Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Candi Lama and its Bunch of Historic Building

The Y-junction in Candi Lama (Oud-Tjandi) in the intersection between Jalan dr. Wahidin (Tanah Putih Weg) and Jalan Sisingamangaraja (Kanarie Laan). Behind the reclame kiosk, its located the Hulp Post Kantoor building which until now still owned by PT. Pos Indonesia. (source: Tropenmuseum)
Around 1912, Major of Semarang, W. Th. De Vogel ask the architect K.P.C de Bazel who works in Amsterdam, Netherlands to made a plans for the Semarang city extension plans over the hilly area in its southern part, known as Candi neighborhood. This idea was based on the advice of one's of city council boards, Dr. H.F. Tillema, a pharmachist an enterpreneur who really concern on the hygiene problems. He stated that in Semarang city which consider as coastal city, its lower part were unhealthy. Its density and also the problems with the heat condition of Benedenstad, the plain part of the city which belongs to the city center combined with the high humidity, made its easily for the people suffers from heat fatigue. Thus, He advised several idea regarding the hygiene improvements project such as, sanitary improvements, tap water networks, and also the extension of the city into its hilly area in the south.   

The building of Heuvelschool, currently used as
Puskesmas Candi Lama. The photos taken in 2007.
In 1915, Directeur van Burgerlijke Openbare Werken (BOW), the Department of Civil Works asks Ir. Herman Thomas Karsten to designs the master plans to the new settlements area in this hilly area. The area then well known as New Candi, in Dutch known as Nieuw Tjandi or Candi Baru in Bahasa Indonesia, which still used until now.  Well, if these area given name as New Candi, so where’s the Candi Lama (Old Candi) located? Actualy, the area that in Dutch known as Oud Tjandi,  were a residence area that lies in the southern hilly part of Semarang, start from Tanah Putih, until Jangli area. The toponym of Candi which must be refers to temple were still a mistery until today. No one’s know for sure where the temples location that refers to this name, but there’s an ancient structure found in Candi Lama, in the shortcut way from Jangli to Karanganyar Gunung, nearby the Sendang, a natural water sources. Many peoples believed that this was the location of the temple that later became the toponym of this area.

Not so many discussion about Candi Lama neighborhood compares to Candi Baru neighborhood, which actualy it has a bunch of historical fact that for Me its also exciting. Once I met with Ron van Der Wal, whose His wife’s great grand-father, was the first headmaster of the first Heuvelschool (Hill School), the name was Mr. Goedhart. The Heuvelschool was still stand, and used as Puskesmas (smallest unit of people healthcare services provided by government) of Candi Lama. Across the Heuvelschool, was the location of Hotel Tjandi, a famous Hotel in Semarang that popular for its swimming pool. It was turns into the military compound after the indepence of Indonesia, and around 1990’s decades unfortunately its demolished. The house of Goedhart itself, was also interesting, since its later used as the Hulp Postkantoor, a post office branch that served the hilly parts of Semarang known as Heuvelstad. The buildings also still stand till today! Its even just renovated recently and maybe would be reused as another commercial function probably.

The only buildings that remains in Nederlandsch Indische Gas Maatschappij (NIGM) complex in Gang Schmalz (currently Jalan Singotoro Raya), Candi Lama. Some people said that behind this building, there was two large tank made of steel. Its probably part of the gas instalation in the past, but unfortunately its gone.
The family portrait in front of the house in Candi
Lama, taken around 1916-1920. This Tudor-style
house is still preserved, made it the only buildings
with Tudor-style remains in the neighborhood.
(source: Tropenmuseum) 
There’s a street in Candi Lama neighborhood known as Gang Semal, which actualy taken from the old names of this street, Gang Schmalz. Many of the residents surround it, or even Semarang people still called the street as Gang Semal, although oficialy the name is Jalan Singotoro Raya. There’s a lot of historical building surround here, like Sanatorium and the Nederlandsch Indische Gas Maatschappij (NIGM) complex. The NIGM complex, there’s a big possibilities that before there’s a gas power plant set up here. Before the electricity installation based on cable, they used the gas network fueled by coal to enlightened the street and house. The gas power used as electricity means in Semarang was mentioned in De Locomotief, the prominent newspaper based on Semarang that in February 2nd 1898, in Semarang succesfully set 15 gas instalations in order to fulfilled the need for street lighting.  The complex of NIGM itself only leaving one building remains. The building once turns into a famous café in Semarang, Ours Café where one’s of the city Jazz community, Jazzngisoringin established in 2009 through its routine agenda of organizing Jazz gigs in the small stages under the Beringin tree (latin: ficus benjamina) on its yard. Unfortunately, its closed in 2010 and left the building neglected until recently the owner which is now PT. Gas Negara made a little renovation. 

