IN BETWEEN SPECIFICITY AND AUTONOMY - The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Hellerup, Denmark

Januar Putra Sakti Lestari
Education degree
School of Architecture
Study programme
Spatial Design

Specificity of a place and the autonomy of the form

I have always been fascinated with the ability of Danish architecture to somehow maintain the presence of tradition in the modern context. This project is partly my critique of modern architecture in my country, Indonesia. We somehow lost our identity and character because of globalization, or “internetization” perhaps.

We can access information so easily, and we build what other people have built, which is not ours, we prefer to copy rather than to think further on what is it that represents our form of locality. Therefore learning from the Danish example, I decided to look back to some of our traditional architecture.

Many have attempted to refer back to the vernacular but resulted in a kitsch manner. So this attempt to bring back specificity by referring to the vernacular shouldn’t stop here because then it is there for the sake of being contextual per sea- rather I believe the vernacular has tremendous potential in itself to be explored further, to reveal a new meaning by an abstraction, a translation or reappropriation.

The new meaning becomes fundamental so that the work can speak for itself, for its own being, for its own context, completely autonomous, yet still very specific.

Alongside studying the vernacular, I collected all the existing buildings in the neighborhood, detached them from the context and put it next to each other. To see how similar they are in terms of typology, while at the same time, they are quite different in some ways. It seems like there is a necessity to be singular, to be different from each other to be autonomous.

With the result being both specific and autonomous, I believe there is supposed to be no hierarchy in both result, it is specific yet autonomous, it belongs to a particular place yet to all places.

“the best form has already been invented, and no one should be afraid of using it, even if the basic idea of it comes from someone else, enough of our geniuses and originality”

Adolf Loos

Indonesian Vernacular Reference 1

Omo Hada, Bawomataluo village, Nias

Private/communal dwelling

Indonesian Vernacular Reference 2

Mbaru Niang, Waerebo village, Flores

Communal dwelling

Context study

1:200 model and figure-ground study

section a-a'
section b-b'
section c-c'
main auditorium
bay window
sunken garden
section perspective

Sketch models


In 2017-2019, KADK is working with the UN sustainable development goals
This is reflected in our research, teaching and the students’ projects. This project relates to the following UN goal(-s):
Industry, innovation and infrastructure (9)
Sustainable cities and communities (11)
Peace, justice and strong institutions (16)

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