Myanmar's teak farmhouses


Read the article below about Myanmar traditional teak farmhouses and answer the multiple choice questions.

  • Remember to identify keywords in the questions and the differences in the options

  • Then find the section in the article relating to each question.

  • Read the sentences in that section of the text carefully and decide which option is correct.

World Monuments Watch list is created:

  1. ever year

  2. twice a year

  3. every two year

When Myanmar was ruled by kings,

  1. houses were built in a very standardised way

  2. the design of houses reflected a person's social rank

  3. most houses were made of teak

Teak was traditionally used

  1. to build dwellings for monks

  2. in the building of colonial homes

  3. to build expensive houses

The traditional farmhouses were designed:

  1. to house humans and animals

  2. to prevent damage from fires

  3. to be safe from flooding

Many farmhouses owners are;

  1. holding onto their farmhouses

  2. replacing the teak in their houses

  3. selling their homes to get money from the teak

The World Monuments Fund's goal is

  1. to document and record examples of important architectural sites

  2. preserve important architectural and cultural sites

  3. provide jobs for local people

What is the meaning of these five words used in the article?

biennial / sumptuary / monastic / architectural / conserve

 

Traditional Myanmar farmhouses made from teak have been selected for the biennial 2020 World Monuments Watch list. The farmhouses were chosen by the World Monuments Fund so they can be studied and documented as they are considered to be architectural sites of great historical and social significance.


Elevated above ground on a structure of sturdy teak wood, with bamboo walls and a thatched roof, the farmhouse building type is the embodiment of a centuries-long building culture in Myanmar. Under successive kingdoms, dwellings in Myanmar were subject to sumptuary laws ensuring that building height, materials, and construction techniques were consistent with a person’s status in society. The end of monarchy and the colonial period saw the end of sumptuary restrictions on building, allowing for grander houses to be built using teak, a material that had once been restricted to monastic architecture alone.


Drawing on a tradition of wood joinery and carving, farmhouses were built on sturdy posts, supporting a broad platform and a sparsely furnished main level. A covered staircase gave access from below, while the space beneath the house provided shelter for livestock and a place to store agricultural tools. Roofs were built of thatch, which always represented the risk of fire, and were increasingly replaced with corrugated iron after the nineteenth century.


Today, in Myanmar, many farmhouse owners are opting to replace their homes with modern buildings that allow for a higher level of comfort. Old farmhouses are sold as their historic building materials, especially teak wood, continue to command a high price in the market. But little documentation of the disappearing farmhouses exists in libraries and archives. Through a new academic partnership, students will research and document select examples of farmhouses. The documentation process has the potential to elevate the status of the buildings in the eyes of their owners, and drive a reappraisal of the cultural values inherent in this building tradition.


The World Monuments Fund is a leading independent organisation devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. For more than 50 years, working in more than 100 countries, its experts have applied proven techniques to preserve important architectural and cultural heritage sites. The World Monuments fund has helped conserve more than 600 sites globally, provide advocacy for some 800 structures, raised over USD300 million and empower locals as employees or trainees in locations where the crucial monuments are located.

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