Rumah Budaya Sumba

Waetabula, South West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, 2011

The initial design was to make two Sumba houses facing a main plaza. One of the house will functioned as a museum, while the other function as a research centre as well as a guest house. Later in the design development, we came accross another idea to make a compound of three Sumba houses facing the main plaza to accomodate more activities. However, for the first phase of construction, the third house will not be built. Two Sumba houses are constructed at the same time with the main plaza.

Father Robert Ramone led his team of local workers and craftsmen for this project, while the Rumah Asuh team came to visit several times on the construction milestones.

The construction process started at the beginning of 2010. Followed by several technical issues at the beginning, the construction process finally finished by the end of October 2011. The opening of this Cultural Center is then celebrated by several days of dancing and Sumba cultural festival.



Sumba is one of the island in Indonesia, in which the oldest megalithic culture are still exist until today. Although their traditional villages are still widely spread in the island due to their strong belief in their ancient religion : Marapu, modernization are starting to take place. New materials such as zinc started to replace the original thatched roof for their traditional houses - the Uma Pangembe.

This project was initiated by Father Robert Ramone, C SsR, a local Catholic priest whose heart is in Sumba culture as well as their development and preservation. Rumah Asuh first met Father Robert in 2008 during the trip to Sumba and Flores. Born and raised in Bondo Kodi, one of the village in South West Sumba, he is actively involved in the publication and the development of the Sumba culture until today. 

Starting as a photographer, It was his long-term dream to build a cultural centre for Sumba. He believes that Sumba has a truly rich culture, while at the same time needing intense caring and development. Therefore, a cultural house- where culture research could be done, performances could be held, heritage could be displayed and maintained - is hoped to be a place where the future development of Sumba culture will be started.

Working closely with the local community, the land for this project has been prepared by Father Robert Ramone when the project officially began. A beautiful piece of land in Waetabula - a city close to Tambolaka airport surrounded by rows of coconut trees are ready to be developed. As the project started, not only the people of West Sumba - where it is located- are excited, but also the people from other parts of Sumba are coming  regularly to this place for the cultural events

This project is fully supported by Mrs Lisa Tirto Utomo and Tirto Utomo Foundation.

Father Robert Ramone ( acts as the local leader throughout the construction process, until its operational today.