Jakarta 2.0: Spacelab at IABR Rotterdam 2009

Night view

In the previous weeks we submitted a project to the international ideas competition “GotongRoyong City: Envisioning the Future of Jakarta, organized by the “International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam” (IABR) 2009 and Rotterdam Berlage Institute, in collaboration with Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of Architects Jakarta Chapter) and University of Edimburgh, Department of Architecture.

‘Gotong Royong’ is usually translated into English as ‘reciprocity’ or ‘mutual assistance’. In Indonesia the term is applied across political, social, economic and cultural spheres. The aim of this competition was to “focus the possibilities of this rich term onto urban and architectural matters, […] to encourage architects and urban designers to research, dream, and speculate about Jakarta and its future. If we can liberate ourselves from petty politics and bureaucratic planning, what would a Gotong Royong Jakarta be like?” (from the competition brief).

Unfortunately, we aren’t in the winner podium…
However, here is our – provocative? – stuff, so far by “petty politics and bureaucratic planning”, approaching a bit much generic theme with a spongy tribute to the 70’s Superstudio’s “Monumento Continuo”. Enjoy.

Jakarta, 2009
“Greater Jakarta”: estimated at 25milion (2nd largest urban area in the world).
Visitors/city-users increase the congestion: severe traffic jams and overcrowdings ocurring almost every day.
40% of Jakarta is below sea level: air pollution, waste management, drinking water shortage, flooding (due to clogged sewage pipes/waterways, savage urbanization and deforestation).
Major buildings, highrises, services and residual public space are occasional and poorly connected, separated by endless traffic times. Seemingly, no solution.



The 2nd Chance: Jakarta Layer_02
Imagine a new, physical urban level slightly wrapping the traditional city: a sort of foamy “Monumento Continuo” finally representing the connective tissue able to create smart relationships between the major existing urban issues.

A porous mega-structure, served with a new urban transport system (TransJakarta 2.0?), which integrates public spaces, hanging gardens, pedestrian promenades, commercial/residential/office functions, inner energy/water accumulators. A sample of what Jakarta aims to become.


Just can’t get enough
Trying to envision the future of Jakarta for this competition, our attention was to choice carefully the object of speculation. We intended this brief as an opportunity: finally liberated “from petty politics and bureaucratic planning”, we tried to make an happy revolution to the urban scale, and beyond.
“Gotong Royong” as a continuous monument to the coexistence.
Thus, as the problems of Jakarta are alike troubles for the resting 70% of similar megalopolis, the site of intervention can be paradoxically anywhere. This project for Jakarta is admittedly a sample of an Utopia. A sample of 2,500x500m over Jalan Sudirman-Thamrin and Jalan Mohammad Husni Thamrin.


The High-life
Jakarta Layer_02 integrates public infrastructure, public spaces, commercial, touristic, leisure and work functions, energy and water accumulation/production facilities.
The super-structure is 8m thick, and contains in depth one- or two-storied spaces. Tridimensional macro-holes, accurately positioned to respect settled distances from existing buildings and public spaces (diameters ranging by 75m to 350m), are designed to have a crucial contribution to the form-factor resistance. Smaller voids remain between the structure of the space-grid, to reduce weights.
Special designed surfaces integrate solar panels to capture the sun irradiation, so as aeolian generators taking advantage of the higher winds, both connected with a co-generation system inside the structure.
In the wet season, the abundant rain is captured in special multi-stage osmotic filtered tanks, and so given back to public as sanitary water.



The super-slab is shored up at the height of 230fts (70m) by mixed vertical supports, such as structural reticular pylons or entire reinforced new buildings, containing lift systems and stairs to reach the Layer_02  level, apart from water pipes, drainings, electrical and data lines . All the support structural system is arranged at the ground level in urban plots still free of buildings or siding main streets, on public property spaces.
Main accesses to the Layer_02  are arranged near huge new parkings and busway stations, directly connected with the parallel and efficient transport system above (monorail/maglev).

Layer_02 is theorically endless, upgradeable in all directions and with more or less concentration of  covered surface. The lymph of the Layer is the seamless network of public spaces and transport, serving a corollary of public and private facilities.
To test it, we choose the condition 2 (im)mobility/”reshuffle”, pulling down a sample of the Layer_02 measuring 2.500m x 500m (1.250.000m2), oriented N-S over the joint between Jalan Sudirman-Thamrin and Jalan Mohammad Husni Thamrin. Pratically, a condition 2, remixed on the north side (congestion+access to the urban nucleus).

“And” is better than “Or”
What is Coexistence  in Jakarta Layer_02? What we intend for Gotong Royong in this project?
Recipro-City: a Jakarta over Jakarta which not create a negation, a destruction, or – at worst – further congestion of the city we know today. Jakarta for us is Layer_02 and the original ground layer. Simply, the upper one supports the today-Jakarta, and can solve severe problems otherwise impossible to approach.
In other words: formal and informal; real and utopia; discontinuity and coherence; ended and endless.
The one of them contemporary with the another.

©2009 Spacelab Architects
Project: Luca Silenzi
Project team: Luca Silenzi, Zoè Chantall Monterubbiano, Roberto Sargo, Giampiero Luzi
Jakarta Layer_02: link to Spacelab italian weblog








Introducing the Food Container_remixed

From box to hypercube

This commercial building (surface: 2.500 m2) is a part of a wider urban district planned by Spacelab Architects since 2006 in the city of Porto Sant`Elpidio (Le Marche, Italy), in the course of completion.

The client brief was to realize the maximum formal impact in the limits of precast construction and basic tipology dictated by the commercial function. We intended this limits as an occasion to conduct modularity to new formal results.

Mixing two structural systems {precast concrete grid + metal reticular truss}, the box resulting by urban plan parameters is complicated in the entrance side with a tridimensional prismatic intrusion, distinguished by using glass and other traslucent materials.
The result is a distorsion of perception near the main facade overlooking the public space, inside a more basic frame. The other sides are made by a precast custom-made concrete envelope, which module is denied by a looping abstract texture, visually connecting each panel to the contiguous. Windows are obtained by subtracting material inside the texture pattern.


The Food Container_Remixed was awarded in late 2009 with the World Architecture Awards – 5th Cycle

The Food Container_Remixed was mentioned and selected in January 2011 to compete the IN/ARCH Prize.

©Spacelab Architects (Arch. Luca Silenzi, arch. Roberto Sargo, arch. Zoè Chantall Monterubbiano, ing. Giampiero Luzi), 2007-2008.

Feb, 17 2009 – Interesting links to this project:

Arch Daily



Night view
Night view
Night view 2
Night view 2
The custom-made precast concrete modular panels
The custom-made precast concrete modular panels
Side view
Side view
Sketch-up early draft
Sketch-up early draft


Next Tirane

Tirana Blocks, 3D simulation

Albania and its major cities are today under the spotlight of international interest in new urban development.

Spacelab Architects designed this building in the urban center of Tirane, to approach a different kind of intervention in the today otherwise anonymous city landscape.

The design take advantage of the entire volume available for the site: all the levels of the building are designed in order to occupy the maximum area planned by the so called “French Masterplan” for the urban center of Tirane, with subtle alignment variations in perimetral walls from one story to another. The first two storeys of the building host commercial function, with wide glasses allowing to look to the streets around. Through an inner green court, which can be closed to public during the night, four entrance blocks with independent stairs and elevators lead to offices and residential units above.

At the top of the building is a panoramic restaurant, with privileged sights on the Tirana skyline from a height of approximately 35 meters. The complex is completed by two underground levels of parkings, connected directly with stairs/elevators in order to catch up all the levels of the block.

Design group: Arch. Luca Silenzi, arch. Roberto Sargo, arch. Zoè Chantall Monterubbiano, ing. Giampiero Luzi. ©2008 Spacelab Architects, all rights reserved.

Commercial spaces and entrance to the green inner courtyard

The green inner courtyard

Volumes and vertical distribution scheme