What are stilt houses?

[] Stilt houses are residential structures raised on an elevated platform. A stilt house is popular in environmentally-sensitive regions. Read on to learn more about the structure of stilt homes, stilt house in India, its popularity across the world and more

What is a stilt house?

Stilt houses in India are most commonly built in places that are prone to flooding, stilt houses are raised on stilts and are higher than a regular house. Regular homes are built on land but stilt houses use strong stilts, to avoid the risks of flooding or even pests and vermin. Stilt houses are found in which state in India? Stilt houses are found in Assam and these are also called as sang ghar in Assam.

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Stilt house: How does it look?

What are stilt houses?

Not just flooding, different regions and the people therein, construct stilt homes for various reasons. For example, while in Assam water villas (i.e., stilt homes) are common, in the Arctic such homes protect the inhabitants from the permafrost’s impact. Using stilts is one of the most effective ways to keep the permafrost stable. Note that permafrost in the Arctic is 70%-80% of water. Thus, if the homes were built at the ground level, the heat radiating out of the house would cause the frost to melt, causing the property to sink.

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Stilt houses around the world

Region Known as  Reasons for construction
Southern China Diaojiaolou (Traditional) To protect from stench emanating from water, poisonous vegetation and venomous snakes
Germany Heliotrope houses Used to harness solar energy for heat and warmth
The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore Kelong (Traditional) To facilitate fishing
The Philippines Bahay Kubo (Traditional) To help endure the climate and environment
Chile Palafito Serves to protect against hostile neighbourhoods and predators
Hong Kong Pang uk Developed from boat houses and popular among fisherfolk
Papua New Guinea Stilt house To protect against devastation caused by the sea
Australia Queenslander Protection of the main structure from termite and other pest attacks and also to prevent disasters caused due to flooding
Assam Sang Ghar Built in flood-prone areas
Vietnam Vietnamese stilt house To withstand flooding, especially in the countryside

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Stilt house in India: Materials used to make

The materials used for the construction of stilt houses include cement, wood, stone, bamboo or sometimes even mud, depending on the region. In many places, stilt houses are found in the countryside but commercial and modern-day variations of these houses are also popular. For example, the Queenslander, a typical residential architecture in Queensland was a stilt home evolved from a high-set single detached house made of timber and corrugated iron roof, located on a separate block of land. The verandah extended around the house to a varying extent but never really surrounded it. Many years later, home owners renovated their Queenslanders and the verandahs were absorbed, to construct more bedrooms.

Similarly, the traditional form of stilt houses across regions evolved, retaining certain architectural characteristics from the past, while other aspects were renovated, to suit modern-day lifestyles.

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Bamboo stilt houses

Assam witnessed one of its most devastating floods in 2017. The community, with local help, got together to revive the place. Erecting bamboo stilt houses, were one of the first things they did. Most suited for flood-prone areas, stilt bamboo houses are most commonly seen in Golaghat in Assam, India. Given the availability of high-quality bamboo, locals learnt to craft things out of bamboo, including sturdy housing shelters. Such homes almost became a necessity, given that the area was flooded almost thrice a year. In modern times, technology has been integrated with local knowledge, to come up with bamboo stilt houses suited to this region.

What are stilt houses?

Stilt house in India: Advantages

  • Stilt house in India can be built on the hills and it is one of the types of houses built in flood-prone areas. Stilt house materials used include bamboo, cement, wood and stone.
  • In a stilt house, ventilation is very good because of increased airflow below the floorboard and elevation that creates a cool surrounding.
  • The stilt houses give a very grand view to the residents owing to the elevation.
  • As it is built in an elevation, stilt house offers privacy and also protects from animals.
  • Stilt house in India can avail of flood insurance. Stilt houses in states like Assam should necessarily opt for flood insurance.

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Are bamboo houses safe?

Bamboo is stronger than wood and bamboo homes are used in areas that are prone to earthquakes, floods or other natural disasters. Bamboo is lightweight, flexible and is a sustainable material used for building. Overall, it is safe.

Can stilt homes protect from floods?

Yes, stilt homes are common in areas that are flood-prone, like parts of Assam. The elevated structures allow water to flow, without damaging the structure.

What is stilt level?

A stilt floor refers to the ground level portion of a building, consisting of the structural columns that support the super structure. A stilt floor is not the same as a stilt house.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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