Alang Alang Grass Roof

atauro_086.jpgGrass roof construction – alang alang

The grass roofs on the homes in Atauro last at least 10 years.

atauro_139.jpgTraditional grass roof construction

The framework is put up and bunches of grass are held in place between 2 strips of bamboo and layered starting from the edge and working up to the ridge.

They can hold up to cyclonic winds and heavy rain and really look fine when completed.

atauro_096.jpg Many locals have switched to the galvanized tin roofs for the prestige and the ease in putting one up but the traditional grass roof is well insulated so the house does not heat up so bad in the day.

Those tin roofs are like an oven but they give the owner the look like he is a player and impressions go a long way in Timor.

atauro_113.jpg The grass is cut from fields and cleaned, wrapped in bundles and tied.

They are then hoisted to the guys working the roof and methodically layered in neat rows.

Some builders get the bundles made up before they start the building, but others make them below as they go.

atauro_131.jpgThere were a few fellows building a round meeting place or church just up the road from Nema’s Lodge and they were happy to have me take a few photos.

I have never noticed this construction method before.

Usually the builders used a palm leaf instead of grass, a method that goes up a lot quicker but doesn’t last as long or look as good.

Alang Alang Grass Roof Construction

Atauro Island

Nov 26, 2006

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