• Environmentally Sustainable Design
04/07/2022 Sean Nino

ARCH:ID 2022, an environmental engineering and design perspective

Buildings that don't rely on massive resource inputs to sustain them , stand a much greater chance to withstand global insecurities and change

Date Published: July 04th, 2022

Written by: Sean Nino Lotze

ARCH: ID Indonesia is happening again this July 14th – 17th 2022, under the theme of “Sebentang, Serentang, Segendang”.  Three words that represent diversity and demand inclusive architecture in many forms and appreciate the national differences in culture, source, and material production, and differing views of the nation’s cultural and traditional practices. Some of the leading curators this year are all famed (IAI) Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia members. Namely Georgius Budi Yulianto, Dian Fitria, Budiman Hendropurnomo, Ar. Rizkiansyah Rizal, Andra Matin, Danny Wicaksono, Wiyoga Nurdiansyah and a few other well known Indonesian architects.

Hopefully, this year’s events build on the already somewhat environmentally sustainable beginnings of 2020 and continue to appreciate and showcase green-building themes, such as Inisiatif Scriptura by Each Other Company and Studiodasar, Lapis by ARA Studio, Beauty of Nature by Conwood Indonesia and Reliving Gedek by Modernscape.

In 2020 ARCH: ID showcased SHAU Architects and their Micro library Warak Kayu and Taman Bima . The Aga Kahn award-winning public library space for anyone that likes to read and enjoys literacy.  The buildings need no energy-intensive air conditioning to comfort their visitors and needs no lights during the daytime and is made from 2,000 upcycled large ice cream buckets which somehow provided a very well-balanced indoor lighting ambiance and shade. The buckets allow the air to flow freely through the space and present a codified message that reads “Buku adalah Jendela Dunia” (Books are the Window to the World).

Photo of 3 kids reading inside Bima Microlibrary

Exterior night view of the micro-library at Taman Bima


The Micro library Warak Kayu (recycled wood) is equally impressive and the fifth built project within the Micro library series – an initiative to increase reading interest by creating socially-performative multi-functional community spaces with environmentally-conscious design and materials, which aim to serve low-income neighborhoods. Designed by SHAU and prefabricated by PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia, this project is a community, private sector, and government collaboration and hopefully supported by local moms and dads that ban phones for a few hours every day and send the neighborhood kids to read.


3 kids reading books inside the Warak Kayu Microlibrary.


The Warak Kayu Microlibrary that implement sustainable design

Global sustainability think tanks are quite convinced that each nation and its individual architects and planners should not follow aesthetic trends but should develop the capacity to apply design in a way that matches the climate and environment and social conditions.  Designers should convince their clients and the public of this appropriate approach and not wait for them to demand it. Architects and designers are being called to build urban environments that are representative of the challenges of our time. Architects and designers are the specialists that must lead this space and not let their clients and their budgets decide what is best.

Unfortunately, large cities all around South East Asia are strangled by problems relating to urbanization, with little or no room for mitigation. The damage is done in many urbanized areas and the incentives and decision-making frameworks have been all wrong from the early beginnings of urban sprawl in South East Asia.

Growth patterns suggest that most future “improvements” will now take place in the small and middle-sized cities, peri-urban developments. Places like Ubud, Kota Gianyar, Kota Tabanan, and peri-urban areas outside of the major cities of Indonesia are less limited and not locked into past investments and planning decisions and provide huge opportunities for planners and developers to apply a type of smart growth that is more environmentally driven, and nothing compared to the urban sprawl that we experienced these past 70 years.

The Ukraine invasion comes with hearth breaking human suffering. It will impact people in Indonesia as global supply chains for food and energy continue to get more crippled. The price shocks will have consequences and we still have no end in sight that these resource wars will end. The war in Ukraine is reshaping the global energy landscape and it is ever clearer that we must reduce our daily consumption of resources to a much more sustainable level.

Building design and urban development cannot continue to be built on the basis of coal, oil, gas, tars, and petrochemicals. Architects, designers, and planners should be braver and embrace alternative techniques that consider that we have fewer material resources every year. This is a fact we cannot change and need to get comfortable with in our design and build processes.

Passive design is a design that takes advantage of the climate and natural energy resources, such as daylight, wind, and thermal buoyancy, to achieve a comfortable environment while minimizing energy use and reliance on mechanical systems [1]. Passive design strategies can improve buildings’ indoor comfort, enhance energy efficiency in buildings, and minimize buildings’ energy use [4].

Passive design as you can see in the micro-library example takes advantage of the climate and natural energy resources, such as daylight, wind, and thermal buoyancy to guide their decision-making processes, and paired with solar PV and renewables the building operations can actually “decouple” from future energy shocks and major increases in commodity prices. Simply because the buildings don’t rely on massive resource inputs to sustain them and are built to function with the environment and not against it.

Graph showing Major Commodity prices (all food, fuel and minerals, ores and non-precious metals) between January 2018 and March 2022

Biological resources and their adjoined pollution sinks are becoming materially limiting factors for economies. These limits are physical and thermo- dynamic facts that we “should” not ignore.

Energy is all-pervasive, human life builds upon resources that have embodied energy. Energy is not only required to produce electricity or to fuel a vehicle. All essentials of our lives depend on energy input, water needs energy for pumping and supply, waste has embodied energy and needs energy for its disposal (composting and recycling or incineration), and housing and infrastructure take up a vast amount of energy resources. These are all measurable physical exchanges of energy that take place and we can engineer them when we design built environments for the future.

Environmental and carbon budgets are maxing out and the financial markets and global instability and pandemic crisis are all direct results of a damaged global environment. This decade is our last chance to design and build the c0llective environments that drive change.

We are taking our team to Arch: ID this year and hope we can participate in an open-minded, and inspiring dialog that is reflective of this year’s “Sebentang, Serentang, Segendang”.  Three words that represent diversity and demand inclusive architecture.

I personally hope there will be more proactive and collective integrative decision-making by local leaders throughout Indonesia. And that ARCH: ID guides us to look at local solutions,  in small and medium-sized cities throughout Indonesia. Architects, environmental engineers, mayors, councilors, and the industry. We must all embrace environmentally sustainable, passive, and regenerative design and put it at the center of our design focus.

#ArchID #Urbanplanning #Indonesia #Building #Developers #ARchitects #Industry #Greenbuilding #Passivedesign #Regenerative #Netzero #Energy
#Sebentang #Serentang #Segendang #Eco-Mantra #ESD #Environmentalengineering



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