One of the unique architecture of the Central Highlands in Vietnam are the communal houses (Nhà rông). If you have ever visited this area you must have noticed that they are build with incredible high roofs.
Certainly there are different things to consider in building a communal house. But it seems, as I spoke to some of the elders, that the most important part is not the height or number of the pillars, but the length. For instance, if the length of a common mutual house is 8m, so the height from ground to floor should be 1.5m, the width of the two heads: 4m, the height from roof to the ground: 8m, and the length of each roof 2/3 the length of the widest part of the house width.
OK you didn’t get it – neither did I. The point is that those dimensions are given out after questioning the height immediately without crunching on a fixed formula. I was told that if this proportion is broken, the communal house is not only out of the artistic feature but also unable to stand against the weather.
Local people consider these houses as solemn and sacred places. It is as well a symbol of power because local people gather here for common activities.
These houses represents the ascendancy and wealth of a village. They play an important role in life and it is a place for gods to stay.
Spiritual activities of local people take place here and the houses are decorated with beautiful patterns. The place most often chosen is in the center of the village. This is an ancient architecture which is not preserved in many villages any more.
As to my knowledge, Kon Tum district has built 575 of these houses and repaired old houses in hamlets, and villages.