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The Official Website of
Sarawak Museum Department
Longhouse ModelLonghouse Model


Longhouse Model

In Sarawak, the dominant tribal groups are the Dayak. Tribal people live in longhouse. There are the Iban (sea Dayak ), Bidayuh ( land Dayak ), Kayan and Kenyah. All of Malaysia's tribal people feel a strong spiritual connection to the rainforest. The Dayak plant rice, fruit, hunt, poultry and fish. The longhouse is the very centre of communal life in Sarawak. There are over 4500 longhouses in Sarawak. These communal house built in silts may contain 100 individual families in separate apartment built under one long roof. The rainforest is the home of 27 ethnic group each with own distinct language and culture. The real longhouse experience begins with journey upriver. River travel in a perahu- a shallow draught canoe affords you the pleasure of seeing Sarawak at its best. Longhouses differ slightly from tribe to tribe but share the same basic characteristics. Traditional longhouses are no longer easy to find. The rapid development of Sarawak has led to easy access to modern materials such as bricks and concretes. New materials are one reason for changes in design. Development has become a major cultural ideal for people of longhouses. However local builders often ignore the universal design concept of the longhouse. These changes are made without any knowledge of designs. They should be educated with the universal design concept in order to create living excellence. It is also vital to educate builders with the basic principles of universal design in order to have sustainable development in future. Therefore, they should be exposed to universal design principles through design awareness activities include the needs of children and the elderly. The government could produce a standard a longhouse plan to the chiefs of longhouse.