The Architecture Of The House
This traditional Perak Malay house is two storey high and has its living quarters elevated from the ground. The Rumah Ibu, is held together with simple solid wooden frame and is rectangular in shape, with the front of house (Serambi) facing the main road or entrance. The house layout is hierarchically arranged and is divided into two parts, the Public and the Private domains. There are two staircases into the elevated Rumah Ibu, one a grand main staircase leading to the Serambi, which is used by visitors and another, a side staircase, often used as a private entrance.
Referring to the floor plan, the Serambi is divided into three parts for the different functions i.e. reading, entertaining, greeting of guest and for children to sleep.
Right behind the ‘Public Areas’, and separated by a wall and door are two main bedrooms. Timber lattice framework above the wall and the door provides the ventilation. A ‘Selang’ at the center of the house was created to provide transitional space between the main house and the back of the Rumah Ibu. It is essential a “break”, seperating and facilitating different functions of the house. The second staircase leads to the Selang which provides a space for guest or others to be greeted, pause or rest before proceeding to the other parts of the house (Rumah Tengah and Serambi).
The Selang also leads to the Private Areas, a third bedroom and an open space usually used for family dining. Here, traditionally, the womenfolk of the house would usually sit on a floor or a “Tikar” (mat) to gather, chat, eat and socialize.
The “Dapur” or kitchen is located at the back of the house which is situated at a level below. It is also separated by a staircase which leads up to the family dining area (Rumah Tengah). As the house is made of wood and open burning for cooking was normally used, this separation offers a firebreak. A back entrance, which leads directly to the ground level is often used by female guest to enter the house. Preparation of food, cooking, eating and washing by the womenfolk often carried out here in a lively and often noisy atmosphere. The toilet and bathroom space is attached to this kitchen area.
A storeroom area is located underneath the Rumah Ibu. As it was a planter house, equipment and fertilizers to tend to the rubber planting is normally stored here.