Architecture as Advertising

By Marvin Julian

Architecture has been a marketing tool for companies, big or small. Using architecture as an icon is a tool to give public a avant-garde high end impression of the company. Many arguments are flowing from architects, critics, and public whether architecture is an advertising tool. Let’s just take a look at our own campus. After the completion of the new avant garde UI library, UI has used the building to promote the campus and eventually raise the public awareness that UI is not the “old-same-university” but the new revamped pimped out fresh hip and happening university whose library is very stylish and jawdropping. It’s not only a very effective advertising gimmick but also an agenda to overthrown other big private universities that has known for its monumental facilities. Whether you realize it or not, it’s an advertising agenda and also very effective one to attract public.

Architecture has become icons for century. Eiffel tower has brought countless revenue to France’s tourism for centuries, same thing with England and Big Ben, China with The Great Wall, and etc. But in the modern world, where no building is as iconic as those mentioned previously, high end avant garde building designed by world known architects are the main weapon in advertising. I’m talking about the Disney Hall by Frank Gehry, Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid, CCTV Tower by Rem Koolhaas. All are a very effective tool to market the country. The tourist will simply attracted to see in close those larger-than-life contemporary buildings. Those modern structure is as magnetic as those old iconic buildings , and it has been an indication that public is now equally attracted to modern architecture in the same way they are attracted to Eiffel Tower and those old buildings. That is a great news for modern architecture and advertising world, and also for countries which don’t have iconic medieval buildings, just call Gehry make one crazy contemporary building and put it in your banners, people will come like snap. Voila!

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Architecture And Social Consciousness : Lenteng Agung

Lenteng Agung is a region located in sub-district Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. With a population of 51,778 people distributed over a land area of 227.74 hectares [i], Lenteng Agung is one of the most populated regions in its sub-district. Being located near Depok, ‘the city of education’, makes Lenteng Agung a busy district since there is a lot of traffic caused by commuting from Depok and vice versa. Lenteng Agung is also a borderland between Depok and Jakarta, the busiest city in Indonesia.

Like any other region, Lenteng Agung also faces the typical urban issues.  Jakarta, known for its megapolitan lifestyle, is the perfect example of urban inequality.  Modern towers and fancy buildings occur amidst slums, making a distinct gap between the rich and the poor.  The contrast between fancy houses and inhabitable houses is very clear, making housing the indisputable problem in Jakarta’s urban development. The exact same thing occurs in Lenteng Agung. The contrast is crystal clear. Lavish formidable houses are located right next to large areas of slums and blocks of inhabitable houses are hiding behind large luxurious complexes. This evidence supports the fact that urban development in this area is unbalanced.

Urban inequality has been a huge problem in Jakarta, as well as Lenteng Agung.  When I went there a week ago, I witnessed an unforgettable portrait of injustice in this area.  Many of sumptuous houses were built in this area. However, it is such an irony to see a lot of sub-standard houses among them. Robin Shell, senior vice president of Habitat for Humanity International, defined sub-standard house as, “A substandard house is where the family is always getting sick. It’s where they never know when someone might come and sweep away the slums. They’re at the mercy of the rich and powerful.”[ii] So how is ‘a sub-standard house’ defined? According to Habitat World Online, a house can be called a sub-standard house if it fits characteristics such as:  1) It doesn’t fulfill physical adequacy of the structure, 2) Overcrowded, and 3) Poor health.[iii]  Based on three characteristics given, we could easily draw a conclusion that those sub-standard houses are part of Lenteng Agung.

A lot of effort has been taken by both government and civilians to reduce social inequality in Jakarta throughout the years, but none seems to be a very effective solution.  The most important thing to improve the situation is the willingness of the residents to unite and solve the problem together.  An improvement of neighborhood quality in Lenteng Agung can be beneficial to both parties, the poor and the rich. A program like cross-subsidization can be effective.  The poor can improve their life by receiving the funds from the rich, while the life quality of the rich will automatically be improved if the neighborhood is clean and healthy.  So the benefits are mutual. A ‘Green’ approach is another possible solution, by using green and sustainable methods of living,  the society will also improve their quality of life especially improvements in health and hygiene. Therefore, Lenteng Agung inhabitants must take some action and dare to make some changes to create a perfect harmony in their living space.

