Study of sociéty as reflected in Architecture

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« The establishment of a sociéty needs a space to live in, architectural space : thought, built and destoyed by man ».



Indonesian architecture has developed through layers of cultural influences. As a result, the most fascinating impact on local and foreign contemporary Indonesian architecture development reflects cultural paradox : a mixture of symbols with antagonistic nature / character. In fact, the interlayering of the different cultural influences in Indonesia never completely overrode Indonesian cultural tradition ; instead, it allowed the process of cultural assimilation to take place. Indonesian architecture developed with traces of architecture / building resulting from cultural assimilation in the past. On the other hand, the Indonesian cultural tradition has been able to maintain its traditional houses scattered all over Indonesian Archipelago. With modern influences, Indonesia has been going through significant social and economic change which in turn affects the development of Indonesian sociéty. The rapid growth of big cities in the archipelago has brought Indonesian architecture with in the development of urban architecture, which also reflects the life style of its people and represents the phenomena of cultural adaptation.

At present, we are confronted with Indonesian architecture having many patches of style that range from traditional, colonial building to the latest contemporary architecture. All these styles are used in such a great complexity producing buildings with a juxtaposition of images, different styles and scales where people have to live or survive.

The proposed research is an attempt to consult, compile and archive a wide photographic and written record of those changes from the past, also present past to contemporary indonésian sociéty reflected in architecture, witnessing today’s living concepts. The essays will act as a link with the photographs.

We now have achieved this project on Jàwa and Madura islands, this survey will be presented in Indonesia as a series of exhibitions-conférences with the coopération of : the faculty of fine art at Jakarta Institute of Art, Bandung Architecture Department Institute of Technology and French cultural centers.


Popular Indonesian architecture is a justaposition of styles. The existing Dutch “de Stijl” and « art deco » as well as the Hispanic – Portuguese tendencies here in Indonesia are of different to these forms seen in Western countries. Regarding Indonesian architecture of the present, we witnessed several major cultural traits ;

1. Vernacular

2. Traces of Hinduism / Buddhist and Islamic spirit

3. Chinese influences

4. Dutch  » de Stijl  » and colonial  » art deco

5. Hispanic-Portuguese influences

6. Modem and Contemporary foreign and Indonesian architecture.


This project will cover areas that have a strong and pronounced cultural and traditional patterns reflected in social life and in the architecture. The research approach emphasises on local interpretation of foreign tendencies, particularly in areas containing rich and prolific architectural paradox :

1. Jawa / Madura ( presented in Indonésia from August 1998 ). 2. Sulawesi ( study in september 1998 ) 3. Bali ( study in october 1998 ) 4. Timor- timur ( study in september 1998 ) 5. Sumatra 6. Lombok 7. Irian Jaya 8. Kalimantan


1. Research of each culture traditional background to contemporan society. 2. R research of several architecture influences and tendencies. 3. Research of interpretation by local inhabitants of architectural influences and tendencies.


Photographs and essays will describe the archipelago’s societies seen from their space of architecture / urbanism, the contemporary living concept of Indonesia, social and cultural changes of the inhabitants. This research project will also include study on human geography within the social organization and space, (proxemic : approach based on photography). It is part of an effort to understand the human dimension within several ideo-socio-cultural and religions symbols that are respected and represented. This project aims for mutual benefits between countries and to assist the Indonesian education system and archives .The elements of these study (photos + essays) will be available to IKJ and ITB. A workshop in four terms, one week every 6 months, from august 1998 will be held in IKJ and ITB and directed by the authors of this project. Between terms the studiants will complete their research towards  » culturel paradox « .


. To collect maximum information on architectural forms of the Indonesian cultural heritage. • To analyze and understand the relation between those forms and their cultural background through the historical perspective of influences. • To create a bank of images, essays and archives geared toward use in the educationel system especially in the field of the humanities. These data base records will be extractable by subject ( social studies – photography – architecture – urbanism ). . To present an exhibition and international conference to be held in 1999. • To publish a pictorial / photographs encyclopedia on the development of contemporary Indonesian society, as a living concept reflected in its architecture and urbanism, . . A final exhibition conference, authors and the participants, of this project will be held in Indonesia.