Friedrich Silaban, an eminent architect in Sukarno’s era, designed buildings that today have become landmarks of Jakarta. While his contribution to the Indonesian capital is significant, little is known about the architect, his architecture and his time. Setiadi Sopandi’s study is by far the most comprehensive account of Silaban’s works. It situates the architect in the context of Indonesian nation-building and the geo-cultural formation of postcolonial internationalism. This book thus contemplates a larger challenge: What is an Indonesian architecture? Sopandi answers this question through a detailed analysis of a broad array of illustrative materials, many of which are rare collections, of Silaban’s works from public monuments to domestic spaces. 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