[ii] Graydon,Rebekah.What is Poverty Housing?,

[iii] Graydon,Rebekah.What is Poverty Housing?,

By Marvin Julian


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Green Building Council Indonesia

The awareness of always keeping a sustainable approach in architecture has been a growing concern in the last couple of decades. Architects now not only try to maintain their ability in meeting the client’s nee but also in maximizing the possibilities and potentials of the local site where their building or space will be create.

However, in order to achieve such ‘green’ architecture’ culture, architects will need some set of guidance of how to meet the local’s environment requirements. Lucky, now such thing is taken care of by a non-profit, independent (not owned by the local government) organization called the Green Building Council Indonesia.

This local organization, which is established recently in 2009, in ’emerging member’ of the central organization known as the ‘World Green Building Council’ which is located in Toronto, Canada. The GBCI is intended to work together with the construction firms, property sellers, the government, local schools and institutions, and also the local green communities. Their main project is focused on issuing green certificate approval that is called a ‘GREENSHIP’. They also hold regular dinners, training and also still recruiting staff.

As future architects, it is very useful to be aware of the existence of local building councils, so when it comes to real life designing projects we know where to go to find our standard in making buildings which won’t only accommodate people activity in it, but the ones that can also help in making our beloved country a better, healthier place to live and grow.

information is gathered from

Online Architecture Degrees

So, this subject of online architecture degrees emerged from a phone call from my father, who mostly talked about my education.

Having a higher education is a matter that doesnt exactly need to be questioned, we all know a college/university degree will help us pursue our future dreams and whatnot and for general living of course. But, most students who are keen on applying to universities always have to look at the finance: the tuition and fees. Even though most universities and institutions are open about their tuition and fees, some  schools keep them hidden. This is a burden for low-income families and a disadvantage for schools with talented students who cant afford to stay in their schools (or apply to them). Well, my father asked me whether you could get an online degree in architecture (i assumed one couldnt at the time) and upon my research I found that in America, there are SOME states that accredit online architecture degrees such as universities in Ohio and Arizona, and that there is one promising university that offers them in Canada. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything else (although I found that according to the NAARB, there are no universities that offer a complete architecture degree online..)

Personally, I would go about the architecture degree on-campus instead of online. Studying on-campus for your undergraduate has more of an advantage since you create social networks and get direct feedback from peers.

What is your opinion of online architecture degrees? Would you pursue them for undergraduate, masters, or PhD? If you have information about any universities offering them, please do tell. 🙂

-Sofie Januarti

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Living a Sustainable Life in My Own Living Environment, Jember

By: Sofie I. Januarti

Many people who are willing to save the planet tend to forget that they can do so by living a sustainable life in their own home living environment. In this instance, I will discuss about my home living environment which is in Jember, East Java, and how the living environment supports sustainability and living a sustainable life.

First, to know whether my home living environment supports sustainability and living a sustainable life, we must know about the plot size. The whole plot is approximately 864m2, approximately 242.5m2 of built areas (the house, and store, 28% of plot) which faces the west (laying on the east-west axis), approximately 621.5m2 of the whole plot is open space (soil/land, grass, patio, and driveway space, 72% of plot). Approximately 128.9m2 of that open space is patio and driveway space (15% of open space as well as plot). If we combine the patio and driveway space and built area together, they add up to 43% of the whole plot. The other 57% of the open space contains soil/land, a little bit of grass, moss, and plenty of (fruit) trees but none of those trees are on the north side of the house. Since my house faces the west, it gets quite hot in the afternoon and evening, especially since there are not enough windows on the north side of the house.

