Friedrich Silaban

Friedrich Silaban is arguably the single most important figure in the modern Indonesian architectural history. His career spans along three eras, from the late colonial Dutch East Indies and World War 2 period (until 1945), the heroic early independence Indonesia (1945-1965), and the New Order regime (1965-1998). He produced many important monuments in Indonesia – especially in the capital –  and architectural thinking, as well as help to set up the foundations for professional architectural practice in the country. Working closely under the directives of President Soekarno, Silaban designed monumental structures and important institutional buildings in the late 1950s and 1960s and consequently dominating the architectural scene in the country ever since.

The book is an extensive attempt to unearth the wealth of information regarding one among key figures in the modern Indonesian history, and maybe the most elaborate biography ever made on an Indonesian indigenous architect. Beyond being a specific biography, the book attempts to  describe the professional atmosphere of architects in Indonesia during Silaban’s formative and productive years as well as highlighting the major influential events to help us understand the gravitational pulls behind Silaban’s keyworks.

The book – the Indonesian edition, published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama – was launched in June 2017 following the introduction of – an on-line non-profit service dedicated to open Indonesian architectural archival materials – with Silaban archive as one of the first collection made accessible to the public. The on-line archive and the book were also followed by the first exhibition dedicated for the figure “Friedrich Silaban, Arsitek 1912-1984” 7-24 November 2017 held in Galeri Nasional Indonesia, co-curated by Setiadi Sopandi and Avianti Armand, produced by Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur. The English edition was launched in January 2018 as a Print-On-Demand publication under Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur.

“… it is not a simplictic biography nether an architectural work catalogue. Sopandi takes us, like in a movie, through a complex narrative on architectural ideas… this books reveals how Silaban architecture was faced as a multi-disciplined field intertwoned with the imaginative act of defining the being, or existence, of a society. This book is one of the top efforts documentation and research to perpetuate the legacy of the journey of architects and architecture in Indonesia.”- Ana Tostões, Docomomo International; Técnico – University of Lisbon –

“Setiadi Sopandi’s study is by far the most comprehensive account of Silaban’s works. …  A grand guided tour of a crucial period in the history of Indonesian architecture, revealing the innards of a political-artistic life of a nation and providing a rare glimpse into the work of a unique character of a most important Indonesian architect.” – Abidin Kusno, York University –

“It is fantastic to see the works of Silaban concentrated all together in this publication in a way you would never be able to see it in reality. The publication not only provides an insight on the work of Silaban and the era he worked in, but allows readers to look forward and to enables us to contextualize our present time.” – Martien de Vletter, Canadian Centre for Architecture –

“Silaban is the best representation of the new soul of modernity in Indonesia, in line with the raging spirit of nationalism and self-esteem among newly independent countries in post-World War II Asia.” – Johannes Widodo, National University of Singapore –


“Friedrich Silaban”

First edition in Bahasa Indonesia. Published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama, March 2017. Size: 22.5 cm x 30 cm. Retail price: Rp. 950.000,-

Indonesian e-book available at:


“Friedrich Silaban; An Indonesian Architect 1912-1984”

Second edition in English. Published by Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, January 2018. Size: 21.3 cm x 30 cm.

English edition e-book:


548 pages, full color with 300+ illustrations.

Written by Setiadi Sopandi.

Edited by Avianti Armand.

Designed by SUNVisual.

English translation by Henny Cecilia Rolan.

Four chapters, indexed.



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