Jakarta, October 8-12. Crisscrossing Jakarta and spending hours moving through the city in-between seeing Architecture. Measuring the size and intensity, the diversity and flow of the metropolis, while taking notes and trying to make sense out of all that is moving. After a couple of days in the city, it appears to me that in whatever direction one drives, a journey through Jakarta offers a relentless sequence of similar architectural and urban programs. The metropolis is composed out of a mix of shoppingmalls and sheds, gated communities and open-air markets, highways and little alleys all filled with motorcycles and SUV’s.
Although it is clear what the components are that make this city look vibrant and are able to digest future change of and on whatever scale, it is still unclear if there is a larger agenda behind this collisions of constructions; Jakarta is a city where one is constantly surprised about what to find around the corner. Anything can happen here, and the past days have taking me through districts filled with upper class Greek and Roman villa’s, along roads flanked with self-built structures, highways bordered with tropical vegetation, streets filled with floating street vendors and business district composed out of non-distinct office towers.
As endless as the city appears, its culture of congestion now and then thins out in golf courts and thickens around shoppingmalls. Jakarta is a city where the individual adaptation of architectural language has been put to test throughout the past decades, it is a designers’ delirium where the unlimited possibilities of combining materials and styles, some perfectly pure, others provocative, has been tested patiently. The overall result is probably not beautiful, but honest for sure.
Pictures by Bert de Muynck | movingcities.org