Jakarta, Indonesia

written by:
photos by:
May 14, 2010
Originally published in Megacities

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Ahmad Djuhara is on a one-man crusade to blow away the conservative cobwebs of the city’s dowdy suburban architecture.

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  The sliding wood partitions also give the place a tree-house feel, which one of its young residents couldn’t like more.
    The sliding wood partitions also give the place a tree-house feel, which one of its young residents couldn’t like more.
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  Ahmad Djuhara’s drastic redesign of the typical suburban Indonesian home is certainly unusual, and yet the house appears far from grandiose.
    Ahmad Djuhara’s drastic redesign of the typical suburban Indonesian home is certainly unusual, and yet the house appears far from grandiose.
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  The sliding wood partitions on the upper floor help shield the master bedroom from the strong tropical sun.
    The sliding wood partitions on the upper floor help shield the master bedroom from the strong tropical sun.
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  The transparent walls are completely open to the entrance hall.
    The transparent walls are completely open to the entrance hall.
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  Much of the family’s furniture was inspired by minimalist design but was made by local craftsmen.
    Much of the family’s furniture was inspired by minimalist design but was made by local craftsmen.
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  The new kitchen opens out completely and magnificently into a sloping garden. There is no wall, no door, no windows, nothing: just straight out into the yard.
    The new kitchen opens out completely and magnificently into a sloping garden. There is no wall, no door, no windows, nothing: just straight out into the yard.
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  A kitchen that opens onto the garden is the complete antithesis of Jakarta’s often dim and dingy suburban interiors.
    A kitchen that opens onto the garden is the complete antithesis of Jakarta’s often dim and dingy suburban interiors.
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  Djuhara deliberately incorporated ghostly echoes of the original property into his design. Here, the skeletal frame of an original wall perfectly flanks the metal runway that descends from the living room and lends the garden the evocative ambience of a ruin.
    Djuhara deliberately incorporated ghostly echoes of the original property into his design. Here, the skeletal frame of an original wall perfectly flanks the metal runway that descends from the living room and lends the garden the evocative ambience of a ruin.
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  The house’s uncluttered and airy feel make it a playground par excellence, especially in the cheery upstairs sitting room.
    The house’s uncluttered and airy feel make it a playground par excellence, especially in the cheery upstairs sitting room.
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  Little fits the extreme indoor-outdoor living of the family better than an accessible spot for their sandals.
    Little fits the extreme indoor-outdoor living of the family better than an accessible spot for their sandals.
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  This home in suburban Bekasi aptly serves the needs of Wisnu and Sundari’s two young sons.
    This home in suburban Bekasi aptly serves the needs of Wisnu and Sundari’s two young sons.
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  Maximizing space is crucial in this densely populated city, and Djuhara put every last interior cubic inch to good use in his design, as Wisnu’s work nook attests.
    Maximizing space is crucial in this densely populated city, and Djuhara put every last interior cubic inch to good use in his design, as Wisnu’s work nook attests.
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  The balcony off the upstairs sitting and family room helps capture natural light 
as well as cooling breezes.
    The balcony off the upstairs sitting and family room helps capture natural light as well as cooling breezes.
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  Not only does the open kitchen permit breezes in under the second floor, it encourages the kids to race outside to play. A large yard and lush foliage make for an inside-outside living dream.
    Not only does the open kitchen permit breezes in under the second floor, it encourages the kids to race outside to play. A large yard and lush foliage make for an inside-outside living dream.
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  Wisnu and Sundari have a chat at the gate, which just barely keeps Jakarta's heavy vegetation at bay.
    Wisnu and Sundari have a chat at the gate, which just barely keeps Jakarta's heavy vegetation at bay.
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  Because keeping tidy with a pair of young boys bustling about can be something of a headache, this clever storage option tucked alongside the stairs is both useful and a nod to the house's clean aesthetics.
    Because keeping tidy with a pair of young boys bustling about can be something of a headache, this clever storage option tucked alongside the stairs is both useful and a nod to the house's clean aesthetics.
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  An orange door and metal grille make for a warm, if industrial, contrast to the stones and plants on the patio. They also weather well, something critical in a place where the climate leads to a palpable sense of decay.
    An orange door and metal grille make for a warm, if industrial, contrast to the stones and plants on the patio. They also weather well, something critical in a place where the climate leads to a palpable sense of decay.
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  The family poses in the driveway out front of the house. The sliding panels on the facade allow a peek into the balcony just inside.
    The family poses in the driveway out front of the house. The sliding panels on the facade allow a peek into the balcony just inside.
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  This metal door pivots to close off the rest of the house from the driveway while still letting cool air through.
    This metal door pivots to close off the rest of the house from the driveway while still letting cool air through.
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  The family room upstairs is the heart of family live at the Wisnu residence. The view to the private backyard gives a sense of serenity, even if the kids' toys find their way across the floor.
    The family room upstairs is the heart of family live at the Wisnu residence. The view to the private backyard gives a sense of serenity, even if the kids' toys find their way across the floor.
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  Here's a look at the other side of the sliding panel on the street-facing facade. The materials of the house were sourced locally so a good bit of Indonesian timber went into the house.
    Here's a look at the other side of the sliding panel on the street-facing facade. The materials of the house were sourced locally so a good bit of Indonesian timber went into the house.
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  Here Sundari puts a bit of food together in the kitchen. A gas-fired grill and concrete countertop give the place a rough-hewn feel, and certainly evokes architect Ahmad Juhara's rally cray, "Ad hocism is my religion."
    Here Sundari puts a bit of food together in the kitchen. A gas-fired grill and concrete countertop give the place a rough-hewn feel, and certainly evokes architect Ahmad Juhara's rally cray, "Ad hocism is my religion."
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  Naturally all that openness makes the Wisnu residence the perfect place for lizards and the like to stop off for a nap.
    Naturally all that openness makes the Wisnu residence the perfect place for lizards and the like to stop off for a nap.
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  That orange accent is carried from a door downstairs to the family room upstairs and a glazed facade keeps things very bright indeed.
    That orange accent is carried from a door downstairs to the family room upstairs and a glazed facade keeps things very bright indeed.
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  Concrete stands up quite well to Jakarta's sultry climes, and it does pretty well against dirty dishes as well.
    Concrete stands up quite well to Jakarta's sultry climes, and it does pretty well against dirty dishes as well.
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  Just a handful of slick touches keep the house from feeling too industrial. This custom wooden furniture was made locally and inspired by what Wisnu and Sundari had seen in catalogs.
    Just a handful of slick touches keep the house from feeling too industrial. This custom wooden furniture was made locally and inspired by what Wisnu and Sundari had seen in catalogs.
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