SEAARC Symposium Abstract 24: Multicultural Spaces: Dynamics on Indonesian Architectural Histories As the Case

By Prof. Kemas Ridwan Kurniawan, Universitas Indonesia

This presentation tries to elaborate the phenomena of spatial dynamics (negotiation, adaptation, contestation) on Indonesian Architectural Histories from socio-political and cultural perspectives. It will try to look at this phenomena from the conjuncture of ‘Third Space’ (from Homi K. Bhabha, a postcolonial critics) and ‘Thirdspace’ (from Edward Soja, a postmodern political geographer and urban planner) to ‘Multicultural Spaces’ (one of the critics from Leonie Sandercock, a multicultural urban planner). Soja’s ‘Thirdspace’ (1996), besides influenced by some key cultural theories included Bhabha’s theory of colonial and postcolonial cultures (1994), also developed from Henri Lefebvre’s (a French Hegelian Marxist urban sociologist) concept of Production of ‘Social’ Space (1974) and ‘Everydaylife’. Moreover, Leonie Sandercock’s ‘Towards Cosmopolis’ (1998) and ‘Making the Invisible Visible’ (1998) criticized the modern urban planning histories which ignored marginal communities existences. Moreover, Hardt and Negri’s War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (2004) brings up the concept of third space through multitudious perspectives which approach multicultural spaces through hidden networks of spatial multiplicities of war.

This presentation will look at how ‘hybrid’ (in Bhabha’s concept) or ‘everything comes together’ (in Soja’s concept) operated in the Indonesian architectural contexts from colonial/postcolonial hybridity to postmodern everydayness, included dystopian images of urban kampung to terrorism and also how hidden spaces such as backyards, dark corners of urban districts can be also visible.


Kurniawan was born in Bangka Island, an Indonesian tin mining main region, in 1971 and spent half of his childhood experiences there. His father came from Sumatra while his mother is a Sino-Malay Bangkanese whose ancestor came from Siantan (Anambas island) to Bangka around 18th century. Kurniawan moved to Jakarta in 1978 and obtained his ‘Sarjana Teknik’ in Architecture (Undergraduate Degree) from Universitas Indonesia (1995). Kurniawan finished his Ph.D degree from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL) in 2005, where he previously also took a Master program (M.Sc) in Architectural History (2000). His research interest is about socio-cultural history of Indonesian architecture and urbanism, in relation to the context of colonialism and postcolonialism. Besides this such research, he also carries out other research related to tradition and modernism, and participated in various International and National seminars/workshops on such topics. He is the author of ‘Postcolonial History of Architecture and Urbanism; Power and Space of Indonesian Tin Mining in Bangka Island’ (2011) and ‘The Hybrid Architecture of Colonial Tin Mining Town of Muntok’ (2013). Some of his articles were also published in accredited National and recognized International Journals.
In Universitas Indonesia (UI), he becomes a Professor in Architecture who teaches on Architectural Design Studio, History of Architecture and Architectural Heritage courses for undergraduate, International Class (S1) and graduate program (S2). He also supervises several Doctoral students in the Department of Architecture FTUI.
He had been appointed as Head of Department of Architecture Faculty of Engineering Universitas Indonesia from 2007 – 2013. Up to present, he is the member of ‘TPLK’ (‘Tim Penataan Lingkungan Kampus’) and also Master-Plan Team in UI.
He also has been appointed as member of ‘TABG’ (‘Tim Ahli Bangunan Gedung’) in the DKI Jakarta’s provincial government since 2014. Kurniawan was also former Head of ‘APTARI’ (Association of Architectural Schools in Indonesia) from 2010 to 2013. His academic experiences were also enriched with his professional practices in several bureaus in Jakarta (before 1999). He also participated in several national architectural design competitions and sometimes became a jury in such events. He and his team obtained several Design Competition Awards for such activities such as Islamic Center Tebet (1997), Faculty of Engineering Library (1997), Rumah Susun in Jakarta (1997), Aceh Tsunami Museum (2008)
Furthermore, as one of his dedication for the community welfare, up to present he has actively and voluntarily involved in the community engagement activities in the Heritage City of Muntok – Bangka, which is also his home-town, to educate local people about the importance of Heritage and also doing some Heritage revitalization there. For these activities, he also worked together with Muntok Heritage Community, Local Government of West Bangka Regency. PT. Timah and several others local socio-cultural networks.

This entry was posted in SEAARC symposium '15 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *