Tropical utopias: The best contemporary Indonesian architecture of 2022
by Jerry ElengicalDec 25, 2022
by Meghna MehtaPublished on : Jul 02, 2020
The Oikumene Church was designed by TSDS Interior Architects in Indonesia due to the urgency to provide a place of worship. This was necessary to accommodate the needs of the Christian community that lived in the area, as well as the employees of the plantation company. This project was conceived as part of the CSR programme (Corporate Social Responsibility) of the PT. KMS, a company that works in the plantation field. The primary requisite laid out by the clients was to build the church by using the unused and unsold timber that was available with the clients. This created a sustainable approach as well as established the framework of the conceptual methodology for the designers.
The initial approach the designers took was to adapt ‘Single Materiality’; using one material as a creator of the entire space, which led to creating this example in wood architecture. Wood became the focus of the entire structure, being the chosen local material. Tony Sofian, principal architect at TSDS Interior Architects, says, “The architectural concept was inspired by Rumah Betang , a traditional dwelling in a form of a long house that has been used over the years by the locals, the Dayaks. Philosophically, the design of the church has been created reflecting and imagining how God has saved the human race from sin. This has been depicted through the architecture with the slanted roof sustained by the walls of the Oikumene Church.”
The building has been oriented towards the main road and the spaces have been aligned in the order: the garden to welcome visitors, the Church for prayers, and the private areas - the priest’s houses towards the end. The spaces have been planned and organised keeping the idea of privacy in mind.
“We believe it is important for us to give the visitors the time and space to prepare themselves to wholeheartedly be ready for worship,” shares Sofian. Hence a sense of journey was created through the garden by locating the main entrance of the church towards the rear end. This would make sure the visitors walk through the garden by footpath until they reach the entrance.
The external skin incorporates a mesh pattern that creates a changing shadow through out the day. This creates a transcendental effect on the circumambulatory path of the church exteriors. The main types of wood being used are Bengkirai wood, Kapur wood, and Meranti Wood. These woods were found as residue from the wood industry and together were the client’s and designer’s response to environmental empowerment. The façade of the Church uses mix of Rimba wood, while Meranti wood has been used as an interior material to create harmony with the environment and a spiritually pleasing experience of oneness.
The church appears as a visually pleasing structure that abides to local traditions and materials available in Indonesia while being environmentally sustainable by re-using and re-purposing the unwanted wood.
Project Name: Oikumene Church
Location: Sajau , East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Area: 277 sqm
Time taken from conception to construction: 2014-2015
Time taken for construction: 2015-2018
Name of the design firm: TSDS Interior Architects
Principle Interior Architect: Tony Sofian
Design Team: Eric Ekaputra Wijaya, Lili Royani , Shendy Setiawan
Engineering & Construction: Emuna Design
Lighting Consultants: Orly
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