(1transarch, Vienna, Austria / 2Institute for Comparative Research in Architecture, Vienna, Austria / 3Vienna University of Technology, Department for History of Architecture and Building Archaeology, Austria)

The traditional architecture on the remote island of Nias in Indonesia is an outstanding example of adaptation to both environmental conditions and requirements of society and culture. The evolution of building typologies has resulted in refined structural and technical solutions for buildings as well as settlements. Within the frame of global changes in economy, society and culture in the past century, and due to catastrophic events in 2004/05, the architectural tradition on the island has declined and is currently on the verge of being lost. Photographic documentation and written reports are available for the most important regions and objects, the earliest dating back to the European explorers around 1900. The village of Hilimondregeraya in the South of Nias was recorded by the Danish explorer Agner Møller in 1925-27, and lends itself as an example. Later records were taken by Feldman, Viaro, Nielsen, Wolff and others. The authors have visited the village in 2005 shortly after the devastating earthquake, and Mechler has examined the situation in 2008 as part of her master thesis in reconstruction. The photographs and reports are used for a comparative research of the development of the village over a timeframe of almost a century, and for the investigation of the interrelations with historical events. For the documentation of the changes classical methods of architectural drawing and visualisation are used, together with graphic demonstration of detailed situations.
The presentation of the development over a long timeframe shall deliver information for the handling of cultural heritage and its documentation in the future.

Keywords: traditional building typology, photographic documentation, comparative studies