Second, in order to determine our carbon footprint, we must observe the family household by analyzing their patterns of living. From my analyses and observations, I have found that my household (of five) consumes 1300W of electricity/month (IDR 186,000/month), two gallons of water/week, and one 12kg gas canister/2months. I have also observed that we consume local, imported, and some organic foods, but we do raise our own chickens which decrease our grocery shopping for poulty meat. Another observation is that we have ten appliances total, including fans, laptops, washing machines, fridges, and televisions. We use energy efficient lightbulbs in all rooms where only one lightbulb is placed in each room. As mentioned before, there are not enough windows on the north side of my house so during the day we still have to turn the lights on because not enough light enters the house, thus consuming more energy/electricity. My family household overall emits about 57 tons of CO2 eq/year, which I’m glad of since it is much lower than the average household of five in the US of 130 tons of CO2 eq/year but still higher than the worldwide average emission of 28 tons of CO2 eq/year.[1]


family carbon footprint

In conclusion, shown by the above statistics, I believe that my home living environment is sustainable in terms of the open space and built space. However, I also believe that my home living enviroment can support sustainable living even more with some minor modifications. Trees, a vegetable and fruit garden on the north side of the house would reduce our carbon footprint with direct access to daily vegetables. Having more windows on the north side of the house for better lighting would reduce our electricity consumption. From my analyses and observations, I have become more familiar with my own household and household living patterns. I greatly encourage others to do so too with their own living environments to improve the planet’s condition and more towards living a sustainable life.

[1] “Carbon Footprint Calculator”. 2011.

Eco Centric logic for Environmental issues in Bandar Kemayoran

Mariyam Yasmin


There are six competing logics of sustainable architecture; Eco-technic logic, Eco-centric logic, Eco-aesthetic logic, Eco-cultural logic, Eco-medical logic, and Eco-social logic. Each logic has its own main focus on the sustainable architecture issue and each has its own method. For eco-technic logic, science and technology can solve environmental issues through rational analysis and management of the environment. Eco-centric logic, a natural approach, is about building and the place of nature. Eco-aesthetic logic is about the importance of aesthetic of a building that is at the same time sustainable, so it focuses on a beautiful, creative and “green” architecture. Eco-cultural logic emphasizes sustainable architecture as a preservation of culture. Eco-medical logic uses a medical rhetoric to focus attention on the adverse impacts of the built environment and the causes of stress that engender health problems, both physical and psychological. Eco-social logic extends the social agenda of sustainability beyond a concern for the individual to encompass a political discourse that suggests that the main cause of the ecological crisis stems from wider social factors. It addresses the democracy as the key to an ecological society.

There is another idea about sustainable architecture called Eco-effectiveness. Eco-effectiveness is how to use a waste to become something that is useful, so it will not left only as a waste. There are five steps to eco-effectiveness: to get “free of” known culprits, to follow informed personal preferences, to create a “passive positive” list, to activate the positive list, and to reinvent. Both eco-logic and eco-effectiveness are supporting each other.

Bandar Kemayoran, the former international airport in Jakarta is actually a sustainable area with its big green area and forest. The only issue that this area has is there are still many slum housing areas spread all over the subdistrict. But since they moved all flight activities to Soekarno-Hatta Airport, the government decided to develop this subdistrict and planned to make it become the center of all business and government activities. The master future plan has already been made, and is planned to be realized in 2030. The future plan is actually good, but the bad thing about this future plan is that it will decrease the green area. The future plan will replace the green area with new high-rise buildings. From the six competing logics of sustainable architecture and eco-effectiveness, the eco-centric logic becomes the concept that is really fit to solve Bandar Kemayoran`s issue. The future plan should be made with natural approach. They should consider the need of green area in the city/district/subdistrict, because it will improve the place and the living, generally. Furthermore, in order to develop a new city with new buildings, choosing good and natural materials should also be considered. So, a new sustainable city could be built with green area and sustainable buildings.

Slums Area in Bandar Kemayoran.

Master Plan of Bandar Kemayoran.

  • Guy, Simon and Graham Farmer. “Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture:The Place of Technology”.p. 140-147. 2001
  • McDonough, William and Michael Braungart. “Cradle to Cradle”.p. 180-186.
  • Wikipedia, “Kemayoran,” Wikipedia,
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Sustainable Architecture in Vrindavan and Jakarta

Mariyam Yasmin


We hear the word “sustainability” almost every day. What does it mean exactly? “Sustainability is far from a singe coherent ideology.”But there is a clear and general explanation of “Sustainability” that usually being used to explain what is it about: it is about taking what we need to live now, without jeopardizing the potential for people in the future to meet their needs. So, how do we live sustainably? Living sustainably is about living within the means of our natural systems (environment) and ensuring that our lifestyle doesn’t harm other people (society and culture).Sustainable living can be done in every sector in human life. Architecture is one of the crucial sectors of all. Architecture is not just about buildings and places to live, it also affects one`s way of living. Some methods of a sustainable architecture are: Green Building and Eco City.


