Warmness in Rumah Petak

IMG_3522-0Few days ago I was invited by Rofianisa Nurdin to talk about work in the her community, Creative Mornings Jakarta. It was quite difficult to find a content of what I would say in the sharing session. I had been thinking about the content for few days, asking people in the studio about what usually people wanna hear. And then, I realised, rofi’s last day was on friday as well, it was the day of the creative morning session. so I started the lecture, by being honest about my feeling, in this few years, reflecting the time passed in the studio, the lecture was made for her.

There are 4 phase in my interpretation of idealism in the architecture so far . These phases enrich the whole process of the architecture. It started 4 years ago when I was trying to enjoy the time in the studio, so I tried to make the situation as comfortable as I can with limitation of having small studio, starting a room 3 x 3 m then attacking the garage which is 3 x 10 m.

3 x 3 workaholic room
3 x 3 workaholic room

The first phase , I love to drink, chill out with people and I love books, reading them has been a culture, a sacred activity every day. So I will mix both of them, book represented work, all of the knowledge in the architecture practice, manual of design, book of standard, book of case study, and book of the masters. The drink represented, how I really respect, cheers the process , the laugh, the sad when we lose projects, and the happiness seeing one project get built, to another project which testing our passion. Ingeniousity in my world is about to respect knowledge : the intense talking about the project between the core member of the project, the process of sketches in mind and bringing it to table. one represents work, another represents aholic. both of them made workaholic.

Floating Table Tennis Board
Floating Table Tennis Board
The second phase, I remember we have a table tennis table in the studio, one time I asked Ari, the all season guy and pak Pudin, the carpenter, hung the table by steel cable, and suddenly the table floated. When the table floated, it brought new way of playing, we could move the table, when we smashed the ball, we can also move the table. The playing part was bit funny. That was deconstruction of idea, and construction of new way of thinking architecture. In everytime I design, I tend to find, observe on ideas. It’s twisted, to find new idea.

Lovely people around
Lovely people around
The third phase, It was a calling to nurture all of the designer that helped me in the design process. They have been pushing so hard. There had been a time that the people in the studio was in contract for one year, we’ve got 12 people in the studio so every month there would be one person leaving the office and one new person coming to the office.  one time, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I didn’t celebrate the graduation of the designer in the studio. But after that I realised that It was normal for freshgraduates to do that. So this changed my way of thinking. I really start to think how to teach them in the 1 year time. Strangely after that, they wanted to stay bit longer, I was grateful because of that.

Lecture in OMAH Library
Lecture in OMAH Library
The fourth phase is about how to give to other. I saw architecture was far or exclusive  from public in Indonesia. It was happened like that because the nature of architecture itself is based on commision and that is the nature of architecture. During the discussion with several people, So I was thinking to create one platform for young people to learn architecture, so OMAH was created after finished the construction of pak Misnu’s house named Murakabi which meant “usable house for all.

In walking through these 4 phases, there will be crossing of answering the question, what do you really want and what does the society want. The main process is finding sympathetic client and firing distrustful client. The sympathetic client is worth to be second, third, and being continuous client.

Having work in our studio, is like working in the good place that make you smile everyday. we are building memory with the people around us, the happiness and the sadness. I cried because of architecture was far from sacred in my world, term sacred, creates a moment that i have to treat architecture as   a life, guard it with heart, do it wholeheartly.

I met Rofi few years ago when she filmed Bare Minimalist. I knew her from the writing that she did. She has such skill on forming framework through text, but still striving to do further iteration in design. She had been working so hard in the studio, contributing in making the framework for the design project. She put the huge effort, and huge happiness, and I would say warmth in the studio. She is happy as always, she trained herself very hard, sometimes not many people can see that, but I can see it clearly, that she became one best designer combined with strong framework, great attitude, and such interesting altruistic work with her creative morning. I was sad to release her, but I know that she has bigger thing to do rather than staying at the studio.

Rofi’s warmth and happiness had been coloring the studio with such amazing moments. Inspite her happiness, she had deep untoldable sadness as well. The more you happy actualy you have gone sad before. I was sad like ussual having one person go. But i will be happy to see her flying, support her. People come and go leaving memories, much of sweet memories, such little of bitter memories, as rofi’s leaving the office, she will come back. I hope for that, shaped by more critical environment, more challenging atmosphere, with so much love that this world can give.

Oleh Realrich Sjarief

Founder of RAW Architecture

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