Page 1

-Indonesian Water Theatre-

Kirsty Sarah Williams Unit 22 DR Report

Section 2Construction

p1 p7 p9 p11 p13 p17 p19 p21 p29 p31

p37 p41 p53 p59 p63 p65 p67 p71 p73 p75 p77

p87 p89 p93 p105

Section 3Perfromance

Introduction Site Local Planning Context The Citarum River Ciwalengke Village, Sukamaju Site Plan The Climate of West Java Further site considerations Programme Analysis Water Treatment Shadow Theatre Incense Gardens The Design Precedents Building development Basic structural strategy Basic environmental strategy Acoustic Strategy Disabled Access Means of escape M&E and Sanitation Systems Construction Sequence Health and safety in construction General Arrangement Drawings Building Construction Columns & Cables Bamboo Enclosures Building Details Further structural considerations

Section 4Delivery

Section 1Form, Systems, Planning & Context

-ContentsBuilding performance Energy strategy Building lifecycle Cooling Stratgy Water Supply Shading the theatre Prototype Building delivery Indonesian financial and planning context Roles within the building completion Contractual relationship with the client Risk Assessments Bibliography & Image Credits

p109 p111 p113 p119 p121 p125

p145 p151 p153 p155 p157

-Unit 22 Brief and Focus-

Wood and Fire Unit 22, operating under the theme of ‘wood and fire’, is working towards defining a ‘mild architecture’ - one that welcomes users through small






early exploratory exercises we created dwellings based on the themes of tree house, chocolate and













final of


‘harbour’. This is to be a more complex project incorporating the ideas of ‘crafts’ developed in the earlier work, ‘decks’ referring to open air and landscaped areas, and ‘provisioning’ meaning it will


the complex


the building will have with supplies and its environment. The unit is developing the harbour project in tropical locations around the globe, mine in Indonesia. However, for the purposes of the DR report I will be adhering to British building regulations.

a. Tree House Dwelling Project: Musical Play House b. Chimney Dwelling Project: Ghost Story Pavilion c. Theatre Pavilion, Puerto MAMM Collaboration, Night time facade d. Theatre Pavilion, Puerto MAMM Collaboration, ‘Squashy’ furniture

e. Chocolate Dwelling Project: Incense Stall







-IntroductionEmerging from earlier studies into performance based architecture the programme is for a theatre, housing the traditional Indonesian shadow art, Wayang Kulit. Sited in Java, the island most associated with this tradition,1 it is situated along the Citarum river, widely acknowledged as the most polluted river in the world.2 The river is a convergence of many current challenges facing Indonesia - the state of the river which







being a reflection of the rapid population growth, rapid industrialisation and extensive deforestation occurring in the archipelago.4 Taking this context into account the programme became a combination of the Javanese theatre and a water treatment






contemporary issues. The purpose of a shadow theatre is both to entertain and to educate,5 and I intend to apply this mantra to the water treatment facility, the water travelling a highly choreographed procession around waterwheels and down waterfalls. This process will be driven by a wasteto-power plant, the idea of which is to encourage the local residents to dispose of waste here - currently it is the river which acts as a garbage disposal and sewer6,7 - and get clean water in return.

1. Hobart 1987, p22 2. Agence France-Presse 2012 3.Roadmap Coordination and Management Unit and Program Coordination and Management Unit 2011 4 ibid 5 People Like Me 2005 6 Cita-Citarum 2012 7 Agence France-Presse 2012


Early concept sketch for a highly ornate theatre, suspended above the polluted river with a scientific language mediating between the two.


