Today’s architecture, a brief comparative between Japanese and Indonesian Architecture

By comparing specific examples in your country with those in Japan, please state your opinion on the role that today’s architecture plays in urban planning in the globalization era, in terms of landscape preservation and human-nature coexistence

Recently, the increasing intention of humanity architecture, along with environmental, and the common good outcome, is inevitably a signal of serious problems in our built environment. Considering the fact that globalization and its neoliberal ideology failed to meet its goals to make a better life. Architecture especially in term of its spatial production as a tool of the capital cannot be underestimated. It also proofed that architecture still posits in a contradictory profession. Its actions intersect with a huge range of unrelated domains; at the same time, its nature -to build- is so complex that sadly grounded the architect as a builder and a thinker at the same time.

As I mentioned previously, architecture is a collective practice that will challenge its nature identity to engage with the important non-architectural issues. It is then embarking architecture not only as a solution delivery rather it can be an approach towards achieving wider opportunities. In particular, when it refers to the spatial interpretation of nature and human being.

Indonesia still has to working hard with spatial interpretation. Moreover, the impact of globalization mostly achieved in a banality form and solely gimmicks. It is spreading out in our market-driven architecture products and getting more famous by mentioning “minimalist design” as a marketing word. What a banality phenomenon, is not it?

Learning from Tadao Ando, a master architect – ‘master’ in that he is self-taught. Something new cannot be applied directly, rather looking what already exist will open the diverse possibility of solutions. For example, in the case of Westin Awaji Yumebutai, the garden primary acted as predefined independent domain while its quality showed a connection between man-made, architecture, and landscape. It creates an emotional link between the building and its surrounding. It goes beyond the simple landscape design as merely a ground cover.

In details, the different colored plants commemorate the victim of Hanshin earthquake. The labyrinth and the hierarchical create a feeling of infinite and cyclical at the same time. The movement in labyrinthine mazes make people participate in space and time by moving with it. It emphasized the design context to the other architecture narrative. Moreover, after looking the text behind the context of this architecture product, perhaps architecture can be achieved more visible, sound-able, touchable, and feel-able. The riches architecture narratives behind, set the different level of spatial quality that Japan has preferred to preserve.

I have no idea how did Tadao Ando make it happen? It looks prosperous in a spatial context while elegant and beauty by its nature. Nowadays, I definitely do not think that architecture can be a solo player. The interlocking discipline of architecture, urban design, physical planning, and others are being challenged in the way of thinking and shaping people space by a new pattern of urbanization and environmental concerns. These dynamic and integrated visions are emphasizing the holistic and the interdisciplinary while widening the scope of design investigation.

This essay was written as a part of selection for the 2016 OSAKA Invitational Program for Short-Term Overseas Trainees in Architecture and Arts. 


More Reading :

Gunter Nitschke, From Shinto to Ando. Academy Editions (London). 1993.

Rem Koolhaas, Project Japan: Metabolism Talks. Taschen. 2011

Eka Swadiansa, Breaking to the Fourth Dimension: Shifting Design Politics from 2D Diagram or 3D Modeling Symbol to 4D Operating Symbol. 2011

Xianghua Wu, Concrete Resistance: Ando in the context of critical regionalism. 2006


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