The Jineng building remains our joyful friend.

pict0129.jpgA woman named Sri graduated from Senior High School two years ago and her joy was immense when she entered her favored tourism school in the Nusa Dua area. Her parents were also very happy seeing the joy of t heir only daughter.

Sri’s parents were rich farmers from a small village in Bali. A village, which is surrounded by green, wide-terraced rice fields with beautiful view, the kind that can be seen on postcards. However, Sri considered that her village was place which is distracted her form the glitter of the world; the fancy things, her favorite soap operas, and youth trends. Staying longer in the village, she felt, was not her choice, but her destiny led her to start her life there. Most Balinese young people would prefer to work in the tourism industry; in a luxury modern hotel in the southern part of Bali than to deal with the mud and dirt of the rice field in the village.

The time to make her dream come true had arrived and she didn’t want to lose the opportunity. Sri presented a new job for her parents as a land seller, And of course, it was difficult for them. As farmers, they did not much know about the bureaucracy of selling land. However, their hard-work to fight for their daughter’s education in the future, made them willing to sell the land which had been their life support thus far. They used half of the money they received from selling the land to pay for their daughter’s education in Nusa Dua. And another half for ngaben (cremation ceremony), and renovation the sanggah (the family temple) as the Balinese do in general.

Now, the jineng is only the empty space, which is never filled with the rice anymore, because the rice field has been turned into cash. The only thing left is the glory from the past where the jineng was the executor social status and the prosperity of the owner. The size means the bigger the power. The landlord is not able to work on their wide rice field alone, is he? And all will follow the landlord who gives the people work with their rice field.

In Balinese architecture, the jineng’s location is strategically near the main entrance and the family kitchen. Beside its function as a granary, it also has the function for additional kitchen activities. The jineng is divided into tree vertical spaces. The lowest space is used for keeping the farming tools. The middle is an open air room for resting after working in the rice field, and also as a place for hanging out and having guests. And the top or the main space is for the deposit place. This granary has a small doors, which only fit for one person; it symbolize the culture of spending padi, so that it will only be used when necessary. The alang-alang (elephant grass) roof, which is high and puppy, is to keep the temperature inside so it won’t be too moist in order to make the rice dry. This unique typology makes the jineng different from the other traditional buildings around it.

That is the reason it stimulates local Balinese or worldwide architect to use the jineng as a design development object. The use of the jineng concept into the commercial housing are like the villas I build is also my contribution to conserve Balinese culture even though its function is changing, “says Made, an architect who graduated from university in Bali. “The jineng doesn’t have a narrow entrance anymore; it’s all five start hotel standard king size beds, the newest flat LCD screen television and even indoor Jacuzzis that are today’s elements of the Jineng interior. The air circulation is operated by AC, to make it comfy for all season.”

The transformation of this granary store into a component of the commercial housing area has been realized since 1959 by one of the hotels in the tourism area of Sanur. The hotel, which is located 100 meters from the beach, uses jineng as one the attractions in order to bring the tourists in. Agung the receptionist who has been working there for along time revealed that, “Most tourist prefers to stay in the jineng rather than in the other rooms. “The development of materials and the trends of design do not close to the possibility of this structure getting a new look, both to in façade and its interior. “I have been working here for 25 years, and it’s been renovated several time since I first arrived, “Agung explained. “The architect should work with the operator in enriching the concept so that it can reach an optimal performance, not only followed the trend. It is expansive to maintain the jineng.”

The condition of the jineng that is owned by Sri’s family and the jineng where Agung works are completely different. For Sri’s parents, the jineng is just a reflection of the rice field they sold and the daughter who studies in the city. The jineng is lonesome in the emptiness of Sri’s parents. While, the jineng in Agung work’s place is the well maintain busy jineng.

Both these two jineng can be use as metaphor to modern Bali. While they may appear to have forgotten the philosophical side of architecture; architecture representing the culture where it exist, this is a greater machination at work. The jineng is evolving more or less at the same speed and in the same direction as the Balinese people themselves. While the jineng has lost its original function, it has evolved leaving its original character behind, embracing the new world. “Yeah, while before the jineng was the symbol of my hard work, now this jineng is only a decoration, “says Pak Ketut, Sri Parent.

+This article has been published on FRV Magazine