Sa’o The Unifying Heritage

Author : Wita Simatupang, Sandrak Manurung, Brina Ramadhani |Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia (Indecon) | 2016

The traditional architecture is often misunderstood as a manifestation of a backward condition. This is because the traditional architecture is seen as a product of a desire to create harmony between the environment and the human living in it. Such interpretation is an incorrect view of the traditional architecture. This little book about Ngadha architecture does not just describe the architectural concept behind the sa’o traditional house in detail, but also brilliantly point out a strong association between village architecture in Ngada with the daily life of village people, by outlining various meanings during rituals invoked in the construction of the sa’o traditional house. In light of these descriptions, it is clear that the main priority of an architectural concept is to accommodate the social-cultural life of its people. However, architecture also integrates other aspects of life and most importantly, the ecological dimension of a social life. The decision to start building a village at a certain location is often determined by ecological aspects. From this perspective, the job of an architect is to coordinate the spatial relationship between various buildings with social functions, and place them in the existing ecological context. This results in the establishment of a holistic socio-ecological unity, which becomes a “habitat” for its inhabitants. The book is divided into several segments, which discussed the culture and people of Ngadha; 3(three) traditional villages (kampongs) at Ngada; the architecture of the village and the house (called Sa’o at local language); its construction techniques; ornaments and decorations; and its associated rituals (namely Ka Sa’o). In 2017, the book had received an award from IAI Jakarta (Association of Indonesian Architects, Jakarta chapter) under the category “Thinking and Writing of Architecture”.