Between past and future – new forms of design, construction and material cultures

1 December 2022

Moderation Johannes Widodo

Johannes Widodo, National University of Singapore & mAAN (modern Asian Architecture Network), Singapore

Johannes Widodo is an associate professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore (NUS). He studied architecture and urban history at Universitas Katolik Parahyangan, Bandung, and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), and received his PhD in Architecture from the University of Tokyo.

He is the director of the MAArC in Architectural Conservation programme and the Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Asian Architectural and Urban Heritage in Melaka (Malaysia) of the NUS Department of Architecture. His research focuses on History & Theory of Architecture, Architectural Morphology & Typology, and Architectural Conservation & Heritage Management.

Johannes Widodo is the founder of mAAN (modern Asian Architecture Network), iNTA (International Network of Tropical Architecture), and mASEANa (modern ASEAN architecture). He is an active member of several major networks, including ICOMOS (International Committee, Singapore National Committee), UNESCO (Asia Pacific Heritage Awards), DoCoMoMo (Macau, Singapore), SEACHA (South East Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance), and TCHS (The Circle of Human Sustainability).

Why is building done the way it is done? Mohammad Nanda Widyarta

Against the backdrop of Indonesia’s economic policies and relations with West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s and the Cold War, this contribution considers how the transfer of materials and technology took place in modern Indonesian architecture. Which factors enabled the transfers? What was “material thinking” like in the 1960s?

Informed by this past, we can consider the architecture of the present. How does the transfer of construction ideas and materials work today? What interests are being pursued?

Mohammad Nanda Widyarta, Department of Architecture, Universitas Indonesia; PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, Australia

Mohamad Nanda Widyarta is a lecturer at Universitas Indonesia and a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales. He studied architecture at the University of Oklahoma, USA, and continued his postgraduate degree at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London. His research interests are in the histories of architecture in the 20th century of Indonesia and beyond. He has conducted research in Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, and Copenhagen.

New concepts for the Indonesian metropolis? Alwi R. Sjaaf

In the 1960s, urban planning was based on the car-friendly city in both West Germany and Indonesia. Politicians and planners were very proud of the big boulevards back then. Today, they appear to many as barriers in the city, calling for a rethink. What should we be proud of in the next decade? What planning principles should be implemented in the future?

These questions are also being asked because the government will leave Jakarta for a new capital. Its buildings and infrastructure will no longer be needed. How could the city use this opportunity? What role do planners, architects, project developers, and builders play in forging a sustainable future for this important metropolis?

Alwi R. Sjaaf, architect, urban observer, and PhD. candidate in Urban Sociology, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta

Alwi R. Sjaaf earned his E-MBA degree from Universitas Pelita Harapan and Peking University in 2015 and a Dipl.-Ing. in Architecture from Technische Fachhochschule Berlin in 1984.

On his professional path, he founded the architecture practice Alwi Sjaaf and Associates and has held leading positions in the following institutions, among others: president and director, PT. Sukses Majutama Serasi (Reformed Millennium Centre of Indonesia), project director, Graha Reformed Millennium, Kemayoran, Jakarta, and PT Lippo Karawaci Tbk. From 1999 to 2004, he was a regular contributor to LARAS Brava Casa magazine (a monthly magazine for trends, architecture, interior, and design). He was also the initiator and coordinator for the Human & Cities Seminar “Transforming Lives” organised by the University of Indonesia, Institute Teknology Bandung, and Universitas Pelita Harapan. Alwi R. Sjaaf is a PhD candidate in Urban Sociology at Universitas Indonesia.

Is there an eco-turn in construction? Philipp Misselwitz

What factors are essential for sustainable architecture? There are currently many debates and proposals among professionals on how the construction industry could reduce its CO2 emissions – from building with timber to the demand that no more buildings be demolished. Yet progress is slow. How far along is the industry in terms of sustainable approaches and materials?

And what does sustainability mean in an international context, comparing Europe and Southeast Asia? Do they share any common issues? How can we deal with the scarcity of local resources? Philipp Misselwitz offers insights into current research and discourses.

Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, executive director of Bauhaus Earth; Chair, Habitat Unit, Institute of Architecture, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Philipp Misselwitz is an architect and urban planner based in Berlin. He was educated at Cambridge University and the Architectural Association London, and received his PhD from Universität Stuttgart, focusing on the socio-spatial development of urbanised refugee camps. In 2008, he initiated an EU-funded research project which led to the development and testing of community-driven planning methodologies (CIP) conducted in Palestinian refugee camps across the Middle East. He worked for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and as a consultant for United Nations Relief and Works Agency before becoming the Chair of International Urbanism at Universität Stuttgart (2010–2013).

In 2013, he was appointed Chair of the Habitat Unit at the Institute for Architecture of Technische Universität Berlin – a globally networked research and teaching centre focused on the study of urbanisation processes in the Global South. His current research focuses on user-driven urban development processes and coproduction in housing in Europe and the Global South, rural urbanisation processes, translocal spatial production, and transdisciplinary teaching methodologies in urban design. He is a network partner at Urban Catalyst studio, a planning design consultancy group based in Berlin and has curated exhibition projects such as Grenzgeografien (Berlin, Zurich, Istanbul, 2007), Refuge (Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, 2009), Open City (Istanbul, 2010), Space, Time, Dignity, Rights (World Urban Forum, 2012), and Folly (Gwangju, 2013).

Philipp Misselwitz is currently the executive director of Bauhaus Earth, an ecosystem of collaborators from the fields of architecture and planning, the arts, science, governance, and industry. As an interdisciplinary think-and-do tank, they reimagine collaborative, beautiful, and regenerative ways to build and live. They convene and connect thinkers, designers, and policymakers from across the globe and, with them, pursue their goals through research, demonstration projects, and political advocacy.

Knowing the past is preparing for the future? Nadia Purwestri

The work of the Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur is concerned with the documentation and research of Indonesian architecture. In this contribution, they describe how they combine their research findings with practical work. A key aspect in this respect is the use of building information services and data collection.

The work of the PDA does not only lead to the preservation of buildings. It also sparks reflection on the value of architectural history. This raises questions about the definition of “heritage” and the sustainability of conservation.

Nadia Purwestri, executive director Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur PDA (Indonesian Centre for Architecture Documentation)

Nadia Puwestri is a curator, researcher, cultural heritage restoration specialist, and executive director of Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur (PDA, Indonesian Architectural Documentation Centre). Founded in 2002, PDA is an independent institution that serves the public with valuable information through its documentation and research on the architecture of Indonesia in general and heritage buildings and areas in particular. PDA collects, archives, and manages architectural records, research, and documents on buildings and cultural heritage sites, and guides historic architectural conservation in Indonesia.

Together with her curatorial team, Nadia Puwestri has curated several exhibitions, including Tegang Bentang (2007) and Forts in Indonesia (2013) at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Through PDA, she has published several books, such as The White House of Weltevreden (2005) and Atlas of Traditional Indonesian Architecture, vol. 2 (2015) and vol. 3 (2016). She was involved in several restoration projects, such as the Bank Indonesia Museum building in Jakarta and Fort Van den Bosch in Ngawi. She received a grant to attend the Urban Heritage Strategies course at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Erasmus University, Rotterdam (2014). She also offers training and workshops on heritage conservation.

Do we need more experiments? Imma Anindyta-Hermawan, Dani Hermawan

Formologix is interested in exploring digital tectonics and fabrication through the intersection of design, computation, and science. Digital design methods play an important role in this. How can these contribute to a more sustainable architecture? What is the team working on in its experimental design and research laboratory?

In this contribution, the speakers also address the questions: What are the challenges for Indonesian architectural practice in the fields of craft and industry? And they risk an outlook: What opportunities can be explored to find better materials and fabrics to answer the future challenges?

Imma Anindyta-Hermawan, Dani Hermawan
Formologix Lab, Jakarta, Indonesia

Imma Anindyta Hermawan is a certified green professional and researcher based in Semarang and Jakarta. As co-principal of Formologix Lab and a certified green building professional, she investigates critical issues in sustainable architecture and urbanism to support Formologix research at the intersection between the built environment, computational techniques, and building science.