“ At first glance the village of Sukamaju in western Java has all the charms of rural Indonesia...� Agence France-Presse


Local Planning Context 1

The Indonesian Planning System operates under the title ‘National Development Planning Agency’, BAPPENAS . 1


In the last couple of decades, the vernacular traditions of Indonesia have seen unprecedented levels of abandonment

Its current agenda’s that are pertinent to the water

and decay in favour of the more ‘modern’, but less

theatre project are ;

sustainable, architecture. As a consequence, there are


Republic of Indonesia Ministry of the Environment

government programmes in place that aim to conserve and


Infrastructure development is focussed on improving the

further develop vernacular traditions.5 This often results

irrigation sector in rural areas. My project, offering

in exaggerated forms divorced from their original symbolic

a small scale water treatment facility is a new way


of addressing this problem. Previous attempts to bring

Representative Office’ in Jakarta. My project aims to

water to rural areas by a network of channels have

integrate features of the vernacular traditions that help

BAPPENAS also aims to improve

proved unsuccessful.3













it become a sustainable architecture.

transportation infrastructure with the aim of developing tourism, which my project may be able to benefit from in the future (see building delivery section)



Provides funding for projects that aim to conserve the biological diverstiy of the Citarum basin

Aims to reduce GHG emissions by 26% by its independent means and 41% with international support by 2020.


The specific site of the Citarum is host to various political agendas. The river is a strategically important one, its basic being home to some 9 million people.6 In


The economic development of the country is currently

addition, it provides a habitat for numerous endangered














Resources Management (IWRM) provides funding to projects

plantation forests”. I will address this issue by careful

with “The objective... to achieve clean, healthy and

selection of materials, for example using fast growing


bamboo grass over the popular tropical hardwoods.

globally and locally significant biological diversity and











Site- I plan to cultivate rare Javanese flora

Tropical hardwoods

government and the community”

maximum benefit amount for the welfare of the community”. An aim which is arguable in accordance with the aims of the water theatre.


The Cita-Citarum roadmap is a 15 year programme with substantial








future, better integrated water resources management in


BAPPENAS works in collaboration with the ‘Japan-Indonesia

the Citarum”. Planning numerous interventions along the

Technical Cooperation Project’, JICA. This body aims to

length of the river and with an excess of $3.5 billion at

formulate climate change strategies in Indonesia and

its disposal, this body is most likely to be the client


for the project.






Pagaruyung Palaceoriginal form dating from 1347

emissions in Indonesia and its global position of being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change

1. Blöndal et al 2009

amongst its poorer communities, the government committed

2. State Minister for the Chairperson of The National

to reduce GHG emissions by 26% by its independent means and 41% with international support by 2020.


My project will

try to be in accordance with these aims by;

Development Planning Agency 2010 3. Fauzan 2011

5. Nas 2007, p42

Sourcing local materials Creating architecture with low energy demands, for example

6. Admin 2013 7.Bamboo quote (opposite) Oprins

being naturally ventilated and preventing solar gain. Incorporating a small scale waste-to-energy plant.


4. BAPPENAS and Japan International Cooperation Agency 20115.


West Sumatra Representative Office- Modern government building




Surili Leaf Monkey

“A bamboo plantation of 1000 hectares can provide about 30,000 tons of wood resources, and thus renders unnecessary the cutting of over 50 thousand hardwood trees per year”

Javanese Hawk EagleOne of the rarest birds in the world

Preserving Biological Diversity

“finance productive development activities and produce the

Rural Irrigation

Citarum River Basin through collaborative efforts between

Funds for the ‘welfare of the community’

Fund loans and foreign grants have been designated to

Forest Rehabilitation


Safeguarding Vernacular Traditions

bringing about sustainable benefits to all people of the

-The Citarum River BasinKarawang District- the ‘rice basket of west Java’- no longer has adequate water supply from the Citarum, if this continues more than 100,000 ha could stop

The Citarum river, christened ‘the most polluted river in the world’ by local government agencies

producing rice.5

and NGO’s,1 was once a historical boundary between the two domains of the Tarumanagara kingdom.2 The remnants of this civilisation, including the oldest Hindu-Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia, still endure along the banks, meaning that there is the potential for the Citarum to be the focus of tourism, as the Nile is for Egypt. However,





Rapid population growth has led to unprecedented levels


of rubbish in the river.5

so badly with acres of waste and, even more dangerous, dissolved pollutants such as mercury, toxic waste finding its way into the river from the textile factories on a daily basis.3 The river is the sole source of drinking water for 15 million Indonesians,4 and a source of power for many more. The Cita-Citarum roadmap is a current initiative charged with cleaning up the river which is expected to take place over the next 15

