Monday, January 14, 2019

The Interiority of Proximity Between Nature and Architecture in Contemporary and Tropically Context with Cases Studies by budi pradono (1)


The interiority of buildings in tropical countries requires specific characteristics unlike those in countries with four distinct seasons. Buildings in non-tropical climates must protect their inhabitants from extreme weather, meaning that the architecture’s connection with nature is necessarily limited by a boundary which can withstand extreme climatic differences. In tropical countries, on the other hand, the temperature does not fluctuate much throughout the year, so the temperature difference between seasons is not extreme. This characteristic is reflected in traditional Nusantara architecture, which incorporates a breathable wall so that free winds come in, reducing heat. The roof is tilted or saddled-shaped to keep rain water away from the building. The architecture uses organic materials and includes terraces for dialogue with nature. Modern Indonesian architecture, however, particularly in large cities, is mostly closed off, severely limiting the interaction with nature. Since the advent of air conditioning (AC) technology during the 1980’s, architecture has changed to seal the boundaries of the building. Advances in information technology such as Internet and smartphones have made for further changes to architecture in the area; some functional spaces are being discarded, while others are expanded. The relationship between architecture and nature is now constrained by impenetrable materials such as brick, concrete and glass, as opposed to the more traditional, permeable boundary. In contrast to this trend, modern Indonesian society is tempted to form a closer relationship with nature. This paper examines how a relationship between nature and the interior of buildings may be accommodated again, presenting some existing projects by several architects from Europe and Asian countries—including the authors’ own work—as case studies.

Keywords: tropical, contemporary, relationship between nature and architecture


Interiority may be defined not only with dimension, colour and the materials that form the basis of interior space (Petrolini, 2014), but also as an abstract presence associated with the interior space—not the interior itself, but an abstract quality bringing various possibilities and interpretations of interior space. Interiority is not static but mobile, a fusion of physical space, intangible concepts and abstractness. In 1967, Michel Faucault defined ‘heterotopias’, or places that are neither here nor there, as real spaces that stand outside of the accepted space.  Faucault describes heterotopias as spaces which are constructed by the mind but are equally likely to have a physical presence and action  (Faucault, 1963).
Another theory, put forward by Henry Lefebvre in his paper, The Production of Space, defines space as a social product. Lefebvre explains the fundamental difference between architectural space and the space of architects as follows: while architectural space produces social space through experiences, the space of architects is space manipulated and affected by the architects as part of their professional practice. He claims that a space that the architect of an event is not the same as the experience of everyday life (Stanek, 2011).
Architects and designers must create meaningful experiences for occupants of the spaces they design. It is important to realise that interiority and exteriority are interwoven within architectural constraints but are not defined by the boundaries of buildings. Interiority is abstract and fluid; the concept of interiority relies upon cultural, social, technological and physical developments in society.
The main purpose of this paper is to discuss the current phenomenon of proximity between architecture and nature, which may affect the quality of abstract space or interiority. The quality of the space quite specific where the architect’s or designer’s experience comes into play, since the advancement of technology permits the integration nature into the interior space. In contrast to previous research, where tropical architecture is discussed in terms of highly technical areas addressing only humidity and heat. Very little research addresses the abstract quality of space attributable to the incorporation of nature and architecture. This paper focuses on the relationship between architecture and nature, the history of tropical architecture as associated with post-colonial discourse, green architecture, Nusantara architecture, bhiophilic architecture and its relation to technological advances in communication, contemporary tropical architecture as related to proximity with nature and the quality of imaginary space irrespective of climate.


Historically, architecture was governed by the forces of nature, and humans relied more upon their instinct to survive. The relationship between architecture and nature has changed radically over time, especially with the arrival of the industrial and technological revolutions. After World War II, the demand for construction boomed. However, heavy construction’s impact on the environment has become evident, and people have come to pay closer attention to ecology in recent years. This paper discusses many architectural trends arising from an understanding of the importance of a good relationship with nature and a current nostalgia for a time when man and nature were closer, as closeness with nature is a need. It focuses on the phenomenon of re-establishing a relationship between architecture and nature in tropical climates.
Mankind first began to manipulate nature as nomadic hunters. This eventually led to the birth of the permanent settlement and the development of architecture (Crowe, 1995). The permanent settlement gave humans the ability to control the environment by adjusting materials in nature to address their needs, in effect creating new nature in the form of houses. Traditional societies tried to reflect the macrocosm in the microcosm of the building, with the roof as a metaphor of the sky, the fireplace representing the sun, the walls serving as the borders of the cosmos and the floor acting as the manifestation of the Earth. This represents a strong relationship between nature and humankind. Local materials were historically chosen due to their proximity and suitability to the local weather. For example, walls made of clay transmit heat slowly , lowering the interior temperature during the day and keeping it from getting too low at night (Khan, 2000). Clay walls may be found not only in North Africa and Morocco, but also in several areas of Indonesia, including the mountainous area of Ubud, Bali. Tropical regions, with their high temperatures and day-and-night humidity, generally use wood and bamboo in their architecture. This reflects a primitive principal whereby architecture is seen as part of nature and has the benefit of using less manmade energy (Crow, 1995).

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