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Aboday: Firmness in design and intuition

Dylan Amirio
Dylan Amirio

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, December 7, 2017 | 09:19 am
Aboday: Firmness in design and intuition

Indonesian architectural bureau Aboday has published its second book, Firmitas. (Griya Kreasi/File)

Challenging the usual norms of architecture, Indonesian architectural bureau Aboday has published its second book, Firmitas, partly as a way to encourage budding architects to trust their intuition and experience more when designing.

Published by Griya Kreasi, Firmitas is basically a collection of Aboday architects’ personal experiences during their work, sprinkling throughout the colorful paperback their trade secrets, material choices and their navigation through the sometimes rigid design rules of the Indonesian architectural scene.

Aboday architect and co-writer of Firmitas Ary Indra describes the book as one that is more accessible to readers and architectural students, compared to the book that Aboday released in 2013, Fame, Fortune, Flirt, which was in the form of a monographed, coffee-table book that was relatively pricy and therefore somewhat exclusive. 

A focus in the book’s content is the group’s willingness not to preach the relatively general teachings that are usually already taught in university. 

Ary himself feels that architecture courses in universities tend to be devoid of experiential teaching, focusing rather on the same general basics of architecture taught for years. 

“Content wise, the book is more informed compared to the first book. We purposefully put in strategies and explanations on how to actually design good rooms, based on experience. Basically, rules that sometimes are not taught by architecture classes. I don’t think I learned as much about architecture in university as I do in the field today,” he said during the launch of Firmitas inPlaza Senayan, South Jakarta recently. 

The book details up to 20 finished projects and 13 projects currently in progress, explained in conjunction with Aboday’s development, growth and ideas that it has cultivated in its 11-year operational history. 

Blueprints of apartment block lobbies, malls and tall office buildings in several locations in Indonesia are presented in detail accompanied with Aboday’s personal approaches, typical material usage and design standards laid out in the explanations. 

Some of the book’s insights include how to properly design fire escapes in buildings, at what appropriate distances and sizes to ensure maximum effectiveness, and how far tall buildings should be properly distanced in order to fit a particular area’s density.

“Architects need to realize that they must make a lot of decisions outside of their usual scope. The usage of their architectural intuition can sometimes open up new perspectives that can make more sense than ordinary pragmatic calculations,” reads a paragraph in the picture and diagram-laden book’s 30th page.

“So we are basically opening the secrets to our craft, similar to how chefs reveal their secrets in their own cookbooks,” added fellow Aboday architect and co-writer Rafael David. 

The job of the architect is to ultimately fulfill the requests of their clients and to pull them off in the most effective and efficient way for their ultimate usage. Sometimes, his means that architects must also succumb to whatever architecture or home design trends are big at the moment. But according to Ary, there is no such thing for an architect as “design trends.” 

This is because the architect feels that whatever is requested by a client is ultimately a reflection of the client’s personality, and around which the architect simply builds their designs.  

“Architecture in the end is about what the client wants. I look at the personal style of the client based on their requests. I know that the term ‘eco-friendly designs’ get thrown out a lot but I don’t see that as a trend. It’s only a label in the end, and besides, architects should design as eco-friendly as possible without even being asked to.”