Project Site

lead, zinc and chrome from the 280 tonnes of

Fertilisers and over feeding in fish farms has led to uncontrolled weed growth and a proliferation of nitrogen, phosphorous and sulphur in the river, which is poisonous to fish.5


1. Agence France-Presse 2012 2. Roadmap Coordination and Management Unit and Program Coordination and Management Unit 2011

Deforestation on the hills of Pacet. The forests declined from 35,000 ha in 1992 to 19,000 in 2001. This has lead to a great number of landslides into the

3. Agence France-Presse 2012

Citarum and subsequent flooding and pollution.5

4. ibid 5. Cita-Citarum 2012

Cisanti springs- The area is used for vegetable farming and cows, polluting the river with pesticides and daily average of 82.4 tones of manure, right at the source of the river.



One of 600 textile factories in Majalaya. Just 10% meet water treatment requirements.5

-Ciwalengke Village-

Sukamaju, West Java

Ciwalengke, a kampung of Sukamaju village is host to the














river from

conglomeration of more than 40 textile factories,







purchased at Rp.

main source of employment in the area. Not being situated



gallon,6 but this represents

close enough to a larger municipality such as Bandung to

a disproportionate amount of

benefit from treated water and the nearest spring offering

earnings - the monthly water

clean water being more than 5km away, residents have taken

needs of one person costing

to using a sock for filtration2 and boiling the water


in their homes to treat it. Such practice however does




earnings of a female factory

nothing to remove, for example, the dangerous dissolved

worker in West Java.7

metals from the factories. As well as the associated dangers of these chemicals, the villagers, who make use of communal washing facilities connected directly to the Citarum, have begun to suffer from skin disorders and stomach ulcers, appearing amongst the population after the growth of the nearby textile industry.3 The residents of the area are mostly immigrants, going to work in the factories or as food sellers.4 It is alleged that the immigrant background has led to low public awareness of how to conserve the neighbourhood.5



Therefore, a building that unites something as crucial as provision of clean water with a traditional Javanese


pastime may help generate a sense of belonging for the


new residents. It is also essential that the water be provided for a fair price.

a. View of the site looking south b. Location of the village along the Citarum c. Current filtering system: a sock over a communal pipe dirctly from the river d. Textile dye mixing with the water in the river

1. Cavelle 2009 2. Sutton-Hibbert 2010 3. Agence France-Presse 2012 4. Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency Directorate Water and Irrigation. 5. ibid 6.Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency Directorate Water and Irrigation. 7. Hancock 2000 p13


Project Site

Water flow direction

-Majalaya textile district-

Site at 1:30,000

Site plan at 1:30000, showing some of the 600 textile factories in Majalaya. Just 10% meet water treatment requirements.1

1. Cita-Citarum 2012

South prevailing winds, May - September

Textile factories lining the Citarum

North prevailing winds, November - March


Ciwalengke, 1:1000

pm 3:00

5:47 pm

5 6:0

0 3:




-Site Studies-

day Mid

day Mid

3D Construction of the site Sun Path for 21 June




Sun Path for 21 December


ri n Su 02



5:36 am





diagrams for Jakarta.






-Climate of West JavaIndonesia’s proximity to the equator and the fact that uniformly warm waters make up 81% of the archipelago’s area mean that there is little variation in temperature.1 The average mean temperature is 26-29˚C,2 with diurnal changes making very little impact on this figure - the city of Jakarta, also located in west Java, is known for having particularly high night-time temperatures of 25˚C.3 The real seasonal variations of the area are a result of the intertropical convergence zone, ITCZ, which dictates the rainy seasons and the two distinct prevailing winds.4 The ITCZ moves back and forth over the equator, creating a pattern where northerly winds dominate between November and March and southerly winds prevail between May to September, which is likely to impact any natural cooling strategies developed for the building. Also significant, is that as the weather system passes over the archipelago there are a few weeks in April and October which have very light winds,


known as the doldrums.5

a.Diagram showing the extent of the inter-tropical convergence zone.

