This book draws on many sources of information, from both architects and anthropologists, as well as the author's own first-hand research. As it probes into the centrally significant role of houses within South-East Asian social systems, it reveals new insights into kinship systems, gender symbolism, and cosmological ideas, ultimately uncovering basic themes concerning the idea of life and processes themselves. A picture is produced of how people shape buildings and buildings shape people, as rules about layout and the uses of space are shown to have a remarkable impact on social relationships. The book concludes with a consideration of some present day processes of change as these affect the fate of indigenous architectures. Although intended first and foremost as a work of anthropology, this book will also appeal to architects, scholars specializing in South-East Asia, and the interested general reader.