She holds a B.Arch. from Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (2004), and received a Master of Architecture and Urbanism from Dessau Institute of Architecture, Hochschule Anhalt, Bauhaus Dessau (2008), under the supervision of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andrea Haase (Wertestrukturen Büro, Dessau) and Prof. Ralf Niebergall (president, Sachsen-Anhalt Architect Association).

She gained early architectural experience as a junior architect at AT6 Architecture Bureau, Jakarta, under the supervision of Ir. Adhi Moersid, IAI; urban research experience supervised by Prof. Sandi A Siregar at the urban design laboratory, Universitas Katolik Parahyangan; and collaborative experience with Daniel Dendra at anotherArchitect, Berlin. She is a former lecturer at the Department of Architecture, Tarumanagara University, Jakarta.

Dani Hermawan is an architect and researcher based in Semarang and Jakarta. As a principal of Formologix Lab, he is interested in and explores the collaborative potential of digital design and fabrication techniques related to architecture and product design through various modes: parametric design, scripting, and digital fabrication consultation.

Dani received his M.Arch in Digital Architecture at Dessau Institute of Architecture, Bauhaus Dessau (2008), under the supervision of Mathias Del Campo (Spain/Austria) and Daniel Dendra (anotherArchitect, Berlin). He received a B.Arch from Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (2004).

As a practitioner, he credits his early architectural experience to his work at Larascipta Architects and collaborative experience with Daniel Dendra at anotherArchitect, Berlin. He currently works as a digital design, modelling, and fabrication consultant for several architecture offices. In 2014, with two other young architects, Dani served as a senior architectural designer for the Indonesia pavilion at the World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy.

Dani Hermawan also teaches a design studio at Pelita Harapan University and conducts digital architecture workshops at other universities, such as Universitas Katolik Parahyangan and Institut Teknologi Bandung.

Is every building just waiting for the right use? Nanni Grau

The work of Hütten & Paläste encompasses the planning and realisation of experimental architecture for urban forms of living. They find solutions specific to the local context and unique building tasks.

The office sees buildings as open systems in constant dialogue with their physical and metaphysical surroundings. It designs and converts prototypical buildings to use a targeted and minimal use of resources and, due to their openness, can be used for as long as possible. Nanni Grau provides insight into her work with existing buildings.

Prof. Nanni Grau, HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences, Hütten & Paläste Architects, Berlin, Germany

Nanni Grau studied architecture and design in Berlin, Sydney, and Coburg. After working with Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenmann, East, and MacGabhann Architects, she founded Hütten & Paläste with Frank Schönert in Berlin in 2005.

Parallel to her architectural practice, she has taught at various universities since 2007. Since 2021, she has been a professor at the HM Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences, focusing on Building in Existing Contexts – Architecture of Transformation. In 2017–18 she taught Forms of Participatory Urban Development as a guest professor at Universität Kassel.

Nanni Grau supports the German initiative Stadt Neudenken (rethinking the city) and is a member of the network Die Nachwachsende Stadt (the re-growing city).

Online symposium
1 December 2022, 10 am – 1 pm CET (UTC+1) / 4 – 7 pm WIB (UTC+7)

The 1950s and early 1960s – in the midst of the German “economic miracle” when the Indonesian students featured in Dipl.-Ing. Arsitek were studying architecture in Berlin, Hannover, or Aachen – were characterized by a belief in the promises of modernity: technological progress, growth, prosperity, and a better life for all in a world of endless resources.

Today, 50 years after the Club of Rome’s groundbreaking report, The Limits to Growth, the realization seems to have taken hold that technological progress does not necessarily lead to a better life for all and that our planet’s resources are finite. Furthermore, the construction sector is responsible for almost 40% of harmful CO2 emissions worldwide. This raises a number of questions, some of which we would like to address in this symposium:

Which construction methods and material concepts can point the way to a more sustainable future today? Which design strategies do we need to use and reuse existing buildings – and thus our architectural heritage? What benefits can digitisation offer in this context? And how can we combine different approaches and experiences?

You can view the documentation of the symposium here.