In western Java, the monsoon season accompanies the northern winds, the average annual rainfall being 1650mm. In comparison, 6

the average annual rainfall for London is 752mm.7 Indonesia’s rainfall also tends to be accompanied by thunderstorms and wind

b.Average temperature and rainfall for Jakarta- the nearest major city to the site.

squalls, though the tropical cyclones tend to be restricted to the extreme southerly islands of the archipelago.8 The main problem with the rainfall in western Java is the subsequent floods.

c.Rainfall throughout the Citarum River Basin.

Solar gain is also likely to be a problem, as when it is not raining it is generally sunny. The discomfort that could come


from constant high temperatures and solar gain is likely to be

20,000 homes and thousands of hectares

exacerbated by the high average relative humidity, which is

of rice fields were destroyed on the

between 70% and 90%.10

island of Java.9






According to the department of energy and climate change the hot climate is likely to increase in the future, there has been a notable warming trend since the 1960’s, and rainfall could be



set to increase 10- 20%, resulting in an increase of extreme flooding.11 1. Frederick and Worden 1993 2. Met Office 2011 3. ibid 4. ibid 5. ibid 6.ibid 7. World Climate 8. Met Office 2011 9. ibid 10. 2010 11. Met Office 2011





-Further Site Conditions-

Malaria, earthquakes, volcanoes & dengue fever As well as challenging climatic conditions, the site has other considerations that should be accounted


for in the building fabric. The archipelago is tectonically unstable; it has more than 100 volcanoes of which more than 25% are active.1 Java, the proposed site, is the most unstable and is host to Merapi, ‘mountain of fire’, the most



active, having at least 12 recorded eruptions that have resulted in fatalities.2 The earthquakes that accompany the shifting tectonic plates will have to play a large part in dictating the structural logic of the building.

Project Site Merapi

The shaded orange areas in the diagram indicate places that the NHS has considered a high risk malaria zones.3 Though more common in urban areas, there is also the risk of dengue fever, for which there is no vaccine.4 This problem is particularly pertinent within my project, as it involves a large gathering of people at night (dusk till dawn is the peak activity time of a mosquito) in an illuminated structure above a freshwater river. Since most of the literature on avoiding mosquito bites advises to rid the vicinity of standing fresh water5 (impossible with both my programme and site) the architecture should offer an alternative. A house by Andrade Morettin Architects in Brazil offers one such possibility, having façades composed solely out of 50-foot-tall mosquito nets.6

This prevents

mosquitos entering and does little to encumber the passage of light and natural air currents. Other options could be to use light coloured finishes and grow citronella grass in the gardens, a tropical plant which naturally deters mosquitoes.7

1. 2013 2. Chillymanjaro 2011 3. Fit for Travel 4. ibid 5. Sun Sentinel 2009 6. Kraemer 2010 7. L.M. 2007


a. Own diagram locating active volcanos, recorded earthquake epicentres and high risk malaria zones in relation to the site. b. Mosquito net house, Andrade Morettin Architects, Brazil

Earthquake epicentres Active volcanos

high risk malaria site


Shadow theatre and water treatment plant

M T W Th F

S Su

Coagulants mixed with the water Particles to sink to the bottom. Cleaner water is siphoned off at the top. The proposed tank can hold 58.7m3, accounting for losses of particles approximately 58,000l can be cleaned at once. To meet the required total, there needs to be 6 rotations a week, taking 2 hours each.

The Citarum is slightly alkaline, pH8.3, so chambers provide space to mix in acid en route to the next tank. The proposed design of 2 tanks can hold 70,000l and would require 1 rotation to fill the coagulation tank.

sequence of the 2 weekly rotaions Filters can pass 2.5m3 per m2 of cross section area per day. The design proposal has an area of 11m2, capable of passing 171,875l per day.

The 311 villagers of the kampung of Ciwalengke require 114 litres per person per day, requiring a weekly reservoir 315,000 litres.

