Envisioning the Future of Jakarta

Introduction The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) 2009 in collaboration with Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of Architects Jakarta Chapter) is pleased to announce an idea competition on the theme of 'gotong royong city' in the context of the extended metropolitan region of Jakarta. Three winning entries will be selected by an international jury for exhibition in the IABR 2009 and awarded prizes totaling 7,000 Euros.

Context: The IABR 2009 The IABR is now well-established as one of the world's premiere sites for critical, creative and progressive thinking on architecture and urbanism. The IABR aims to 'explore to what extent architects, with their knowledge, skills, and imaginative powers, can contribute to solving urgent problems in contemporary society. It therefore challenges the design disciplines, using the specific expertise of architecture, to conduct "research by design" and to develop concrete proposals, based on the Biennale's theme'.

Theme: Reciprocity/ Gotong Royong City This 4th Biennale takes the theme of 'Open City: Designing Coexistence'. The idea of the Open City is understood as 'an urban condition that enables diverse cultures and lifestyles to coexist'. It 'balances integrating and segregating forces to encourage distinct communities and groups to settle, interact, and establish the dynamic relationships that we call urbanity'. A number of sub-themes will examine this Open City hypothesis in greater detail, and one of these has been identified as 'Gotong Royong'.
'Gotong Royong' is usually translated into English as 'reciprocity' or 'mutual assistance'. In Indonesia the term is applied across political, social, economic and cultural spheres. The aim of this competition is to focus the possibilities of this rich term onto urban and architectural matters. We seek to investigate the capacities of this term to serve as a relevant principle of urban life generally, to revive its fortunes as an indigenous principle for thinking and action in the extended metropolitan region of Jakarta.

Through this competition we would like to encourage architects and urban designers to research, dream, and speculate about Jakarta and its future. If we can liberate ourselves from petty politics and bureaucratic planning, what would a Gotong Royong Jakarta be like? What architectural and urban configurations might emerge from such a vision? Agricultural cities? Landscape urbanisms? Zones of hyper-density? Cultures of Congestion? Bioclimatic highrise forms? Can western urban models inspire at all: from Haussman's Paris, Archizoom's No-Stop City, Rogers' Compact Cities, to MVRDV's 3d city? What other models might emerge from Jakarta itself? Kampong highrise? Desa-kota hybrids? Kinetic urbanism of warungs and PKLs? There are endless possibilities; it is up to you to propose creative, provocative, relevant, and well-researched architectural and urban design ideas for Jakarta. How might the different agencies in the city work hand-in-hand to achieve mutual benefits. Show in your design how the old spirit of 'Gotong Royong' might be revived and reinvented as a tool to reform urban life!

Eligibility The competition is open to all professionals and students in architecture, urban design and related disciplines. Entrants are encouraged to form inter-disciplinary teams including sociologists, artists, planners, anthropologists, engineers, economists etc.

Participants are expected to have basic knowledge about Jakarta.
We welcome existing or ongoing research/ design projects to be submitted to this competition, provided they are adjusted to the theme and format of the competition.

  • 27 Feb - Competition Launch and Registration (website)
  • 27 Feb - 14 March Question and Answer (website)
  • 14 March - Registration Closes (website)
  • 14 March - 6 Apr (24.00 NL time, GMT +1) Submission Dates (website)
  • 13 Apr - Results Announced (website)
  • 7 May - Prize Ceremony and Workshop (Jakarta)
  • 24 Sept - 10 Jan 2010 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (NAi, Rotterdam)

Prizes A total amount 7,000 eur will be distributed as follows:
  • 1 Winner 1,500 eur prize + 1,500 eur*
  • 1 Runner-up 750 eur prize + 1,500 eur
  • 1 Honorable mention 250 eur prize + 1,500 eur

*An additional funding of maximum 1,500 eur will be awarded to each winning team to develop the project further to integrate with the thematic aims of the IABR 2009. This development will be anchored by a workshop to be held in Jakarta where a number of the competition jury will work with competition winners.


Stephen Cairns (Edinburgh University, subcurator IABR 2009)

Kees Christiaanse (KCAP Rotterdam, curator IABR 2009)

Winy Maas (MVRDV, the why factory)

Vedran Mimica (Berlage Institute Rotterdam)

Andrea Peresthu (TU Delft)

Daliana Suryawinata (SHAU Rotterdam, the why factory, subcurator IABR 2009)

-registration is closed-

The 6-digit code will be used to judge all entries anonymously. Therefore it is essential to include this code in your submission.

Submission Each participant or group may submit more than one project. The language of the competition is English.

All submissions (images and text) must be anonymous and respect the technical specifications outlined in this document. Failure to do so may result in the disqualification of the submission.