There’s much more old building that interesting to see in this neighborhood such as the building nearby the Y-junction of Jalan dr. Wahidin and Jalan Sisingamangaraja (before known as Kanarie Laan, since a lot of Kenari trees over here) which consider as the only building with Tudor style that remains in Candi Lama. Also the art-deco house that designed by Liem Bwan Tjie that situated near the junction of Jalan dr. Wahidin. The house with its steeping entrance for sure has a best view towards the Java Sea and the lower part of Semarang among the others building in the neighborhood. The Badjak Bron a natural water resources that once served pipeline water network in several area in South Semarang its also located in Candi Lama. The water sources nowadays still used by the people in Karanganyar Gunung neighborhood. Wish it always be preserved anyway.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Semarang Golf Club (SGC) in Memories

Golf courses at Tjandi Sport Club, Semarang, later known as Semarang Golf Club (SGC) taken by E. Veltman in 1937.
(sources: nga-earlygolf.nl)
The current condition of club house at Tjandi Sport Club.
Golf as a sport has long been known in here Indonesia since the colonial period. The tropical climate makes golf in Java, unfortunately, to a seasonally game. During the so-called dry seasons, dry fairways, greens and grass is made it hard to be played, only a few peoples still continue to play. At that time of course neither automatic sprinkle to keep the grass greens during the dry seasons nor golf car to made the mobility easier invented. Therefore, the golf competitions in the old days were held in all the clubs in Java during the months of November to May, during the wet seasons. Until 1937, in Dutch Indies there were several cities already which have golf courses as follows; Batavia in Bukit Duri, Bandung, Semarang, Buitenzorg (currently Bogor), Tegal, Malang, Cheribon, Garut in Ngamplang all of them consist of 9-hole courses. Surabaya golf courses in Gunungsari, the only golf courses with 18-hole courses, but soon in the year of 1937, Batavia will built its new golf courses in Rawamangun, also in 18-hole courses to changed its old ones in Bukit Duri.

Date back in 1872, the Jakarta Golf Club was the oldest Golf Club in Southeast Asia. The original name of the golf club was known as the Batavia Golf Club and the founders were Mr. A. Gray and Mr. T.C. Wilson from Britain. In the early days of golf in Dutch Indies (Indonesia during colonial period) , golf barely only played by the British expatriates. Only a little Dutch people enthusiast in this kind of sports. But as the time goes by, golf became more popular among the people in Dutch Indies.  Also in Semarang, which is at 1895, the Tjandi Sport Club founded.  Located in Kanarielaan (currently Jalan Sisingamangaraja) which is in the guide book titled Semarang vooruit published in 1935, it described the golf course as excellent at not only from the standpoint of the golfer, but also in terms of natural beauty and listed among one of the best recreations after a day of hardworks. The Tjandi Sports Club were not only consist of a golf courses but also some other sport. There available grasscourt tennis and also cricket arena! Well no wonder its also mentioned that most of its member were british. Tjandi Sport Club have a short but interesting 9-hole course and its also a club house on the north part of the golf courses. Tjandi Sports Club got its historical moments while in 1901, the first golf club championship in Dutch Indies were held here.