Constructed wetlands have plants which provide oxygen and microbes living on their roots which remove pollutants. The process takes 2-3 days. The proposed design has 2 lagoons holding 115,000l each; there must be 2 weekly cycles to provide the required amount.

-Choreographing the water-

Removes dissolved particles that cannot be removed by filtration. The proposed tank requires 2 daily rotations a week to provide the weekly requirement.

Ultraviolet rays kill suspended bacteria and viruses by destroying their DNA. Design proposes a 1200l unit, capable of cleaning 12,516l a week. To meet the weekly requirement there would need to be 25 units.

Archimedes screw

Water Feed


1 7


6 3


-Water Treatment Diagram-


-Water Treatment-

pH Adjustment

The Selected Processes

The Citarum being slightly alkaline, pH 8.3,1 means it is necessary to provide space to mix in acid to neutralise it. This process is relatively quick and has no by-products. Hydrochloric acid


Coagulation Tank Here the chemicals aluminium sulphate and iron chloride are added to the water. They are mixed in and cause the solid particles in the water to clump together and sink to the bottom of the tank.2 The water pressure causes the cleaner water to be siphoned off at the top of the tank, and here I have taken the opportunity to create a waterfall feature out of the tank, as it is pushed out of the top and falls to the next stage of the process. This is potentially the most environmentally unfriendly aspect of the treatment as there are large amounts of ‘sludge’ drawn out at the bottom of the tanks. So as not to place the particles and waste chemicals back into the river, there is an option to dry out the waste and burn

Aluminium sulphate

Iron chloride

Coagulation tankplan view

Coagulation tanksection

Constructed wetland


Biodome section


Lava rock

Water filtercut through

it in the waste-to-energy plant, though care must be taken to ensure filters stop any hazardous gases escaping from the burning chemicals.






Lagooning The ‘lagoons’ are constructed wetlands of reeds, where microbes living on the plants and their roots clean much smaller particles from the water.3 These are very environmentally friendly and unlike most aspects of a water treatment plant, their efficiency improves over time as the wetland becomes established.4 They are not often used in big plants as they require a lot of space, however the amount of water needed to be produced for the kampung is relatively small and the lagoons can form part of the landscape of gardens and waterfalls. Though slower than more industrial options, lagoons are popular in rural areas as they are very economical and their efficiency can be improved with the addition of bio-domes. These are equally economical, requiring only the amount of energy that is needed to power a 75watt bulb and can vastly improve the water turnover as they create ideal conditions between aerated layers of plastic for the microbes to grow. The lagoons can also make use of the algae fern, azolla, which can further purify the water, and, like most algae, is capable of dramatic growth, so that it will create a source of biofuel for the plant.

Filtration Filtration is the final stage of removing undissolved particles. Whist many plants incorporate sand filters I have chosen to use naturally porous lava rocks, which are used in the construction of the project and is locally available in this highly seismic region.

Electrodeionization Water is held in a tank with charged cathodes and anodes which remove dissolved metals that could not be removed by any level of filtration.5 This is a particularly important step here as the metals from the textile factories, mercury, lead, zinc and chrome, have very high levels here and are linked to cancer and organ damage.

Exchange process

UV treatment The final stage of treatment is to disinfect the water with ultraviolet light - the waves of radiation kill off the dissolved bacteria and viruses that are too small to be filtered out.6 There are other alternatives to this process which are cheaper such as adding chlorine,7 but these leave chemical residues in the drinking water and using UV lights offer the chance to enhance the gardens surrounding the theatre, as simply adding tonic water (which contains quinine) can make the flowers fluoresce under the lights. The tanks would have to be surrounded by glass that filters out any potentially harmful radiation.

