SEAARC Symposium Abstract 23: “Architectural Revitalization in Post-Earthquake Yogyakarta”

by Mr. Punto Wijayanto, Indonesian Heritage Trust

In 1992, Indonesia passed the law on Benda Cagar Budaya (Cultural Heritage Preservation), which protects artifacts with historical, scientific and cultural value. Heritage groups, however, question the Indonesian government’s concern with only the conservation of monumental architecture. In 2003, the Indonesian Heritage Society, an umbrella organization of various heritage organizations, published “Indonesia Charter for Heritage Conservation”. According to this charter, the heritage of Indonesia is the legacy of nature, culture, and saujana, the weaving of the two. This paper focuses on how heritage organizations implemented the Indonesia Charter and developed frameworks on architecture and built environment as heritage. Observations will be made on the post-Earthquake conservation projects in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 

In May 2006, Yogyakarta experienced a massive, destructive earthquake of 5.6 ritcher scale. Many buildings were damaged or were left in dangerous condition. Among them were two prominent buildings – Bangsal Trajumas, a hall in the Yogyakarta palace complex, and Prambanan temple. Some buildings were left in even worse condition and they received limited attention from the local government.

Many emergency responses and recovery efforts were initiated and carried out by heritage organizations. With the belief that heritage conservation should not only focus on the monuments but also pay attention to the community’s heritage or folk heritage, heritage organizations in Yogyakarta started the Pusaka Jogja Bangkit project to save and revive Yogyakarta’s heritage. With support from international aid agencies, this project held rapid assessment of damaged cultural heritage, documented historic buildings and rehabilitated some wooden houses (joglo type) in Kotagede. The spatial arrangement of the house, including modified arrangement, is emphasized as a counter-concept to that of architecture as monument. These approaches were subsequently adapted by the government. The government –also with support from international aid agencies- conducted some architectural revitalization projects in Kotagede by giving new functions to restored wooden houses. The earthquake became an opportunity for heritage organizations to create a new arena of heritage conservation. Although they departed from the traditional concerns for Yogyakarta’s history and culture, they helped to shape the concept of architecture and built environment as heritage.


Punto Wijayanto is coordinator of capacity building and Post-Disaster program at Indonesian Heritage Trust (BPPI/Badan Pelestarian Pusaka Indonesia). He is also a researcher at the Center for Heritage Conservation (CHC), Department of Architecture and Planning, Faculty of Engineering, University of Gadjah Mada (UGM).

Since 2012 he is a member of Board of Experts at a collaborative program between BPPI and Spatial Planning Agency – Ministry of Public Work on “heritage city program”. The name of the program is P3KP (Program Penataan dan Pelestarian Kota Pusaka). It is now working with 10 historic cities in Indonesia.

His research interests includes urban planning, governance and disaster risk management for cultural heritage. In 2006/07, he conducted a research on the Conservation of the Old City of Hanoi (2006/07) with support from the Asian Scholarship Foundation. With BPPI, he has just published a book about guidelines for the post-disaster conservation of heritage buildings (2011).

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