|Fig. 14: Wisma Dharmala, Jakarta. Architect: Paul Rudolph|
The beginning of the 1980s was also the beginning of a construction boom by the private sector. This private sector tends to be more sensitive than the government in dealing with architecture. To the private sector, the appearance of architecture is an integral part of the marketing strategy. The more luxurious the appearance, the more prestigious the company image is. This has become the prevailing philosophy of architecture. Competition among private companies accelerated during the previous decade, to the point where the use of a foreign architect is now becoming part of marketing strategy. (Fig 14) In the early nineties for example, it was not strange to find advertisements for an apartment that also included the photograph and name of the architect. Building 'modern' is no longer important; now the building must be designed by a foreign architect, no matter how bad their design is. Even projects that must definitely show indigenous form, such as tourist hotels in Bali, use indigenous forms but are designed by foreign architects.
The opportunity that foreign architects have to practice in Indonesia is in part due to the financing system of projects. Both in government projects and the private sector, if the financing is in part supported by foreign money, those foreign investors demand that the design be controlled by them. What makes the government project different from the private sectors is, among other things, the government project may require a partnership between foreign architects and an Indonesian architect. Expectedly, this partnership may resulted in transfer of knowledge. What is ironic is that it becomes a model for architectural practice in the nineties. Projects on the national or international level will have a foreign architect; projects at the provincial level will have 'foreign' architects, i.e. Jakarta's architects; and it goes on until at the very end, architects at the district level are unemployed. Although we may not underestimate the capacity of those foreign architects to develop a true "Indonesian" architecture, we surely believe that this task is ultimately obligatory for the Indonesians. The question is whether the situation conducive and supportive to a nation's cultural development. Indeed, the conflict between westernization and modernization in Indonesia does not simply involve architectural styles, but control over the building site, as well.
|Fig 15a: Contemporary scene, Bank Pacific building, Surabaya||Fig 15b: Contemporary scene, Architect's house, Jakarta|
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