UV treatment of water

UV paint

Rainbow trout in a treatment centre

Rainbow trout

Safety Controls Some plants use rainbow trout, a fish particularly sensitive to chemicals, to detect acute water pollution.8 This would not only be a check that the plant is functioning properly, it also offers the opportunity to have aquariums amongst the gardens. 25.

fluorescing flower

1. Roadmap Coordination and Management Unit and Program Coordination and Management Unit 2011 2. HM Revenue & Customs 2011 3. City of Onkaparinga 2010 4. Lesikar 5. Merit Partnership Pollution Prevention Project for Metal Finishers 1997 6. US Environmental Protection Agency 2006 7. West 2013 8. Salehimad 2010

-Water Treatment-

Within Building Context Text

-Wayang Kulit-

The art of shadow theatre Theatre viewing area behind the ‘dalang’

Javanese shadow theatre, the most famous among the archipelago, is unusual as spectators choose to watch the show from both sides of the screen. The arrangement of the audience is very loose compared to traditional western theatre with rows of seats and stalls - a performance begins at

Screen (removed for daytime performance}

around 9pm and often goes on until dawn with the audience coming and going as they please. Other activities around the standing spectators such as card games are played and stalls sell food and drink (as shown opposite). The only fixed

Traditional layout of ‘dalang’ and ‘juru gender’

arrangement is the area of the screen and the arrangement of the ‘dalang’ (puppet master) the two ‘tututan’ (assistants) and the four ‘juru gender’ (musicians).1 There is need to use the theatre in the day as well, as ‘wayang lemah’, the daytime performance without a screen, though primarily a religious

Theatre viewing area infront of the screen

exercise, also draws spectators.2 In larger cities the crowds drawn can be from 300 to 500 spectators, though the size of the



kampung that the water theatre serves and the fact that it is mostly men who attend the wayang kulit suggests a theatre catering for 150-200 spectators would be more than sufficient.

lime juice







b b


b b

a. Image showing the informal nature of the performances.

1. Hobart 1987, p129 2. ibid p130

b. Other on-going activities in the theatre. ceki

fruit and nuts

rice cakes

c. The ‘Gagunungan’- representing the mountain of the gods. It is the most significant puppet and indicates the beginning and scene changes. Opposite. Layout of theatre activities


-Incense GardensThe plants have been chosen for various reasons. The river is a notorious dumping ground and all the flowers have been chosen for their strong fragrance. All the plants are able to grow in tropical regions, many indigenous to Java. The grasses have been chosen not only as attractive foliage,








evaporative cooling, but also to deter mosquitos and provide replacement structural materials. The Javanese edelweiss is an endangered species, and providing an area to cultivate this plant may






Management’ which provides funding to conserve the biological diversity of the Citarum river

Name: Bamboo grass

Bambusa blumeana


1. Admin 2013 2. Wern 2012 3. 4. L.M. 2007

6. Ary 2012

Anaphalis javanica



A small bamboo plantation, with strips of beds of different ages ensures a supply of replacement materials for the secondary structural pieces.

Citronella’s lemon fragrance acts as a natural mosquito repellent.4

The white Javanese edelweiss has a natural fluorescence that makes it a popular souvenir. It has been declared an endangered and protected species.5 Here it can be cultivated and may deter people from picking them in the wild. It is a fragrant flower and is placed around the UV treatment area which should enhance the glowing qualities of the flowers.

Conditions: Native to Java. It thrives in moist conditions with sandy loam and needs partial shade to full sun.3


Cymbopogon citratus

Name: Javanese Edelweiss


(see materials and lifespanperformance section)

5. Panse

Name: Citronella Grass

It will be grown in small clusters and hanging baskets around the entire complex. There is to be a particular concentration around the lagoons, where there is the largest concentration of stagnant water (and therefore the most attractive location to mosquitos).



As a tropical plant it should thrive in the local environment. It needs to be placed in full sun and provided with minimum of 30 inches of water per annum.

Indigenous to Java it should thrive here, however it tends to grow in the cooler mountainous regions so it should be placed out of the direct sunlight.

Name: night-blooming


Peniocereus. johnstonii Function:

The night blooming cereus is a large white fragrant flower. Being white it has been placed near the UV gardens. The flowers go programmatically with the theatre, beginning to rapidly bloom at around 9pm (the time when performances start) and lasting only until dawn,2 it is often seen as a dramatic event.

