12 May 2017
Architectural Association, London
The Living Roof: A Technological Emancipation for Jakarta’s Urban Kampung
With the world’s steepest rates of land subsidence and increasing occurrences of substantial flooding, the city of Jakarta in Indonesia, is experiencing a process of normalisation. What this means is a proliferation of infrastructure along the central river running through the city, which in turn threatens local urban village communities into a certain type of confinement—the ‘de-humanisation’ of the river-way with tarmac networks extraneous to the traditional livelihoods of the locals.
In such occurrences, the project challenges the imposed infrastructural normalisation of the city to grasp a new materialistic, cultural and ecological reading by investigating how technology—in hand with the need of controlling continuously transiting water—could re-establish the lost relationship between the informal vernacular settlements of the urban Kampung and the Ciliwung river. The watercourse is re-created as a ‘roof’ framework seeking to develop artificial ecosystems for the establishment of commerce, public amenities and empowering the rich communal atmosphere of the Jakartan urban Kampung.
The technical investigation allowed the project to take a ‘living’ form through the evolution of a functioning prototype of the artificial river able to convey water through digital technology and correlating the narrative of the project with atmospheric photography and film-making. Receiving this recognition for my technical studies has demonstrated to me the role narratives can play in giving direction to the development of technologies: the power of speculating on a certain techno-social relationship as a core driver for the realisation of self-fulfilling fictions.
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Film Title: The Living Roof of Bukit Duri