Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tracing the Indisch Empire Architecture in Semarang

Koninklijke Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger (KNIL) inspection in front of De Vredestein (1947). During the Indonesian Revolution, the building functioned as the Headquarters of Tijgers Brigade of KNIL.

Travelling around the city in the afternoon is one’s of my favourite way to refresh da brain from da routinity. Thank God I’m domiciled in Semarang City where most of the old building still could be seen until nowadays, even some of them are disappeared, like a fact that I found it almost a months ago when I visited my lecturer house in Peterongan region, Most of the Joglo houses with the mixed architecture of Western and Eastern style being torned down, what a pity!

De Vredestein in 1945, by H.J.Lankhuizen 
Talking about the architecture of the old building, then I realized that its must be represented of the age that the building being built. Then I found an articles about the “Indisch Empire” Architecture. Anyway reading about the article itself, its so interesting because its has a relation with the periods of  Governor General Herman Willem Daendels (1808-1811). He affected colonial architecture in Dutch East Indies during 19th century. His style of leadership that was arrogant and tough has been succeeded to reborn proud of Dutch nation as a colonist and also eliminate Javanese traditional architecture that was started to adopt by some Dutch ‘aristocrat’ at the end of 18th century for housing development. Daendels’ governance initiated new style of architecture which is known as ‘Indische Empire’. The style has been adopted from ‘Empire’ style of France and has made some adjustment with local climate and life style of Dutch East Indies The style has been used in Dutch East Indies during 19th century.

De Vredestein (Wisma Perdamaian), the official
residence of Jawa Tengah Governor (2012)
The main characteristic of Indisch Empire Style Building was a large area of front terrace (voor galerij) and rear terrace (achtergalerij). And in the large building that adopt this style of architecture, mostly also have its pavilion beside the main building. The most dominated style of this style is on the style of pillars in the terrace that adopted the Greek or Romans (doric, ionic, corinthian) style, both on the ‘voor galerij’ or in the ‘achter galerij’ itself.

If we wanna see about the example of this kind of architecture in Semarang, we could see the De Vredestein (Wisma Perdamaian) building in the north side of Tugu Muda Monuments. Built in the era of VOC by Nicolaas Harting that became the Governor of the North Coast of Java  in 1754, this building became the official house of the Governor of the VOC and later after the collapse of VOC in 1799, for the resident of Semarang City. After the independence of Indonesia, this building owned by the government, and used as APDN (Academy of Public Administration) office in 1978. Then in 1994 until now,  this building was used as the official residence of the Governor of  Jawa Tengah Province, replacing its former residence in Puri Gedeh.

Source: Handinoto's Journals of "DAENDELS DAN PERKEMBANGAN ARSITEKTUR DI HINDIA BELANDA ABAD 19."
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