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Architecture of Brunei

The most authentic and oldest form of architecture in Brunei is domestic (home) architecture. Since most of the country lies on the water, wooden stilt houses were the living arrangements for most of time as they tend to be fairly open to let in the breeze to cool the houses. Although the people have moved away from this style of house to more modern amenities, Kampong Ayer is still home to many houses in this style.

Over time the architectural styles changed slowly and with no great leaps other than with the introduction of Islam. As a part of the trading world for hundreds of years Indian and Chinese influences slowly entered the region, but it wasn't until about the 1400s when Islam arrived did the style change greatly. The greatest change at this time wasn't in style, but rather in structure as mosques and other Islamic buildings were constructed.

Since this time little has changed; the British added some changes, but more importantly brought in new building techniques and materials to be used and most of the country's commercial, public, and religious buildings today are built with this new technology.

Among the greatest buildings in the country, first among them is the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque (1958) in Bandar Seri Begawan. The Royal Palace of the Sultan of Brunei is also an architectural masterpiece and is again very symbolic of the local architecture.

This page was last updated: July, 2012