load of the roof is supported

(Law of Eight) depending on its usage and importance.

by the columns and beams. The roof is constructed

The law of twelve is more important as cmpare to the

once the skeleton of the house is completed.

Law of Eight. These columns are located at the balai, labuah, and bandua, the spaces where communal meetings and ceremonial celebration take place.

a) Bulan Sahari 4 4 Types of roof form of Rumah Gadang. Source: Junaidi (2006)



36 Construction of the roof starts by placing the transverse beam including the ridge beam on top of the column using mortise and tenon joint at every portion of the house including the sarambi. Rafters and roof beams serve as the main load bearing member. Rafters are then placed on top of the transverse beam using bird mouth joint to support the rafter and prevent it from lapsing. Distance between them varies from each other due to the applied load, rafter size and spacing. Placement and arrangement of the rafters play significant role in making the roof curvier. Purlin is then embedded on top of the rafter using tongue and groove system to provide support for the zink. However, not every purlin uses the traditional method of jointing, some of them are nailed to the rafter. The purlin will automatically shape the curve when it follows the rafter arrangement.

37 To construct the jack roof, a piece of wood is attached to the rafter to lift up the roof and determined the height of the curved roof. The sizes of each rafter varies. Its construction and method of jointing is similar to the main roof.


1 1

a Connection between roof beam and column using mortise and tenon joint.


b Tongue and groove connection at purlin and rafter c Connection between rafter and beam using bird mouth joint and the connection of additional wood to specify the height of the jack roof.

2 1 Section showing the roof jointing and arrangement of rafters that shape the curve roof 2 Section of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum showing roof construction of verandah




The verandah roof at Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum is constructed by connecting the ridge beams to the center rafter of the main roof. Rafters and purlins are then laid on top of each other using




like mortise and tenon and Legend

tongue and groove but some has use nails to secure the

1 Biliak 2 Bandua 3 Labuah 4 Balai 5 Sarambi

connection. Bumbung for




for the verandah at


Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo. The




roof is similar to the Malay


The construction of the floor in the both houses differs depending on the space. The post-and-beam

Traditional House. Tongue and groove is used for the

floor system is used to construct the whole floor area


in the rumah gadang, which are the sarambi, balai, labuah, bandua and biliak. Bamboo is used for the floor finishes in all the spaces except for the sarambi which uses timber floor finishes replacing the original

d Roof trusses, purlins, rafters, beams and columns

bamboo floor. The floor construction of balai, labuah,

e Connection between two roof beams and center column f Verandah of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo using bumbung limas type of construction

bandua and biliak is of three components which f

support the floor finishes consisting of beam, and two different floor joists made of timber and bamboo.

40 The traditional method is applied for the floor construction, also using nails to secure the connection at the verandah floor area. Basic floor construction of the rumah gadang consists of beam, primary joist, secondary joist, and floor finishes. However, material used are different according to the spaces.

The Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum applies three types of construction methods uses at different spaces while the Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo applies two different constructions between the verandah and the inside of the house. Floor construction in Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum rooms shows the early floor construction of the rumah gadang. Material used for the construction is bamboo.



1 Legend 1 2 3 4

The floor is constructed by connecting the primary joist to the beam using tongue and groove system. On top of that the secondary joist is placed in an opposite direction.This is to prevent the bamboo floor from sagging. Floor finishes is then laid on top. Some of the finishes are nailed to the joist.

Column/post (tunggak) Wide beam (rasuak) Secondary Beam (sigitan) Long beam (palanca)

5 Bamboo floor joist 6 Secondary bamboo joist 7 Bamboo floor

Legend 1 2 3 4

Column Long beam Wide beam Joist

5 Secondary joist 6 Bamboo floor 7 Timber board to cover the split level

The floor construction of the verandah is slightly different where it only uses primary timber floor joist. Secondary joist is not applied since the material of floor finishes has been changed to floor timber boards.

3 Section of floor showing the split level between bandua and labuah in the house.

2 Legend 1 Column/post 2 Beam 3 Timber floor joist

4 4 Secondary bamboo joist 5 Bamboo floor (lantai buluah)

1 Room floor construction of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum. 2 Floor construction method applied at bandua, labuah and balai of both houses. The same floor construction is used for rooms in Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo.

Legend 1 Timber floor board 2 Timber floor joist

4. The verandah floor construction which is similar to the other floors but uses timber floor board and timber joist instead. The floor board is nailed to the joist to secure the connection.




The walls in both rumah gadang are unique in their own way. It reflects the understanding of material and the function of the wall to provide protection from the external elements while providing comfort to the people living in it. The construction of the walls differs depending o the type of wall and its location. The walls at both sides of the houses are made of woven bamboo or sasak 1

bugis which gives a very unique facade for the houses.

Dinding / bukaan

It consists of two layers, the internal layer and the external layer. The double walls prevent animals or

Papan Sakapiang

insects from getting into the house and at the same


time act as a protection from the rain.



