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Re-establishing traditional stilt structures in contemporary architecture–The possibilities

TamilSalvi Mari (School of Architecture, Design, and Building, Taylor's University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Jin Liew (School of Architecture, Design, and Building, Taylor's University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Veronica Ng (School of Architecture, Design, and Building, Taylor's University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)

Archnet-IJAR

ISSN: 2631-6862

Article publication date: 26 August 2022

Issue publication date: 17 March 2023

312

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to explore factors affecting stilt construction and the possibilities of using innovative materials and construction methods to re-establish the traditional stilt structures.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a qualitative research method using an in-depth interview with selected architects to document experience and insights of the architects on the challenges and possibilities of using innovative materials and construction methods to re-establish the traditional stilt structures. Purposive sampling was used to determine the respondents for the study. Architects with experience designing stilt houses in architects' architectural practice were selected to take in the study.

Findings

Study revealed that generally architects are keen on using stilt structures. Building materials and costs associated with designing and constructing stilt structures were identified as the key challenges. However, architects suggest using recycled building materials as possible solutions to encourage the construction of stilt structures in Malaysia. The architects also preferred to use hybridized recycled materials for stilt structures as hybridized materials have improved structural properties and functions. Additionally, the study identified “psychological hesitation” or “accessibility” as a factor affecting the construction of stilt buildings.

Research limitations/implications

Throughout this study, some limitations have been dealt with. The first is the limitation of sample size. Contemporary stilt architecture is not very common in Malaysia today, and not many architects have experience in designing stilt houses. Although the method of purposive sampling was used, a larger sample size could have generated a more diverse result. The second limitation is the dearth of research on contemporary stilt houses in Malaysia. As stilt construction is uncommon in Malaysia and the existing material focuses primarily on traditional Malay houses, this has been one of the major challenges. Finally, most of the literature on stilt construction is from Southeast Asia, limited or insufficient studies and literature on local stilt construction would have a greater benefit to the study.

Practical implications

The outcomes from this study would benefit the scholars who have an interest in exploring stilts construction in contemporary architecture as well as innovative construction materials and construction methods. As the study brings forth the challenges and possibilities of restoring the traditional stilt constructions, the study can be used as a reference by designers to garner a deeper understanding of the traditional stilt construction and encourage designers to focus on possible innovations for stilt construction from the aspects of materials and methods in ensuring the traditional element is present in future design and construction.

Originality/value

The study is a response to an obvious dearth body of knowledge in stilt construction in the Malaysian context. The study identifies the key challenges and possible and practical solutions. The findings of this study represent a scholastic effort that can be used as a reference by academics and scholars.

Keywords

Citation

Mari, T., Liew, J. and Ng, V. (2023), "Re-establishing traditional stilt structures in contemporary architecture–The possibilities", Archnet-IJAR, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 88-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARCH-12-2021-0353

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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