This style of structure is often used in palace architecture of Malay kings, and in government buildings.Using renewable natural materials including timber and bamboo, the dwellings are often built without the use of metal including nails.The effort to preserve indigenous architectural styles of Indonesian archipelago has been conducted through documentation and create replicas in provinces pavilions in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta.A Grand Malay derived from the Lipat Kajang style and extended with Limas roof style, Riau Pavilion, Taman Mini Indonesia theme park.The basic design of a roof on a Malay house is gabled roof, an extended frame with ornaments on the edges of the roof.The vernacular Malay roof is best suited for hot and humid tropical climates.In Riau and Jambi there are several different styles, especially of the roof design.The Rumah Lancang or Rumah Lontik have curved roof with boat-like structure on stilts. The Rumah Lipat Kajang have flat roof structure with crossing edges forming "x" pinnacle on corners of the roof.
The roof of traditional Malay houses are designed to provide shade and protection from heat and rain, as well as to provide ventilation.
Proportion was important to give the house a human scale.
The Rumah Ibu was named after the spacings between stilts which are said to typically follow the arms-spread width of the wife and mother in the family of the house when being built.
However traditional buildings require significant maintenance compared to modern construction; how to preserve wooden materials from the decaying effect of tropical weather as well as termite problems.
These traditional skills are gradually being lost as Malaysia continues its process of industrialisation, while in Indonesia traditional houses have still survived in rural areas.
Instead pre-cut holes and grooves are used to fit the timber elements into one another, effectively making it a 'prefabricated house'.