An earthquake resistant house designs have been a compulsory construction for home owners living in the ring of fire areas such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipine and Japan. Just building a concrete houses will not be enough. Architects who design earthquake resistant houses must add steel frames inside the concrete beam and columns to reinforce them. A building information modeling software such as Archicad and Revit must equip themselves with structural analysis features. So far, only Revit from Autodesk that has got the structural features which can help architects design and analyze the structure of buildings.
For traditional wooden houses, the material which is mostly used is of course the wood. Wood if well preserved and dried is one of the best construction materials for houses.
In Minahasa of North Sulawesi, people build houses mainly from wood. Minahasa is a region in northern part of Sulawesi island. There are a number of active volcanoes which often erupt and cause earthquakes. So, the house construction there is mostly made from wood.
The kinds of wood which Minahasan people use are coconut, lingua, cempaka and sometimes besi or merbau. Old coconut tree which is not productive anymore in producing palm oil will then be cut and converted into home building material.
The wooden house of Minahasa looks beautiful in terms of their architecture. Architecture is the art and science of buildings. Although the traditional builders of Minahasan wooden houses have never taken any formal education, their designs are really environmentally friendly and united with the nature. Tourists who visit Minahasa often buy these wooden houses in Woloan village. This village has exported their knock down wooden houses to many countries around the world.
Wooden house can be one of the best home materials due to its earthquake resistant properties but it is not fire resistant. To minimize the risk of burning, architects must apply new design approach to their wooden house by applying fire resistant materials to some parts of the house. This can include fire resistant drapes and wall paper, as well as kitchen room made of ceramic materials.
When the new approach has been applied to the design of an earthquake resistant Minahasan house, it will be able to enter wider market of worldwide wooden house trade. I hope. by Charles Roring