There are two type of walls in the rumah gadang. The

3 1 Sasak Bugis (woven bamboo) located at dinding tapi. 2 Salangko 3 Papan sakapiang

front wall or dinding ari is the wall located at the front

The wall panels enclosing the lower part of the house

side of the house. It is made of timber. The carvings

or salangko are called papan sakapiang. This wall has

with different designs generated from the nature can

openings to allow ventilation of the kandang. the

be seen on this owner.

breezing passing through this area also helps to cool the floor and ventilate the house. 5

4 Elevation of dinding ari 5 Wood carving at dinding ari



The walls at the sides of the house are called dinding tapi. These walls are made of woven bamboo called sasak bugis. This wall is constructed after the completion of the structural components of the house. The bamboo used for treated by soaking it in the water for a duration of time. This process protects te bamboo from termite and makes it strong and long lasting. It was woven on site and attacted to the 1

structural components of the house by grooves or takuk which hold the walls firmly. Legend

The upper part of the sasak bugis is pegged to the

1 Singo 2 Sasak Bugis 3 Kampias Sasak

columns and positioned between the roof gable (singo) and the columns. The use of peg or pasak is a common technique used. This technique require no

2 1 Perspective view of dinding tapi 2 Kampiar sasak on dinding tapi


nails. The roof gable (singo) has ornamentation on it

The verandah or sarambi in both Rumah Gadang

to enhance the aesthethic of the sasak bugis.

Dt. Mangkudum and Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo are of masonary construction. With the arrival of Dutch in Pariangan, concrete and stone had been applied as material in the wall construction system. However, the construction of sarambi maintained the traditional construction techniques. No nails is used in timber walls in the sarambi.

4 3 Construction of dinding tapi 4 Concrete and stone used for wall construction at sarambi



OPENINGS Openings provide ventilation and natural lighting to the

There are two types of doors in the rumah gadang,

rumah gadang. Windows are located only on the front

the external door and the internal door. The external

side of the house which is at its front. The North-South

door is located at both sides of the sarambi. It

orientation of the house means that the front of the

provides protection and security from the external

house which faces the East gets maximum exposure to

elements. The internal doors provides privacy for the

morning sun through the windows and openings.

family members. The internal doors are located at he

The windows consist of double panels, the internal which is made of glass and the external panel made of timber. The glass panel allows view and daylight during



entrance to the main space of the house connecting the sarambi which is the public space of the house to the private space of the house, and the biliak.

the day while the external timber panel with louvers

The doors panel are made of softwood or hardwood

provides ventilation during the night.

which is durable material. Some of the doors are

The window frame is constructed before the panels

painted to make them more attractive.

were slotted into it. The glass panel is slotted into the

The door leaf consists of panels of two types; raised

window sash using tongue and groove technique. The

timber panel and louvers, stiles and rails panel. The

window sash consists of a frip cap or head casing and

stiles and rails are connected using mortise and tenon

side casing which are connected using mortise and

joint. The door panels are slotted into the stile using

tenon joint. Hinges are used to connect the window

tongue and groove. The door leaf is connected to the

panles to the window frame.

door frame by hinges. The mortise lock is used for the door lockset.



5 1 Windows only on front side of the house 2 Internal window with glass casement 3 External window with louvers 4 External single leaf timber panel door 5 Interior double leaf timber louvers door


48 Legend 1 2 3


Side casing Head casing / drip cap Glass panel

1 Side casing 2 Head casing / drip cap 3 Glass panel


The staircase of the rumah gadang was originally made of timber and bamboo. However, in times, the staircase has been changed to concrete, an influence of Dutch colonization. There are two staircases at both sides of the verandah. The straight run staircases provide segregation



between male and female, a possible influence of Islam.


7 Front view of staircases of Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum 8 Side elevation of staircase of Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo

7 Legend 1 2 3

6 7 8

Top rail Stile Raised panel

Window construction Double layered window Door construction



1 Top rail 2 Stile 3 Raised panel




Ornamentation are applied on both exterior and interior of the rumah gadang, either carved or painted, each signifying the culture and society of the Minangkabau. They are represented symbolically or philosophically. The ornamentations are inspired from


the alam or nature and symbolizes the owner’s status and wealth.





6 1 Mangkuto Belanda on top of bedroom doors 2 Painting of peacock and floral motif on bedroom doors 3 Bungo Daun Bodi on interior door frame 4 Gonjong or roof finial 5 Ako cino on roof gable 6 Satu satangah gagang on roof gable

1 Mangkuto Belanda on top of bedroom doors 2 Painting of peacock and floral motif on bedroom doors 3 Bungo Daun Bodi on interior door frame 4 Gonjong or roof finial 5 Ako cino on roof gable 6 Satu satangah gagang on roof gable


CONCLUSION The study which focused on Rumah Gadang Dt. Mangkudum and Rumah Gadang Dt. Kayo in Pariangan village, gave a great understanding on the socio-culture of the Minangkabau people and concept of the great house in the Minangkabau society. The rumah gadang that went through slight changes starting from the Pagar Ruyung Empire to the present time was affected by the outside influence namely the colonialization of another power, the Dutch and the adaption of religious influence after the embrace of the Islamic faith in the Minangkabau lands. The study was successful in discovering how the Minangkabau architecture evolved, adapted to its environment and responded to the changes around them due to modernization and outer elements. This is portrayed by the change of materials used, functions of spaces inside the house and addition and omission of spaces. Furthermore, the architectural aspects of the rumah gadang is appreciated and understood with the study of space planning, construction technologies, materials and the overall houseform.

















