The Mountains of Hope
Architecture Installation at Venice Architecture Biennale 2014
by budipradono architects
Mountain has important part in the main landscape of Indonesia’s archipelago, in one side it’s terrifying because mount erruption will spread extremely hot air, cold lava flow that destroys anything other than homes, rice field, farms and everything man has managed. In the other side, mountain gives natural fertilizer and fertile soil that can support the life of people and environment for the next years and even the next hundreds of years. Mountain becomes a symbol in wayang (shadow puppet), an episode of a story the dalang or puppet master always uses gunungan that marks the start and ending of a story.
The idea that combines the mountain and roof signifies the ambiguous meaning in every detail is a deconstruction and construction at the same time, of the skillful handwork arrangement, an effort of using local materials from the remote areas, the use of indegiosity that gives back the conviction that modernity can be shown by combining several local ideas and reconstructing the shapes of traditional Indonesian houses inversely. The roof architecture in this exhibition is a reflection and at the same time is also a reminder of how dinamic the roof struggling with itself. In the instalation, every visitor is given a chance to hang any hopes in the inversely roof structure, which by itself makes a silhouette of mountain of hopes. Roof is basic concept of shelter for people live in tropic areas that don’t have four seasons as in Europe, so the relationship between man and nature has harmonious relationship. The windbreak should be the first construction that people of tropic climate built. A further development of this windbreak shows the construction of roof; the saddle type roof, which simply rest upon the ground. One of the characteristic of Nusantara architecture is the absence of firm limit between nature and structure, the entire elements of walls, roof, doors, and windows have phorousity or perforation that allow wind to easily go in and out of the building.
Roof that protects the people underneath also has numerous functions, other than becoming the storage place or warehouse it’s also used to dry food, usually there’s a fireplace underneath that becomes the heater and preserve the entire roof wooden or bamboo materials whenever it’s lit up. The Dutch architect, Henri Maclaine Pont, has made tipology analysis of region structure and various roof shapes of several regions in Indonesia and believes that the structure of traditional home has modern rationality. In that era, the different architectures from different regions in Indonesia have different shapes of roof and its own uniqueness as the local identity of each region. Henri Maclaine Pont tries to deconstruct and reconstruct this diversity by combining different richness of Indonesian traditional architecture, one of it is through the processing and mixing of the roof with European architecture, so it will become typical Nusantara architecture in Dutch East Indies area. It is shown by the architecture exhibition, titled “Koloniale Tenstoostelling” in Semarang 1914, the exhibition opened the insight of Indonesians and the world about the idea of Nusantara architecture. Roof exploration as a method of archictural search pointed out by Maclaine Pont. With the support of architect HP. Berlage, Henri Maclaine Pont has began a movement of “Indische Architectuur”, an effort in searching the identity of Nusantara architecture. Even though it turned out not to be followed by other Dutch architects that invaded Indonesia in 1930’s when Batavia as the capital city was going to be moved to Bandung, what happened was Art Deco exploration becoming the most popular one. This Nusantara exploration destroyed by Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno, who brought the wave of modernity through flat roof. In the era of Soeharto, international style as the leading point of capitalism prevailed through glass facade and absence of effort to absorb Nusantara architecture. Only in the second half of his leadership in 1980’s the policy of Nusantara architecture on governmental buildings led to the prevail of modern architecture with various shapes of roofs in traditional Javanese roof, that it caused the conotation of Javanization. Roof turns out to always be in dispute, debate and politized; government suggestion on the rule of using joglo roof as additional roof was refused in campus building of Indonesia University by Goenawan Tjahjono who tried to re-interpret the shape of roof that adopts traditional roof into his campus design without forcing the use of joglo roof only as the cap.
In this exhibition I also want to show composition of several roofs that struggle in space and time, that being resistance against international style which with its rationality has put aside the basic concept of roof becoming flat concrete roof. This resistance roof is arranged upside down, so it formed the formation of stalagmites falling from the sky. The surrounding sides are the synchronization of various shapes of plaited bamboo or wood, just like its Indonesian materials. These roofs are hodling tight to each other that symbolizes the strong collectiveness and mutual aid. The installation is also an effort to strengthen the relationship between Europe and Indonesia began with spices. Maclaine Pont’s spirit is revived exactly in 100 years time. (Budi Pradono)