learning from mangunwijaya

3 May 2024 to 31 December 2024

Learning from Mangunwijaya focuses on the architectural heritage of Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya (1929–1999), an Indonesian Catholic priest, writer, political activist, and architect. Mangunwijaya’s architectural legacy was shaped significantly by his studies in Aachen, Germany.

This project examines the enduring impact of his ideas on current generations of Indonesian architects and their relevance to contemporary developments in the region. Through a student workshop, exhibition, documentary, and symposium, Learning from Mangunwijaya aims to contextualize his work in the present day and foster broad local, regional, and international engagement.


Learning from Mangunwijaya, 25 years after his death, focuses on the architectural work of the Catholic priest, writer, political activist, and architect Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya (1929–1999).

In his architectural practice, which was strongly influenced by his studies at RWTH Aachen University in West Germany in the 1960s, Mangunwijaya sought to translate the universal principles of modernism into an authentic, indigenous expression. He was a forerunner in collaborative and sustainable architecture that responded specifically to the needs of the local environment – an ethos that remains relevant today. Significantly, his architecture embodies his socially conscious approach; his architectural legacy is inseparable from his commitment to the common good.

A critical analysis of his work, focusing on its potential for the future, can therefore provide crucial inspiration for a more sustainable architecture, not only in Indonesia and the region but also on an international scale. Through a student workshop, exhibition, documentary film, and online symposium, this project reflects on Mangunwijaya’s work and demonstrates its relevance in addressing contemporary questions and offering solutions to present-day issues.

Father Y. B. Mangunwijaya (right) receives guests in his house on the slopes of Kali Code, Yogyakarta, 1986 Photo: TEMPO/Yuyuk Sugarman


Indonesia’s population is spread across countless islands in the vast archipelago. With diverse local cultures, climates, and natural resources, the country boasts a rich variety of building materials and distinctive building traditions. These contribute to a sense of place, environmental sustainability, and cultural identity, while also promoting economic self-sufficiency for local communities. However, the introduction of modern technical infrastructures in the early 20th century has often forced the communities to adapt to industrialized and standardized material and building regulations.

The last hundred years have shown the irreversible environmental damage that can result from technological progress. The reliance on industrially produced materials and the globalized construction industry have often displaced traditional building practices, causing significant harm to ecosystems. What is needed today are buildings, construction methods, and materials that specifically meet the needs of their users, enabling them to live and work with dignity and health.

Mangunwijaya addressed these issues more than 50 years ago. To this day, he remains an important figure of identification in Indonesia, known to the general public (under the name Romo Mangun) for his social activism as a priest and for his novels. Within professional circles, he is regarded as a pioneer of alternative Indonesian architecture.

In 1959, shortly after being ordained as a priest, the Indonesian Catholic Church asked Mangunwijaya to study architecture in order to reform the country’s church architecture, which had been shaped by its colonial past. From 1960 to 1966, he studied at RWTH Aachen University, where distinguished professors such as Gottfried Böhm, Eleanor von Erdberg, and Willy Weyres taught.

After returning to Indonesia, Mangunwijaya designed some 80 buildings, urban projects, and other structures between 1967 and 1998. He also taught at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. Following his teaching career, he wrote the book Wastu Citra, regarded as one of Indonesia’s most significant works of modern architectural theory.

Mangunwijaya received the Aga Khan Award in 1992 for his Kali Code River Redevelopment Project in Yogyakarta (1980–1985). In 1995, he was awarded the Ruth & Ralph Erskine Award in Sweden in recognition of his commitment to serving underprivileged sections of the population.

Learning from Mangunwijaya is dedicated to Eko Prawoto (1958–2023).


See the full programme here.


Learning from Mangunwijaya is made possible with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Universitas Islam Indonesia
Yayasan Museum Arsitektur Indonesia


Sally Below, Moritz Henning, Eduard Kögel

Curatorial team:
Avianti Armand, Putu Ayu Pramanasari Agustiananda, Sally Below, Moritz Henning, Eduard Kögel, Setiadi Sopandi, Nensi Golda Yuli

Workshop host:
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Planning, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia:
Prof. Ar. Noor Cholis Idham, S. T., M. Arch., Ph. D., IAI, Head of Department of Architecture
Dr.-Ing. Nensi Golda Yuli, S. T., M. T., Secretary of Department of Architecture
Ir. Hanif Budiman, M. T., Ph. D, Head of Undergraduate Programme in Architecture
Arif Budi Sholihah, S. T., M. Sc., Ph. D, Secretary of Undergraduate Programme in Architecture
Dr.-Ing. Putu Ayu Pramanasari Agustiananda, S. T., M. A., Secretary of International Undergraduate Programme in Architecture

Workshop unit masters:
Parisa Musigakama., Ph. D. (Rangsit University, Thailand)
Sasikan  Srisopon, Ph. D. (Rangsit University, Thailand)
Ts. Dr. Sharyzee Mohmad Shukri (Universiti Malaya, Malaysia)
Vania Dwi Amanda Surya, S. Ars, M. Ds. (University of Indonesia)
Harry Kurniawan, ST., M. Sc., Ph. D. (Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
Wisnu Agung Hardiansyah, S. Ars., M. Arch. (Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia)
Abdul Robbi Maghzaya, S. T., M. Sc. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)
Aryo Akbar Aldiansyah, S. T., M. Arch. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)
Faiz Hamdi Suprahman, S. T., M. A. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)
Johanita Anggia Rini, S. T., M. T., Ph. D. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)
Prof. Dr. P. Sarasu (Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education, India)

Workshop resource persons:
Sergius Sutanto (Film maker, Jakarta)
Dr. Eduard Kögel (Studio Eduard Kögel, Germany)
Ir. Wiryono Raharjo, M.Arch., Ph.D. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)
Yuli Kusworo, S. T., M. Sc (Arkom, Yogyakarya)
Dr. Ir. Revianto B. Santosa, M. Arch. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)

Prof. Kemas Ridwan Kurniwan, S. T, M. Sc, Ph. D. (Universitas Islam Indonesia)
Prof. Johannes Widodo (National University of Singapore)

Course coordinators:
Muhammad Kholif Lir Widyo Putro, S. T., M. Sc
Agus Setiawan, S.T., M.Arch., IAI., GP
Dr.-Ing. Putu Ayu Pramanasari Agustiananda ., S. T., M. A.
Arif Budi Sholihah, S. T., M. Sc., Ph. D.
Dr. Ir. Revianto B. Santosa, M. Arch

Participating universities:
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Planning, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Department of Architecture and Planning, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Department of Architecture, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia
Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Bauhaus University Weimar, Weimar, Germany
School of Architecture, Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education, Krishnankoil, India
Faculty of Architecture, Rangsit University, Bangkok, Thailand
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Background research Aachen, Germany:
Björn Schötten, Graphic designer and publisher, Germany

Visual identity:
garyanes, Jakarta, Indonesia

Project management, funding management, and communication, Germany:
Sarah Reiche, sbca, Berlin, Germany

Project management and communication, Indonesia:
Universitas Islam Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Museum Arsitektur Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia