shortlisted project

Tanah Antara, “the land in between”

by Ruben Sannen from Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, Netherlands
Tutored by: Jaakko Van ’T Spijker, Florian Heinzelmann, Mark Veldman, Margit Schuster

Author comments:

Jakarta is sinking below sea level due to an alarming rate of land subsidence. All efforts to rehabilitate the cities water management structure, which is under stress from overpopulation, environmental degradation and climate change seem to be too little too late. Now there is a plan to protect Jakarta against the flood threat from the sea by closing off Jakarta Bay by means of a huge offshore sea dike.

This development threatens the loss of important values in the coastal zone with its traditional harbors, urban kampungs and mangrove forest. The engineering approach ignores that the key to solving the urban water issues lies predominantly in the kampung, the traditional communities, that form the backbone of Indonesian society and that stands for resilience, harmony and survival.

This graduation project shows a spatial adaptation within the existing city structure. At the same time it projects an innovative vision on the Indonesian urban delta of the future that combines social, historical end morphologic values. Small-scale water management is connected to a densification model. This approach fits the Indonesian pallet of knowledge much better in terms of engineering, dealing with water, resilience and the ability to adapt to natural circumstances.

Tutor comments:

“Tanah Antara”, the land in between, radically rethinks conventional engineering approaches to protecting densely populated delta cities against increasing flood threats. A unique urban planning and architectural concept is developed rooted in traditional design and local values, redefining the concept of “living with water”.
The committee is impressed by the fact that the student showed to capture the general broadness of the subject and has been able to translate this assignment into a consistent graduation project. The project moves through a large variety of scales and strikes the right notes of subtlety on every scale level. In doing so, it displays a great thematically variety of statements; from the polemical statement up until the detailed construction principles. That width, depth and consistency are typical pillars of this project.
Amidst this enormous wealth, the committee is very much appreciating the contextuality of the project. It is visible in the essence of the main strategy, namely to counter the rising water and sea levels from the logic of the kampung as a social basis and crucial building block for the swampy metropole. This main strategy is also easily recognizable in both, the socio-cultural and climatological logic of the architectural elaboration and in the complete absence of ‘paternalism’ in the project: for the committee there is no doubt that Jakarta’s inhabitants are taken extremely serious in this project.

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