architectures office tour,

jakarta, 25 october 2019


Together with local experts, the project team took a tour exploring contemporary architecture practice in Jakarta on 25 October.

The first stop of the tour organized by Rifandi S. Nugroho took us to the office of Han Awal and Partners. We were immediately overwhelmed by the spacious complex and the extensive collection of Indonesian art, handcrafted objects and fragments of traditional houses from all parts of the country. At the same time, this first impression left the question of how the works came into the building. An extensive presentation by Varani Kosasih and Yori Antar shed light on the subject: Han Awal and Partners initiated a programme aimed at documenting and preserving traditional construction methods in Indonesia. Employees of the architectural firm and students travel to remote areas, live in indigenous villages for several weeks and accompany the local communities in the construction of new buildings and village structures. Thus, the young architects are able to learn the building techniques first hand, and, at the same time, document the building process and the architectures by means of most modern techniques, so that the usually only verbally transmitted knowledge of the village communities will continue to be passed on.

 The second stop took us back to Kopi Manyar, the exhibition site of Occupying Modernism. There Angie Miranti (studio head of Andra Matin) and Dite Matin, architect and wife of the eminent architect Andra Matin, after a warm welcome, took us to Matin’s nearby office. (Andra Matin himself was unable to attend, as he was on the jury for the Indonesian contribution to the coming Architecture Biennial in Venice). Besides the excellent architecture, the intimate working atmosphere of the small office also impressed us. At latest when entering the second building complex, a converted residential building, it became clear to everyone what a special talent and expertise Matin has in designing tropical architecture. In the building, the model workshops in the basement are combined with a library on the upper floor, which surprised with open windows. Despite the high outside temperature and high humidity, a refreshing stream of air could be felt in the building. In addition to the ventilation arrangement, the open windows created impressive lines of sight through the building.

Another highlight was a visit to the house Matin designed for his family. The basic structure is reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s principles of the Maison Dom-Ino. Access to the building is via the open ground floor. The large open 1st floor is also completely designed without exterior walls. At the same time, it contains a kitchen, dining room, living room, balcony and garden with pool. Such an open living concept surprised not only the participants of the tour, but also Dite Matin herself, when her husband presented her the layout of the house, as she told us with a wink. Matin’s children first also had to get used to the extravagant building, even though they have their rooms on the 2nd floor, the only floor that is closed all around. A separated living and sleeping area for Andra and Dite Matin supplements the house. Here, too, we were enchanted by the lovingly thought-out design of each detail which, in combination with the radical overall concept, create an outstanding example of tropical architecture that harmonises the exterior and interior, the building and nature.