The golf courses area, currently in progress to be build as a real estate, Green Candi Residence.
After the Independence, the golf courses in Tjandi Golf Club changed its name into Semarang Golf Club (SGC). Its remains to serves people in Semarang until 2006, when the city municipality decide to moved it to the bigger golf courses in Gombel hill. The plans actualy gained protest from the peoples surround it who most of them got the livelihood from SGC. But the plans executed anyway, the golf courses then unfortunately demolished and on the land above it built real estate of Green Candi Residence. Only the club house survived until today, but its badly damaged because of its neglected right after the SGC closed. There’s no guarantee also until when it will be still stand there cause its not yet listed as the heritage building of Semarang City. A sad fate for the place with a significance historical values where , the first golf club championship in Dutch Indies/ Indonesia have held!

Source: Golf Magazijn, "Officieel Orgaan van het Nederlandsch Golfcomité". 1e Jaargang No. 8, 15 October 1937

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Borsumij Building, the only Legacy of J.F.L Blankenberg in Semarang

Borsumij Office of Semarang in 1939, shortly after its finished. The contrast between the old-colonial architecture of Koepelkerk, and the modern art deco of Borsumij.
(source: Locale Techniek, 1940)
In the middle of 1938, a fifty’s-years old architect, Johan Frederik Lodewijk Blankenberg was asked by the N.V. Borneo Sumatera Maatschappij (Borsumij) to designed their new office buildings in Semarang. Blankenberg, whom at that time were the chairman of  Nederlandsch-Indische Architectenkring (NIAK), accept this offers. Here, Blankenberg as its requested by Borsumij, have to designs the office similar with what His fellow architect, Cosmas Citroen had done in Surabaya that had designed their office also in 1934. In His opinion, Blankenberg agreed that the Citroen designs for the Borsumij building in Surabaya gives it the best of the best of modern office building in Dutch Indies (Indonesia during colonial period), as it already addressed in advance to the maximization of space, function and natural lighting. 

The plaque in the entrance of  the Borsumij building of Semarang. 
The Borusmij building in Semarang, located in the centre of the Kota Lama area, in its main road, Heerenstraat (currently Jalan Letjen Soeprapto) and next to Koepelkerk, the landmark of Kota Lama. The building, seen from outside maybe just like another art-deco building built in colonial period but inside it, were remarkable.  The materials inside, its floor, wall, stairs, stained glass and pillars so colourful. The marble floors colour . The stairs decoration used the colour of Arabescato (creamy green with black veins) when the walls were in Rosso Levanto (dark red with white veins), both Italian marbles.  The columns coated in lead glazed black colored moldings, when the basement used the gray green granite plester. At the entrance, there were friezes and ceramic plaque stated that the first stone of the construction laid by M.C . Albert-Rauh, the wife of the Borsumij Agent of Semarang in Ferbuary 4th 1939. Construction was by the Firm. Ooiman and van Leeuwen in Semarang and after ten months, in October, its finished. The construction costs approximately ƒ 150.000.- (almost 12 billion rupiahs in the current value) for office and the new warehouses on the norths if the office.

One's of the Borsumij new warehouses building, located on the north
of the offices. This warehouse also designed by Blankenberg and built
in 1939.
Borsumij itself was a one’s of the major company in Dutch Indies at that times, its even considered as one’s of top big five companies in Dutch Indies along with Nederlandse Handel Maatschappij (NHM), Geo Wehry, Lindeteves Stokvis and Jacobson van den Berg. It was founded by J.W. Schlimmer, agent of NHM at Banjarmasin (East Kalimantan). In 1883, at a time when NHM shifted its attention to banking rather than commodity trade, Schlimmer took over the NHM facilities in the region and began his own company, Schlimmer & Co. In 1894 it became a limited liability company under the name of N.V Borneo-Sumatera Maatschappij (Borsumij) with its headquaters at 's-Gravenhage (another name for The Hague, then its no longer used after the city municipality start from 1990 to consistently using Den Haag/ The Hague as the official name), Netherlands. Beside Banjarmasin, it opened offices at Pontianak and Medan. The company came to hold a monopolistic role in the commodity trade in Kalimantan and Sumatera, related to the name of the company. As there were no large credit institution during these early years, Borsumij was able to succesfully expand its business. The company thereupon invested heavily in agricultural and mining estates, specifically rubber and coal. By the late twenties decade, Borsumij acquired large rubber sources and became direct supplier to Goodyear at Singapore. In the early 20's century, Borsumij also became major export-import company, and its made the company growth bigger. Borsumij ended their fate as big company in 1958, while its nationalized by Indonesian Government following the West Papua Crisis. The company then became state-owned company until nowadays, and its asset managed by PT. Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (PPI).