Conditions: It requires a hot environment, so full sun should be fine, and as a cactus it needs to be kept dry, so the pots should have ample drainage to allow the plants to survive the rainfall of Java.


Passion Flower


Function: The fragrant flowers of passionflowers are vines that would be trained around the lagoon area. Any resulting fruit can be taken into the fruit and coffee bar below the theatre.

Conditions: The plants occur naturally in Indonesia,6 they will require some shade from the intense heat, moist soil with good drainage.

UV Experiments

-Ultraviolet ExperimentsThe ultraviolet treatment of the water offers theatrical opportunities when combined with the flower gardens, as various chemicals added to the water supply of the plants can be taken up into the flowers by capillary action and cause parts of the flowers to fluoresce under a black

Blue dyes

No effect on water or flowers

light. The tests to left show the effect on the same type of flowers after a few hours of being fed different chemical diets.

Pink and orange dyes UV treatment gardens


Yellow and green dyes

The water fluoresces under the black light but there was no effect on the flowers

The light effect is displayed, particularly in the leaves and sepal. These were the most successful tests and dictated the colour scheme of the project.

Tonic water containing the chemical quinine

The water fluoresces under the black light but there was no effect on the flowers

-Design Development-

-Indonesian Vernacular-

“There is staggering variety amongst the indigenous buildings... Something that unites many of them however are the features of being raised off the ground, and the presence of a large overhanging pitched roof.”

Creatures & floods



Being stylistically open-ended, most new buildings in tropical cities “adopt airconditioning as a panacea”1 However, with tropical countries poised to become world leaders in terms of economic and urban development,2 it seems imperative that new architecture in these places is equally forward thinking, creating a more sustainable typology for the tropics. In shaping a new environmental architecture, however, my project looked back to the archipelago’s rich vernacular tradition. This enabled many generations to inhabit the islands comfortably before the emergence and reliance on air conditioning.

My project aims to take these ancient forms as a starting point for an ecological architectureand drive this forward with the technological capabilities offered today.

There is staggering variety amongst the indigenous buildings, from the tongkonan, ancestral houses of the Toraja3 to the tiered pagodas of Bali. Something that unites many of them however are the features of being raised off the ground, on stone platforms or numerous wooden posts, and the presence of a large overhanging pitched roof. 4 The buildings being lifted off the ground is testament to the numerous wild snakes on the islands and a tendency to flood, whist the huge roof constructions not only provide a strategy to protect from the considerable rainfall but are also a means of natural ventilation, through the stack effect. My project aims to take these ancient forms as a starting point for an ecological architecture, and drive this forward with the technological capabilities offered today.


b c

Stack effect ventilation

Komodo Dragon


f e

g g g

Adjustable inlet

a.Sumba House b.Bali Pagoda Long-nosed whip snake

c.Tongkonan d.Nias House, constructed without nails e.Diagrams of the tongkonan house

1. 2. 3. 4.

f.Application of vernacular logic to my project

Bay and Ong 2006, p3 ibid May 2010, p158 Sidharta 2006, p12

g.Dangers on ground level in Indonesia Floods


-Architectural Precedent-

Abu Dhabi Louvre- Jean Nouvel

The layered lace-like construction of Jean Nouvel’s Abu Dhabi Louvre is designed to mediate the harsh desert solar radiation and create an interior illuminated by a ‘rain of light’. Also positioned above a body of water, it has been calculated that the enormous metal canopy will amass vast quantities of condensation.1 My much smaller scale project can take advantage of other materials, for example layers of delicately carved wood which could, rather than be a surface to condense against, act rather as a sink for the humidity. Intricate patterns could serve my building similarly in reducing solar gain, and this aesthetic resonates with the largely Islamic cultural heritage of the island.

Metal contruction leads to Rain of light

excessive condensation in humidity

1.Personal knowledge gained on a Unit trip to Abu Dhabi

My smaller construction can take advantage of other materials


f d g



c 39.



DR 1 Kirsty Williams  
DR 1 Kirsty Williams  

Design Realisation upload 1 2013