RAW Architecture – Realrich Architecture Workshop


RAW Architecture is a Jakarta-based architectural firm founded by Realrich Sjarief and consisting of two laboratories: the DOT Workshop, which focuses on construction research, and OMAH Library, a research group and a public library that holds approximately 1,500 architectural volumes and hosts periodical public events on contemporary architectural discourse.

The practice operates based on the Javanese concept of suwung, which translates to ‘emptiness’. It means the state of freedom from preconception and ego, which is used to obtain (paradoxically) a totality. Three principles to this concept are: memayu hawaning bawana (bringing beauty and peace to one’s world), mangganing kawula gusti (believing in something greater than oneself), and Sangkan Paraning Dumadi (having consciousness of one’s role in the universe).

This is expressed in the formation of the studio, which exists in harmony with a critical approach to nature and technical aspects. The approach manifests in studio’s concept of The Guild – which is a home, and a semi-public library, and a place where RAW Architecture can share knowledge with everyone.

As a practice, RAW Architecture approaches each project with ideas exploration to develop stereotomy and technical aspects of the building, as well as historical studies and case studies in achieving tectonics. An experimental approach to architecture and material is explored through RAW Architecture’s projects, and by making their own studio the test-bed of design and construction. Therefore, the Alfa Omega School project, and the studio itself – The Guild – are in a state of perpetual reinvention.

In answering the contemporary question of finding the spirit of modern Indonesian architecture, RAW Architecture is actively exploring traditional as well as genuine poetic objects as archetypal inspirations to be tested into their projects. Through observation, reading and self-evaluation, RAW Architecture and OMAH Library has published numerous articles and books which contributes to the discussion of the architecture profession. RAW Architecture also provides annual fellowships to more than 50 students from South-East Asia to intern in the studio.

Photography: Eric Dinardi, Realrich Sjarief