For Jakarta-based architect Andra Matin, the joy of seeing the public settled into his buildings is matched by the satisfaction that comes with the emergence of a more place-specific breed of contemporary Indonesian architecture. The Principal of Andramatin studio has long held the conviction that Indonesia requires a contemporary architecture that is expressive of traditional design and conscious of climate. His entire body of work is a contribution to this shift in design priorities.
Around the end of President Soeharto’s reign, Andra was among the country’s first young architects to set up his own practice in a bid to shift the needle away from the dominating styles of the larger firms. He founded AMI (Arsitek Muda Indonesia, or Young Architects of Indonesia) with his peers. “We tried to revolutionise the field by establishing our own practices, each with its own character, in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of architects to do the same,” he explains.
Over the course of his career, Andra has focused on designing buildings that are climate-conscious and incorporate traditional elements in an organic way. “Indonesian architecture is starting to move in that direction,” he says. Among his notable projects are LeBoYe (1999, an office/gallery/café that married consideration for climate and energy use with design simplicity); WH Residence (2006, which redefined the piloti of vernacular Indonesian stilt houses); and AM Residence (2013, which blurred the interior-exterior boundary and worked in tandem with climate and light).
Vernacular has also been redefined with Banyuwangi Airport (2019) – the studio’s first government-commissioned project, which Andra regards as a milestone. He says, “Now that small firms – including mine – have been entrusted with designing public buildings, we are heading to an era where the landscape of Indonesian public architecture has local characteristics combined with modern design principles.”
Photography of Andra Matin by Putu Adi Widiantara, LeBoYe (1999) by Davy Linggar, WH Residence (2006) by Davy Linggar, AM Residence (2013) by Andra Matin, Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Center (2018) by Sefval Mogalana, and Banyuwangi Airport (2019) by Davy Linggar.