Nanga Sumpa Lodge
Sarawak, Malaysia

Part of Malaysia’s longest-running community-based tourism initiative, the lodge is a gateway to protected forests harbouring endangered orangutans: ecotourism offers a buffer against the drive towards deforestation for palm oil production. The brief to replace a wooden structure built in 1989 and expanded ad hoc specified that a jungle lodge feel must be retained: comfort, not luxury. The design takes cues from the many-doored traditional Iban longhouse. Connected by sheltered walkways, the buildings encircle a lush courtyard where fruit and vegetables are grown for the lodge kitchen. Over a third of the construction budget was channelled into local wages and services, including the labour-intensive process of producing biocrete from local materials for soundproofing. Brought here on traditional longboats, woven split bamboo panels - a local craft revival initiative - offer varying levels of daylight, ventilation, and privacy. Treated sewage waste fertilises an adjacent orchard by underground percolation, avoiding discharge into the river.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Sarawak, Malaysia
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Associated Names
Completed 2019
830 m²
Building Usages
urban design and development