Saturday, February 26, 2011

The NILLMIJ Building, The First Modern-Style Buliding in Semarang

The office of Nederlandsch-Indische Levensverzekering en Lijfrente Maatschappij (NILLMIJ) in 1920.
(source: tropenmuseum)
Yesterday, my Friends, who coming from outside Semarang city and have studied here said, ‘I love this city very much”. When I asked why? He just replied that He felt such an unique atmosphere that he dont get it in his hometown, thats the power of acculturation, the blended between the old and modern. Well, that was totaly true. I also really love this city and the stories inside this city. Like here, in Kota Lama (old town) and its surrounding are interested to be investigated, hehe…though i’m not an professional historian, but i’ve tried to seek an information about the building in Kota Lama, even the building itself its already changed or broken down.

(source: skycrapecity)
So, now i’m gonna share about the first modern-architecture bilding that bulit in the Semarang city, that is the NILLMIJ Building or now known as Gedung Jiwasraya . At that time, in the early of 1910’s, there is a changed of building style, from indisch architecture into tropic-artdeco style architecture. The Office of NILLMIJ (Nederlandsch Indische Leven Sverzeking De Lifrente Maatschappij) is the first building in Semarang that built by its tropic-artdeco style architecture. Built by architect named Thomas Karsten (famous architect at that time) in 1916's.The buliding built in the front face of Koepelskerk (Blenduk Church), and Parade’s plein (Srigunting Park).

The NILLMIJ building has a typical of tropical-artdeco architecture with a small dome in the middle of the roof of the building. The building was symmetrical with the entrance located in the middle. If we observe closely, this building not facing the highway, but the oblique facing the Koepelskerk and Paradesplein, its just because karsten want to get the impression that this building oversee both the building (the church and park). The building was the first building in Semarang city with concrete material to form it, so its also one of the reason that this is the first modern-style buliding, beside viewed from its architectural design. Here's also the first building who using lift in Dutch-Indie.

The NILLMIJ or now known as Asuransi Jiwasraya
building taken from the north side.
Following the nationaization of the colonial assets, the building become the ofice of PT.Asuransi Jiwasraya after the Independence of Indonesia around 50's decades, but its still preserve as the first time been built. The open space in the front without wall, and open corridor in the form of a window, adorn the entire front facade of the building with the amount of 8 windows in each building wing, 4 windows at ground floor and 4 windows on the first floor. The window is protected cantilever to reduce incoming sunlight into the room. Above each window there is a big bouven with ornaments in the form of concrete orders. In front of the building there’s an open space in front of the bulding and there is a small park to reduce the harsh impression on the landscape surround it.


In 2002 the renovation of repairs and repainting damaged walls to make this building looks more clean and beautiful. Its already more than 90 years, but the building still strong existed in the old town, and become the eyewitness about the journey of insurance bussiness in Semarang city.
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