Lumbung or Balinese rice barn is a Balinese traditional architecture that is used by Balinese to store rice after the harvest, nowadays, is quite hard to be found in the agricultural areas of Bali but it can be found easily in tourism area especially in the hotel compounds. Lumbung has undergone a great expansion in its function from storing rice to housing the tourist.
Lumbung is built on four poles; usually stand between 1 1/2 meter and 2 meters up from ground level. The upper storage area often has a distinct omega shape. The roof is generally covered with alang-alang grass and the sides are made of woven, split bamboo or wood. The pole support structure beneath the raised, enclosed rice barn is open with no walls.
A floor or platform is constructed of wood and bamboo about 1/2 meter above the ground. This lower platform provides a convenient, shady place for people to sit and relax. The function of Lumbung is basically to store rice. In old days, the economic activities were usually done by barter and there was no decent road and transportation to transport the rice from the rice fields to the market so the Lumbung served a vital function.
Lumbung at that time could also become a symbol of social status; richer farmer usually has bigger Lumbung than the others. But with rapid development of Bali, the farmers of Bali implement a better way to increase their rice production, and they can sell their harvest easily since the road access from rice fields to markets has been in good condition and there are many means of transportation available to transport the harvest.
So they no longer need to store their harvest in the Lumbung, they only bring a small amount of their harvest home to be used as an offering for Goddess Sri, the goddess of rice. They now store their harvest in the form of money. Why? Because, they should pay production cost such as the purchasing of fertilizer, pesticide, hybrid seed and rental cost of hand tractor for cultivating the land, the fee of the harvesters and other additional costs.
Moreover saving money is easier than storing the rice which are very vulnerable from mice and weather. Nowadays, the Lumbung, no longer plays important role in farmers life in Bali moreover as the family members increased more and more space is needed for housing, and surely the Lumbung, which no longer needed, is the first one to be cut down, thus the number of Lumbung has gradually decreased.
However, with the advance of tourism, Lumbung now serve other purpose; it houses the tourists. Many bungalow and villa are build based on Lumbung style; it is said that Lumbung creates a sense of “Bali-ness” in the architecture,though no Balinese would ever dream to sleep on the upper platform of the Lumbung.