By Roxana Waterson
Tuttle, $29.95, 263 pages
The Living House details how space, family, and social structure has influenced Southeast Asian architecture. The Living House is geared toward anthropologists, but will be interesting to architects, scholars and anyone else fascinated by Southeast Asia. This comprehensive, well-researched book primarily focuses on Indonesia, but also includes information about Japan, Madagascar and the Pacific Islands.
“For the anthropologist, the study of inhabited space, its construction and daily use, can provide a ‘way in” to a whole culture and its ideas.”
The Living House explores the how different aspects of Southeast Asian cultures influence architectural styles. A sense of community and social well-being were clearly taken into account in these magnificent examples of architecture that feature courtyards or other large gathering places. Platforms were designed with rituals and the storage of ancestral heirlooms in mind. There are numerous examples cited by color or black and white photographs. This is a truly well-researched and well-documented treasure trove of knowledge for anyone intrigued by Southeast Asia.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff