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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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