Descriptive and somewhat elusive, sketchy historical notes exist for possible cultural links between ethnic people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh, South Asia, and ethnic people across the national borders in Southeast Asia. Yet, there is a curious lack of research that uses vernacular architecture or ethnic architectural building typology as a key tool to establish, or reiterate, the common proposition that CHT is the western fringe of a Southeast Asian cultural sphere. Historically, language has been a standard tool used by both colonial British rulers and a few anthropologists to consider the topic of reconstruction of cultural heritage in this geographically complex region, while architecture has played an incidental part. In this article, we examine the stilt or platform typology of vernacular architecture of the CHT as a tool to reflect on the inter-ethnic cultural position of the CHT. The chosen analytical framework hinges on the notion that architecture is constructive, in parallel to language, in establishing a heritage position. The concluding findings of the article establish CHT as a historic region with shared Southeast Asian building-cultural features, notwithstanding the possibility of correspondence to early Austronesian building heritage.
- Austronesian Heritage
- Building Technology and Culture
- Southeast Asian-Type Vernacular House Form
- Stilt Architecture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies