2012. július 23., hétfő
Asir ház, Szaúd-Arábia
2 IV.1 b Asir (Saudi Arabia, e)
The Asir tribe inhabits the cit)' of Abhä and its surrounding area in the highlands of the southern Hijaz, southwestern Saudi Arabia, which receives sufficient rainfall for a tradition of sheep and goat herding, agriculture and permanent settlements. Traditionally, the tribe is culturally related to North Yemen rather than Saudi Arabia. North Yemeni-influenced, rectangular, tower-like structures served as dwellings and defensive watch-towers to protect human life, livestock and grain from raiding, enemy tribes. The typical dwelling is three storeys composed of a rubble stone base with upper storeys built of layers of sun-dried earth with projecting slate courses.
The structure of the building, consisting of bearing walls and beams, tapers inward as it rises to a height of 11.5 m (38 ft). Natural rock formation or rammed earth provides a suitable foundation. Walls at the base of the structure measure nearly i m (3 ft) thick and diminish to 50 cm (20 in) at the top. The interior of the ground floor measures about 7 m x 8 m (23 ft x 26 ft) and contains two perpendicular bearing walls which extend through the entire height of the structure, dividing each floor into a staircase and three rooms of various sizes. Ceiling height is 2.65 m (8.7 ft). The exterior walls of the smallest top-floor room are often excluded to form a large balcony while the roof, accessible by ladder, is always used as a terrace. Rainwater is drained through a small hole in the i m (3 ft) balustrade leading to a carved-wood gutter projecting 1.5 m (5 ft) from the exterior wall.
The stone rubble base was constructed of rough-cut, local, weathered schist. Similar to a cavity wall, two parallel rows of schist were laid, one forming the outer leaf and one the inner. The cavity was filled with small pieces of stone rubble and a mortar composed of earth, straw and water. Walls were made smooth and stable by pounding small, thin pieces of slate into gaps. Upper storeys of sun-dried earth were constructed of a mixture of earth, straw and water. This pliable mixture was formed into large, solid balls which were put into place and pounded square by hand to form a 40 cm (16 in) high segment of a wall. Each layer wasallowed to dry for one to two days before the next was added. Slate coures projecting at a downward slope were placed between concentric layers to protect the soft earth from erosion by ram Floors and roof were constructed of unhewn beams of local timber, 30 cm (12 in) in diameter, laid at i m (3 ft) intervals with smaller limbs laid across perpendicularly Beams were left exposed on the ceiling but plastered smooth to form the floor above Interior walls were plastered smooth while exterior walls remained unplas-tered Masons and carpenters carried out specialized tasks and supervised construction while manual labour was done by the local community
The windowless ground floor, with one small entrance covered by a thick wooden door, was used to store food and shelter livestock, securing them from raiding enemy tribes Ground floors contain small holes in the walls for ventilation and the discharge of fiiearms Rooms in upper storeys, with wooden shuttered windows, were used without specific designation for storage, eating, sleeping, guest-rooms and socializing A bench of sun-dried earth 40 cm x 40 cm (16 in x 16 in) was built along the interior perimeter of each room and used for sitting and sleeping 1 he building contained no toilet facilities Cooking was done on an upper floor or terrace The latter was also used for socializing in the evening and provided an appropriate vista to watch for approaching enemies
Traditional dwellings have not been built since the mid-igóos, but pre-existing dwellings are being modernized, the exterior is often cemented and painted white in imitation of much preferred, modern, concrete-block houses Saudi control of the region was solidified by 1937, thus eliminating the need for defence Livestock and gram are today kept in small outbuildings and ground floors are converted to human living space Although men and women of the Asir had previously socialized together, the influence of Islamic fundamentalism from the Saudi political capital of Riyadh has resulted in their strict separation Iherefore, a women's entrance is added to the ground floor where the husband entertains male guests, while rooms on the upper floors are strictly designated for women