An example of an Eco City plan project.

An example of a Green Building project.

            “Green building refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle.” A sustainable city or eco-city is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution.

            There are many countries already started the eco cities project. Each eco city has its own focus on what environment issues they are about to solve or what target they are going to achieve with the eco city project. “To this point, we have identified and critiqued singular models of sustainable architecture and begun to reconstruct an alternative theoritical framework for better understanding the plurality of sustainable architecture.” By have a good understanding of sustainable architecture, we can achieve the right target of eco city itself. These eco cities are achieved through various means, such as: different agricultural systems such as agricultural plots within the city (suburbs or centre), renewable energy sources, reduce the need for air conditioning, improved public transport to reduce car emissions, optimal building density to make public transport viable but avoid the creation of urban heat islands, solutions to decrease urban sprawl, green roofs, zero-emission transport, zero-energy building, sustainable urban drainage systems or SUDS, energy conservation systems/devices, Xeriscaping – garden and landscape design for water conservation, and key performance indicators – development and operational management tool providing guidance and M&V for city administrators.But the main purpose of all eco cities is the same, which is to reach the point where the city is prepared to have its people living sustainably. A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement, inhabited by a large amount of people. By changing the city generally,  into an ecological and sustainable area, imagine how big is the change we could make? Imagine how much carbon footprint we can reduce? That is why, build an eco city project is a very good step to start have the human live sustainably.

            India is one of the countries that has started to develop eco cities. Government of India`s Anti-pollution ministry control has announced some eco cities projects. They are: Tirupati, Vrindavan, Kottayam, Ujjain, Puri, and Thanjavur. The government wants many of the holy cities in India to become ecological cities. One of the main projects is Vrindavan. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna,Vrindavan has been a center for spiritual learning for hundreds of years. A legend of Krishna and Vrindavan’s historic past is stamped on the thousands of temples here and has people coming from all over the world. The Eco City Project area in Vrindavan, has some main environmental issues, they are: environment quality, traffic and transportation, sewerage and drainage, and solid waste management.[11] The focus of these eco city projects is to solve those main environmental issues in the city. There are 5 main result that expected to be achieved from the eco city project in Vrindavan, they are: to improve sanitary condition, to improve traffic and transportation system, to improve religious/tourism function, to improve environmental quality, and to train manpower in Vrindavan on the issue related to urban management including waste management and waste water management.

The Eco City plan project in Vrindava.

The government and the planners has made the plan for solving each environmental issue in Vrindavan. Here are the details of the plan for Vrindavan eco city:

  1. Improvement of Storm Water Drainage System
  2. Establishment of Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSMW) System
  3. Demonstration of appropriate technologies to maximize the recycling and reuse of selected streams (wet and dry) of waste
  4. Achieving Comprehensive Improvement
  5. Generation of Awareness and Assuring Community Participation in MSW Management


    In Jakarta, there are many green buildings or residences which aim to reach a level of sustainable living. One of it is the “Green Tranquility” Residence. Green Tranquility is a residence that provides sustainable kind of houses. It offers residential estate in a plateau with the concept of contoured terrace, scenic valley and river, green leafy environment as well as clean air and pollution free. It also has a concept of integrated green, ranging from land use that attention to water absorption, energy efficient building design, the implementation of water conservation, and a better waste management. It also provides a comfortable living for the people with high securtity system.

Green Tranquility Residence

            Green Tranquility Residence is the first terrasering resort home in Jakarta. It also has a green nature development concept, which are:

  1. Land use planning
  2. Energy Efficiency
  3. Water Conservation
  4. Processing of waste and water
  5. Green open space
  6. Environmentally friendly policies

            These eco-cities and eco-building projects are made to reach the purpose of have a sustainable living for all people. Both projects, Vrindavan Eco City in India and Green Tranquility Residence in Jakarta were made to reach that purpose. Both projects has a good way to give a sustainable life for the people, and both are doing their role as the green architecture very good by keep improving the need of green architecture or sustainable architecture by energy conservation.

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