Construction Techniques In South And Southeast Asia: A by Jacques Dumarcay

By Jacques Dumarcay

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The use of unburnt bricks is exceptional during this period, but it becomes a common practice during the following period, for example for the construction of ramparts and palaces. 69 In his definition of pisé, Littré remarks: “they stand joined slats together in two parallel rows between which they throw the mud which they then step on. When the mud is packed tight and slightly dried, the slats are removed”. His definition of cob: “mortar composed of clay and cut straw, used for certain constructions.

This was probably created around the 18th century, and is depicted on a fresco in the Wat Buak Klok Luang in Chiang Mai (fig. 12). The artisans also gave this tool a beautiful form (Ph. 5, bottom). The assembly of the wooden structures often consisted of simple layering with no embedding. For example, the floors of different storeys of the pavilions at the entry to the temple of Chindambaran rest on joists placed over the beams. A small piece of wood tops the pillar simply to increase the support area.

This technique was widely used in southern India. It is still in use in Kerala with variations, including the setting up of a “horizontal framing in the roof” which prevents the rafters from bending (fig. 29). The advantage of this technique is that its set-up allows for the benefit of a larger space. To ensure this, the “horizontal framing in the roof” is generally placed as high as possible, sometimes even encircling the newel. Radiating framework is also used in Insulinde, in particular in Java, Bali and Lombok.

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