Participants must submit 2 pages of A2 portrait (420mmx594mm) in .pdf format (maximum size 5MB for each page). All images, photography, research, analysis, proposals and explanatory text must be included in the 2 pages. The images and text must clearly outline the research, concept, strategy and design necessary for the understanding of the submission. Please find the submission guidelines below:

Submissions must contain:
  • 1:2000, 1:1000, or 1:500 plan view of the project on site
  • collage or three-dimensional image of the entire project (renderings, photomontages, photographs of models, perspectives or drawings)
  • title of the project and the location of the site
  • short concept explanation in English (maximum 150 words), explaining the proposal in relation to the competitor's interpretation of 'gotong royong' as a planning/ design strategy
  • any drawings, diagrams, etc. which explains the project further
  • the 6-digit code on both sheets in the top right hand corner

The online submission procedure will be active on the competition site from 14 March 2009 (24.00, NL Time, GMT +1) until 6 April 2009 (24.00, NL Time, GMT +1), by which time all submissions must be received in order to be eligible to participate in the competition. Given the considerable amount of time available to competitors for the activation of the above procedures and the adoption of technical actions that are ordinarily suitable and sufficient, the IABR 2009 declines any and all responsibility for failure to access the system and / or failure to activate the online procedures within the allotted time frame.

Only following the completion of the Jury's assessments will the 6-digit codes be associated with the names of the submissions' authors. Participants are thus reminded that all texts and images submitted must not contain any references that may compromise their anonymity.

Copyright The IABR reserves the rights to publish or exhibit all entries by mentioning the names of the authors. Each competitor shall retain copyright of his/her own design.

Question and Answer Questions can be directed to gotongroyonginfo@gmail.com. Answers will be published within 48 hours. Due to many spams in the past, the organizers will need to validate the questions before publishing them on the website.


Site: Four Conditions Four urban conditions in Jakarta are offered as 'sites' for competition proposals. Intervention area is free to be chosen within the suggested locations below. Participants may choose one of the following four offers, or propose more conditions and sites. Please note that most of the time the site is not an empty area, but consists of existing buildings and streets. Since this is an idea competition, please feel free to propose projects as if you would have the power to rearrange the whole city.

Condition 1: CBD

Site: Segitiga Emas area

Keyword: UNITE!

Task: Look into business district and kampong (=informal settlement) relationships; office blocks, settlement, mosques and other public facilities. What can be proposed to unite different parts into a synergic urban composition? Is density an issue? Project examples: kampong-highrise, all-connected blocks, etc. Site explanation: Segitiga Emas is a CBD area in South Jakarta. Copy-paste the following coordinates to Google Earth or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/)

Coordinates: 6°13'12.61"S, 106°49'28.12"E Zoom out to see Jalan Jendral Gatot Subroto, Jalan Jendral Sudirman, and Jalan Rasuna Said. You may choose any site contained within these three roads. The area of intervention is your choice. Choose your scale to work upon: 1:2000, 1:1000, or 1:500. (You have to capture your own map)

Condition 2: (im)mobility

Sites: Sudirman-Thamrin, (or Rasuna Said, or Arteri Pondok Indah- Permata Hijau)


Task: How can we imagine an accessible Jakarta? What connections need to be made? How many car lanes do we need? Look into the Bus-way system and how it interacts with surrounding fabric and urban life. Should there be new modes of transportation? Project examples: no-car Jakarta, 100-lane roads, etc. Site explanation: Sudirman-Thamrin is one of the most congested roads in Jakarta. Copy-paste the following coordinates to Google Earth or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/)

Coordinates: 6°11'47.40"S, 106°49'3.02"E Jalan Mohammad Husni Thamrin spans from South-West of Monas (National Monument) continuing south to Jalan Jendral Sudirman. You make take any road section along Sudirman-Thamrin. Choose your scale to work upon: 1:2000, 1:1000, or 1:500. (You have to capture your own map)

Condition 3: Peri-urban desa-kota (=rural-city)

Sites: Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang, (or Lippo Karawaci, or Kelapa Gading)


Task: What can the dual conditions (desa-kota) inspire? By investigating on gated communities, malls, desa, rice agriculture, fish farming, what can be proposed to acquire the richness of the above-mentioned fragments? Project examples: rice-field-garden city, open communities, etc. Site explanation: Bumi Serpong Damai is a new town for middle and upper classes. It is located in Tangerang. Copy-paste the following coordinates to Google Earth or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/)

Coordinates: 6°18'4.54"S, 106°39'58.87"E Zoom out to see the town of Bumi Serpong Damai. You may select any area within or outside this territory. Choose your scale to work upon: 1:2000, 1:1000, or 1:500. (You have to capture your own map)

Condition 4: Multi-national industry zones

Sites: Daan Mogot, Tangerang


Task: When we look into Toyota Car Assembly, Nike factories, and their relationship to water courses, streams and rivers, flooding, what can be proposed to negotiate environmental prerequisites in relation to the industrial investments? Project examples: industrial green housing, high-rise industrial park, etc. Site explanation: Daan Mogot in Tangerang, spanning from west of Jakarta to South of International Airport Soekarno-Hatta, has many industrial sites with close proximity to river and settlements. Copy-paste the following coordinates to Google Earth or Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/)

Coordinates: 6° 9'32.34"S, 106°42'6.15"E You may select any area around the coordinates. If you go west along Daan Mogot road, you will find more industrial sites to look at. Choose your scale to work upon: 1:2000, 1:1000, or 1:500. (You have to capture your own map)

Important: New site proposals are encouraged. The four sites above are merely suggestions. Therefore we do not provide maps for the purpose of freeing entrants from exact, determined locations.

All entries are expected to research the chosen territory carefully - cartographically, materially, socially, morphologically. Creative proposals should stem from this research analysis. Remember that high-resolution or over worked-out drawings are not necessary for this idea competition. Be simple but clear on your proposals.