Design Rule and Social Dimensions of the Bengkilas of Vernacular Limas Houses in South Sumatra

Ibnu Aziz, Ari Siswanto, Ngakan Putu Sueca, Dadang Hikmah Purnama


This article explores the guidelines used to theoretically and empirically determine the bengkilas' measurement of Limas house to understand how the social dimension is integrated into the vernacular housing design process. This goal was achieved by conducting a multi-case study, mixed methods, interviews with four interviewees chosen purposively because of their limas house ownership and recognition of expertise in its architecture, and measurements on 30 limas houses in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia. The data was collected quantitatively through measurements of the dimensions of the house and qualitatively through interviews with community leaders. Previous research literature was also used to cross-examine various interviewees' statements. This literature was likely to be local studies that cannot be avoided due to the lack of international publications related to the limas house. The guideline used in determining the size of bengkilas is the dulang module system and the step count system. The social dimension can be seen from the priority of space to share food in the house based on the dish module. Based on the study results, a theory was developed which explained that the origins of bengkilas were semi-public space instead of social stratification. Governments trying to revitalize vernacular housing for reasons of tourism, culture, or preservation, can build on the findings of this study to build sustainable housing design. This article contributes to the understanding of vernacular design that exists today.


Vernacular housing; bengkilas; dish module; revitalize; limas house.

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