1. Locale Techniek, 1940, volume 009, issue 001
2. Commercial Networks in Modern Asia by Linda Grove and Shinya Sugiyama

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Siranda-Kanaal, An Old City Drainage System

Part of Siranda-Kanaal, in front of Taman Budaya Raden Saleh (TBRS) along Jalan Sriwijaya, or Tegalwareng Weg in the old days. 
Semarang has been long time well known as the city which is oftenly suffered from flood. As a harbour city, built in the vast swampy land, Semarang during the rain season, water overflow from its major river, Kali Semarang then its threatened the city. The problems then solved by constructed Kanal Banjir Barat (Bandjir Kanaal West) and then Kanal Banjir Timur (Bandjir Kanaal Oost) in 1900. The purpose of the construction of this two flood prevention canal is to control the water flows from the major rivers in Semarang like, Kali Garang (the sources for Kali Semarang), Kali Babon and Kali Bajak. But in the 20th Century, the development of Semarang  made it needs more livingspace for its residences.  The city developed to the south, to the area that was mainly ricefields and also to its hilly part of the city known as Heuvelstad. From the its newly hilly terrain, known as Tjandi, the new residencies area in Semarang, its need a new canal, to prevent the waterflows from its hilly terrain for flooding the new residencies area below it and also because of the waterflows when its rains to the east is still not in good condition. Then the Gemeente (eng: city municipality) Semarang on 7 November 1930, approved the proposal to the construction of Siranda-Kanaal. 

Maps depicted the plan of Siranda-Kanaal construction in Locale Techniek journals in 1937. 
Siranda Kanaal, built in the foot hills of Siranda hills, and its lies about 3 Km until its meets with the headwater of Kanal Banjir Timur in Peterongan. To built is isnt easy, its have to dig a lot due to its position when its entered Genoek Weg and Tegalwareng Weg (currently Jalan Sriwijaya) located in the hilly terrain.  The canal also consist of a tunnnel with the length about 700 metres.  The construction began in July, 1931 and finished in November, 1931 right in the months where the wet season is about to reach its peak. The very irregular structure of the soil in places where layers between various rocks even wet sand layers were digged.  The lorries networks also set up for the purpose of the construction of Siranda Kanaal to transport all of the materials which were taken after its dug off from its place, or to send a new materials for the construction either. Also, its equipped by ground lift, with 1,2 tons cappacity to carried the materials. The land above the tunnels projected to became the new cemeteries for the Europeans, replacing the old ones in Kobong, but its never realized. 

The Siranda-Kanaal during its construction in 1931.
(source: Locale Techniek journals, 1937)
The Siranda-Kanaal construction cost approximately ƒ 260 000,-, about 20 billions rupiah in current values. Half of the cost to construct it, funded by the central government. Nowadays, the canal still in use, and even in the 2015 its revitalized by the city municipality by strengthen its foundation also doing some excavation to dug up the sedimentation. But also, in the canal section nearby Peterongan market, the first concrete construction market in Semarang, above the canal its built three-storey building, known as Pasar Inpres building. These building, covered almost 200 metres of its canal, and actually its against the law where its illegal to built a building above the open drainage/ sewer.  Also with the rapid development of Peterongan market, the inspection way along the canal were occupied by the sellers, and sadly these canals oftenly became huge garbage dump for them. People always complaining while the flood happens but in the other hand, the awareness of not to throw trash in the drainage, sewer, and river either were so low. 

1. Locale Techniek, 1937, Volume 006, Issue 003
2. Gedenkboek der Gemeente Semarang 1906-1931