Salihara, the Humble Giant

FEBRUARY 06, 2010 words A.D.V. CANISTER pictures Cerveceria
Jakarta. That word been in my mouth for more than a decade, all around rude city with a “kampong” attitude. Sure its been compared to KL , and sure we lost. Transportation system is badly done. Projects that seems to be hope for us, most likely corrupted and then gone with time.

What’s left?

Just a fistful bunch of people, creative ones. Who cares about designing functions, proportions, and identity of buildings in Jakarta.

Behind all that satire perspective, little that i know, there is this one community that gather some money to built a decent performing art centre, Salihara No.16. Where it stands between a small urban street and a typical packed Jakarta’s neighborhood. It is heavy-looking, massive, and tall. Yet, somehow it is humble, blends with the people and the block plan itself. We went there with a good friend of ours, and found excitements.

In come the giant.

Imagine you live in a huge enough room for a giant to live in, that is the block plan or the city. Let say, your size is about the size of a giant’s toe. How can the small humans get to know the nice giant?

In this case, giving a humane proportions on its toe. For example he can make a bench on his toe level, create a small stairs that slowly points toward his knee, elevator to a secret garden on his hips, make a roof all around his ankle, create a roof garden on his shoulder, etc. All visible for the small human eye. The giant is trying to pull a trick, just to make you feel anything but dominated and uncomfortable. This is what i found in Salihara No.16. Excitements.

Massive heavy concretes, hanged high in the typical urban housing of Jakarta. It can be very dominating for the people. In this case, it hasn’t been, it connects us through its welcoming scales and proportions on the facilities. The giant don’t want to crush us, he wants to welcome us to have a journey all around his body, and show off what he is really capable of. Because as quoted from the modern architect, Mies Van Der Rohe, – “God is in the details”.

No more shocking feeling of seeing huge building between small houses, if you could do it the nice way. People should really learn this because basically the sites available in Jakarta nowadays are mostly between houses. Sad. But that’s reality for you.

Architecture and fairy tale, whadyaknow. It works.

This entry was posted in Arts, Language and Culture, Jakarta, Urban Development, Urban Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

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