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Spatial evolution of Sama-Bajau houses in coastal area of Sabah

Ismail, Iziq Eafifi (2018) Spatial evolution of Sama-Bajau houses in coastal area of Sabah. PhD thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Faculty of Built Environment.


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The Sama-Bajau is an illustrious and colourful ethnic community with a history that goes as far back as the golden age of the Brunei Sultanate. They were heavily involved in the maritime expansion of both the Brunei and Sulu Sultanates and their ethnic diaspora was scattered all over the coastal areas in North Borneo, creating vestiges of settlements that continue to thrive until this day. Their history was marked by stages of social mobility that saw their physical dwellings evolve from nomadic boat dwelling to sedentary coastal houses. A review of the literature has identified two major categories of coastal houses namely the primal house, a rudimentary house of Sama-Bajau and the modern coastal houses, commonly found nowadays in the coastal areas. However, in modern days, these coastal houses are often viewed in disdain as if they hold no significant heritage and qualities. This thesis aims to investigate the evolution of the coastal Sama-Bajau boat houses into sedentary coastal houses, in search of their spatial qualities, semiotics, patterns, and preferences, and eventually contribute to the documentation of spatial variations. The locations of this research were in three coastal areas in Sabah representing north-coast (Pitas), eastcoast (Semporna) and west-coast (Kota Kinabalu) through selected coastal villages of the Sama Bajau. This research employs field research that requires direct contact with the subjects of the study and uses inductive methodology to generate theoretical data. Diagrams were also used to elucidate spatial patterns and variations for classification. Data were obtained through observations, interviews, and documentation of audiovisual recordings. Qualitative data analysis was conducted and the data were classified accordingly. Findings show that there are similarities between boat houses and coastal houses of the Sama-Bajau in terms of spatial progression and individual functions. Documentation of spatial arrangements of individual houses reveals the existence of a core space (consists of a guest area and a sleeping chamber), of which arrangements could be classified into four different variations. Findings also show that modern coastal houses are concentrated towards a linear configuration of spaces. The research postulates that certain spaces of the Sama-Bajau coastal houses such as ‘verandah’ and ‘platform’ have become less relevant as they modernize through eliciting preferences and values. This research serves as an important documentation to enhance awareness on the significance of Sama-Bajau coastal houses and contributes towards the knowledge pool about the ethnic community.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Thesis (Doktor Falsafah (Seni Bina)) - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2018; Supervisor : Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Sani Hj. Ahmad
Subjects:T Technology > TH Building construction
Divisions:Built Environment
ID Code:84062
Deposited By: Fazli Masari
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 10:10
Last Modified:05 Nov 2019 04:36

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