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Tropicality Revisited: Recent Approaches by Indonesian Architects

Tropicality Revisited: Recent Approaches by Indonesian Architects

History tells us that building and dwelling in the tropics is never simply about avoiding the rain and the sun. The act of designing for the climate is always appropiated by many other things. The history of “tropical architecture” can be traced back as early as the first European settlers’ encounter with indigenous tropical vernacular buildings. In the old colonial days, the tropics served as a collision ground between worlds. But it reached a spot on architectural discourse when it coincides with the success of the Modern Architecture as it becomes global and adapted to suit all climates and cultures. During the post-war period the science of climatic design gains international success and putting a new horizon on architecture.


For generations of Indonesian architects, the tropics is never been a conquered territory. For dreamers, the tropics is more like a reality to come back to.  The tropics – with its torrential rain, excessive heat, vapours – is always in every critics’ menu whatever the style is. It is often easily forgotten by the glazed and air conditioned skyscrapers while at the same time it is celebrated in the tropical tourist resorts. At times, it seems to be taken for granted – pitched roof and overhangs are the ready-to-use answers – but it is also a challenge for architects to imagine new things. In the days of environmental and energy crisis, the climatic design is making a triumphal comeback.


This show is a glimpse about how Indonesian architects rethink dan explore about the ever present tropical climate, the environmental changes they are situated, and the essentials of architectural practice.


The show features 12 recent works in Indonesia from 12 Indonesian architects: Achmad Tardiyana, Andra Matin, Ahmad Djuhara, Csutoras & Liando, Kristoporus Primeloka & Akanoma, Urbane Indonesia, Studio Tonton, d-associates, Eff Studio, Mamo Studio, Eko Prawoto, and LABO.

August 28, 2015 - January 17, 2016
Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Schaumainkai 43, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Jerman

Curator: Avianti Armand, Setiadi Sopandi, Peter Cahcola Schmal
Exhibition designer & curatorial assistant: Robin Hartanto, Andreas Yanuar Wibisono 
Photographer: Paul Kadarisman
Photography team: Suryani Liauw, Ary Sendy
Graphic designer: Ismiaji Tjahjono
Public Relation: Brita Köhler, Lisa Katzenberger
Secretary: Wolfgang Welker
Administration: Inka Plechaty, Jaqueline Brauer
Installation team: Angela Tonner, Marina Barry, Gerhard Winkler, Harald Pompl, Ulrich Diekmann, Michael Reiter unter der Leitung von Christian Walter