Jakarta, October 6-7. Two walks, two heights, two different cities. Two of the unlimited amount of cities that Jakarta has given birth to in its urban evolution. It would be too easy, after these few days, to describe Jakarta as a place where architectural adjacencies are the norm, a city of collisions and clashes, resulting in an obvious state of chaos. Jakarta shouldn’t be analyzed as a city, because it isn’t. It might have the pretense of being one but it isn’t.
Strolling around on its rooftops, through its hotel-rooms, little alleys, corridors and shopping-malls one can only feel happy to experience the intertwining of the present and future Jakarta, a future that, so I imagine, through a constant process of adaptation, change and mutation embodies in a ridiculously honest way the mature megalopolis. It has laid the foundation for its future during the past decades and shows, architecturally, few sign of the stylistic growing pains that normally go along with change and development.
On October 6, I went in search for more height, more bird’s-eye-views and found myself in the heart of Jakarta’s Golden Business Triangle [Mega Kuningan] near multinational corporations, embassies and shoppings, and watched the city from the Marriott. On October 7, I took the TransJakarta to opposite end of my trip on October 5 and arrived at the Kota Train Station. From their I walked south to the Harmoni bus station. A journey that brought me through little alleys, along mosques, sheds, street vendors and shops, straight into the heart of the residual paradise of self-build architectural in(ter)ventions. Despite the obvious harsh hygienic conditions the inhabitants of this area suffer from -floods, open sewage, rats and cats- I found it to be one of the most alive, bursting, energetic, creative, absurd, over-the-top architectural settings I saw so far. As the camera works quicker than the mind, the shutter faster than the keyboard, images more immediate than words, for now some snapshots.
Pictures by Bert de Muynck | movingcities.org