Batak architecture (also spelled Battak or Batta), refers to the related architectural traditions and designs of the various Batak peoples of North Sumatra Indonesia. The term Batak is one in every of convenience, likely coined during pre-colonial times by indigenous outsiders (e.g., the Malay) and later adopted by Europeans. There are six groups of Batak who speak separate but related languages: the Angkola, the Mandailing to the south, the Toba, to the north the Pakpak/Dairi, the Simalungun, and therefore the Karo. Two Batak tribes are Muslim while Christian are the Toba and another tribe. People of Batak Toba are concentrated around Lake Toba, the largest caldera lake in the world. Their buildings, with their prominent boat-shaped roofs and finely-decorated carvings, are among the most distinctive in Indonesia. The bale (meeting hall), rumah (house), and sopo (rice barn) are the three main building types common to the various Batak groups. Even there are major variations in the architecture and village configurations of the six Batak communities. Houses of Batak Toba are clustered in groups of ten or less, making up small villages. Because of frequent warfare in the past with the other tribes, the houses are built close together, often side-by-side (though rarely linked). There was always significance or a sense behind any varying type. Hence the shape and meaning of the Batak Toba house may well be interesting objects of research. This research used random samples of Batak Toba houses within the regions of Samosir and Tobasa of the North Sumatera province, within which their inhabitants are mainly from the Batak Toba tribe.
The Batak Toba home is organized vertically into three distinct zones. The lower zone the realm beneath the house raised on piers functioned as a piece area and as an open-air pen for animals. The subsequent zone the ground of the home is a living area where as many as four different families crowded together (nowadays there’s usually one family per house). The architectural and interior styles of the Batak Toba house can’t be separated from the beliefs of the Batak Toba tribe regarding the harmony between human life and therefore the universe (macrocosm and microcosm). A house was the embodiment of the human life cycle from birth until death. It represented the ideas and views of family values, coexistence, and social life and represented the ideals of physical safety and security. The original Toba Batak houses were large communal houses, but these are now uncommon, with most of the houses now being designed in the ethnic Malay style with both modern and traditional material. Ladders were often used to access the living area from the ground, and the ladder could be easily removed and the opening sealed in times of war. At present, many families have installed stairs for convenience. The massive steeply-pitched saddle back roof dominates the structure. The roofs are traditionally thatched, and with no internal roof trusses, they supply an outsized internal space. The roofs of the Batak Toba houses are formed of sago palm fiber thatch, held along with rattan cords. The open platform under the roof framework was used as a working and general storage area, and as a dormitory for visitors and unmarried men. The upper floor, which extends around 1/3 of the depth in from the front of the building, is the building’s highest and most important point. Most homes, however, have abandoned the labor-intensive thatched roof and converted it into zinc metal roofs which are much more resilient in the humid environment.