Adat: Customary law Adat Basandi Syara’, Syara’ Basandi Kitabullah: tradition is founded upon Islamic law, Islamic law is founded upon al-Quran Adat Pepatih: Democratic System that been founded by Dato Perpatih Nan Sebatang Adat Ketemanggungan: Aristocratic System that been founded by Dato Ketemanggungan Alam Takambang Jadi Guru: Nature is the teacher Anjuang: annex


Balai: A place for meeting among ‘penghulu’ or head of the village Balai Adat: Community hall Baliang-baliang: Secondary roof beam Bandua: Interval space Bapaserek: type of a Great House Batabo: felling of the tree Batang Bengkaweh: Bengkaweh River located at Pariangan village Batu sandi or batu keras: footing made of river stone; Bendaharawan: treasurer Biliak: Room; bedroom; family apartments Bodi Caniago: democratic; also known as one of the earliest matriclan of Minangs Bulan Sahari: type of the rumah gadang roof Buluah or buluh: Bamboo


Cibuak: a small pond to wash feet before entering rumah gadang


Dapuar: kitchen Dapuar Ibu kecil: Ibu kecil’s kitchen Dapuar Ibu tuo: Ibu tuo’s kitchen Dinding ari: front wall Dinding tapi: side wall Dinding bukaan: wall that has openings


Gajah Maharam: type of a Great House Gonjong or bagonjong (pucuak atap): steep and pointed pitched roof


Ijuk: sugar palm fibre


Jeriau: Floor Joist Jurong: village Jerajak: series of stick in vertical alignment


Kabupaten: regency Kamar kecil: toilet Kampiar sasak: bracket that holds sasak bugis Kantor: office Kandang: pen Kapit: groove Kasau: rafter Kampiar sasak: bracket Koto Piliang: autocratic; also known as one of the earliest matriclan of Minangs


Labuah: hallway Lajur: row

Lantai:Floor Lambai-lambai: wall panel Lapau: a small sundry shop Lareh Nan Panjang: the origin of Bodi Caniago and Koto Piliang which practices both system of democratic and aristocratic Lengset: closet Lesuang or lesung: mortar for crushing food Loteng: attic Luhak: regency


Makam: Tomb Maorak Rabo: Site clearing Masajik/musajik (pl.): Mosque Musyawarah: deliberation Minangkabau: A society of Minangs in West Sumatra


Nagari: country Ninik: eldest women Ninik Mamak: eldest


Paku: nail Palanca: Long Beam Pangkal: root Panin: wall panel Papan kuniang: a type of yellow in color of wall panel decoration Papan sakapiang: wall panel located at the front wall of rumah gadang Paran: Roof Beam Pasak : peg Penghulu: chieftain Pondasi: Foundation Pucuak : Head Pusaka: heirloom; inheritance


Rabuang mambasuik : a type of the Great House roof design Rangkiang: Granary Rangkiang Kaciak: Small granary

Rasuak: wide beam Ruang: spaces Rumah Adat: the Great house of Minangkabau Rumah Gadang: the Great house of Minangkabau Rumah dapuar: kitchen house


Sangkutan Agung : beam Sandi: an act of footing Sasak : woven bamboo Sasak bugis: a type woven bamboo which is constructed at the structural element of rumah gadang Sapik Kalo:type of Great house roof design Sarambi : verandah Surau : musolla Surambi Papek : type of the Great house Salangko: wall enclosing space under a house that has been built on stilts Sigitan: Secondary Beam Si Bayau:Bayau : a type of granary Si Tangguang Lapa : a type of granary Si Tinjau Lauik : a type of granary Singo: roof gable Suku: matriclan Surau: praying place for Muslim that is smaller than a mosque and cannot conduct Friday prayer


Tabek: pond Tadir : woven enau as partition wall Tambo: legend Tambo Alam Minangkabau: historiography of Minangkabau Tajuak: verandah roof Tapian Mandi : Public bath Tanggam: Tongue and Groove Takuk: groove Taratak : shelter Tiang: Column Tonggak: Column /post

Tonggak Tuo: Central Post Tukang: carperter Tukang Tuo: house builder Turang: purlin


Ujung: End Ukiran: ornamentation Ulayat: land Universitas:university


Wali Nagari: Country Officer Wisata:Tourism




Rumah Gadang  

Rumah Gadang the minangkabau legacy “ Rumah gadang bari bapintu nak tarang jalan kahalaman kalau dikumpa saleba kuku jikok dikambang saleba...

Rumah Gadang  

Rumah Gadang the minangkabau legacy “ Rumah gadang bari bapintu nak tarang jalan kahalaman kalau dikumpa saleba kuku jikok dikambang saleba...