The second

I have been living around the area of JL. H.R. Rasuna Said, better known as Kuningan, in South Jakarta, since the first time I moved to Jakarta in 2006. Well, I once stayed in Central Jakarta for about two years, but I got back to Kuningan again.

Strategically placed in the center of Jakarta’s business district, I found that living here is fun and convenient–closer to venues of events I used to cover, to entertainment and food centers, to offices, and many more.

If you notice, this area has also in recent years become the host for the city’s high-rises with modern designs, not just the plain rectangle buildings rising up towards the sky. I first noticed this trend when I worked on a story about Kuningan and its progressively-designed high rises in 2011 for The Jakarta Post (was a journalist with the newspaper).

New buildings have been built since then, good location is I believe one key factor behind this growth, but only a few new buildings that caught my attention, including Gran Rubina in Rasuna Epicentrum area, near to the one and only 215-meter tall Bakrie Tower.

Constructions of new buildings are still going strong in Kuningan, but I myself feel that it’s been too much. The area just becomes more crowded, and whenever we look up, the view is quite messy.

Nevertheless, I know that architecture always fascinates me. I really admire architects who can turn imagination into something real (with the help of developers and constructors of course). And because of my interest in architecture, the piece on Kuningan’s architectural wonders is one of my all-time favorite articles that I have produced.

Hope you enjoy the below article as much as I enjoyed working and writing it back then. 🙂


Kuningan’s modern architectural wonders

Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said in Kuningan, South Jakarta, has long been known for its embassies and business districts, but in recent years it has gained a reputation for hosting some of the city’s most progressively designed high-rises. One such building is the Bakrie Tower.

Standing tall among the other high-rises in Kuningan, one has to look 90 degrees up to be able to see the top of building from the ground floor.The 215-meter tall building has a twisting and interlocking design and is divided into three zones: low, middle and high. The low zone has the first twist starting from the first to the 17th floor. The second twist hosts the middle section, which rises to the 33rd floor, and the high zone continues on up to the 47th floor. And there is a helipad on the 48th floor.

To guide visitors, each elevator has a zoning indicator, which is placed at the corner of the foyer, to aid visitors in accessing the correct zone. Seen from afar, the building gives the impression it could shape-shift depending on the viewer’s vantage point.“There is no specific concept for the building, its owner just wanted to have a building with a unique design,” said Frans Suryadi, head of planning and design at Bakrie Swasakti Utama, with property developer Bakrie Development.

Bakrie Group companies occupy most of the space in the tower. Of around 60,000 square meters of office space, 80 percent is occupied by members of the Bakrie Group.The Rp 800 billion (US$91.7 million) building was designed by HOK International in collaboration with Urbane Indonesia, with local construction company, Hutama Karya, as the main contractor.The tower uses a straight aluminum curtain wall system framed with cobalt blue glass that can reduce heat from the outside.

While for the interior, the building’s floors and walls are covered with marble and granite.“The money spent on this tower is proportional with the image that the family is trying to cultivate from this building. The tower has also been billed as one of HOK’s 25 most unique designs,” Frans said.

Another progressive building in the area is the Allianz Tower, which has been dubbed the country’s first green office building. Its main tenant, German-based financial services giant Allianz, requested that the building be environmentally sustainable. Owned by publishing giant Kompas Gramedia, the Rp 500 billion building was completed late last year, and is designed to look like an open book made from glass, with horizontal lines decorating the glass facade, giving the impression of rows of newspaper sheets.

Budiman Hendropurnomo from Denton Corker Marshall (DCM), the building’s chief architect, said the construction used only 30 percent of the total 7,000 square meters of land for the structure, leaving the remaining 70 percent to absorb rain water to help reduce flooding.“The building’s façade uses a double-glazing system that helps reduce heat from escaping and reduce noise from outside,” he said.

The 27-floor building also has a rainwater-harvesting system on its roof, energy-saving LED and T5 fluorescent lighting and its own wastewater treatment facility. The first to the 11th floors are used by Allianz, while the remaining 16 are rented out to other tenants. Before working on the Allianz Tower, DCM designed the Menara Palma, which is located nearby. The asymmetrical letter A-shaped design of Menara Palma was created to meet the demands of executives from the oil palm company PT Wanamitra Permai, who wanted a modern-looking building but on an L-shaped plot of land. The irregular shape of the land prompted the firm to design a separate area for parking and office space.

Award-winning architect Ridwan Kamil, from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), said the emergence of buildings with progressive designs will help to add character to Kuningan. “Kuningan is the main business district in Jakarta, and over the last five years owners of new buildings have started to follow the [global] trend to add something unique to their structures,” he said.

And in the years to come, it appears Jakarta will see more buildings with daring designs.Ridwan said that more progressive high-rises will spring up in Jl. T.B Simatupang, South Jakarta, and in Kemang, where smaller buildings with unique designs are expected to be constructed soon.“We will see more buildings in the city that play with geometry and imagination,” he said.

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