The Design Research Studio on the Ciliwung River in Jakarta is part of the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore and will involve architecture students for one semester on one of the most challenging sites in Jakarta: the Kampung Melayu. During the course of the semester one workshop will be taught in March jointly with NUS, UI and IPB students in Jakarta and Singapore. The operational framework and methodology of the studio will involve landscape, architecture as well as urban design thinking and will follow the precepts of a site-specific topological approach. Emphasis of the design work will be on the role of landscape and dwelling structures as they interact with the adjacent river in the flood prone neighbourhoods of Kampung Melayu and Bukit Duri in Jakarta. Can the widening of the Ciliwung river corridor become an incentive to doubling the population density in the remainder of the kampong? This would avoid the problem of population displacement, but would require a clear strategy in terms of landscape and architecture. The studio will operate at three distinct scales, the scale of the unit, the scale of the urban block and the scale of the kampung. Students will be asked to develop prototypes on given cross sections of the river to be widened. This will enable advanced design experimentation and transformation of the sections under study. The goal of this studio, with the help of design tools is to develop methodologies capable of dealing with the physical and spatial complexity of this highly urbanized “natural” environment. The underlying thesis is that landscape and architecture can be worked-out together, to bring forth solutions that can help restore the quality and purpose of the river withinits degraded context while allowing for higher living densities. With a healthy dose of heuristic terrain analysis, prospection and design vision, students will be asked to develop a new positive foothold on the landscape and architectural challenges posed by the Ciliwung River. The studio results will serve as example towards a new combined approach to urban landscape and architecture in Southeast Asian cities. The goal is to set some clear topological rules that can help define generative principles for both landscape and architecture as a way of restructuring urban river profiles in response to flooding, overcrowding and insalubrious conditions. The studio will result in a set of comprehensive architectural and landscape design proposals that will serve towards the melioration of rivers in Jakarta.
As a first step towards a more flood resistant landscape, we propose to widen the river to about the double width. We propose a park on the tip of the peninsula, that continues along the southern river edge. The whole river has a steeped edge with a pathway and trees on top, in order to prevent people from reoccupying the area towards the river. It also changes the river from its function as a place for sewage and garbage discharge in the backyard of the poor houses towards a public space.
To Kampung should be more urbanized. Therefore the former train station is reactivated and other public activities through markets or sport fields are allocated.
The housing concept is based on “wet walls” that store rain water and distribute fresh water. Staircases, toilets and sinks for kitchens are placed in the core walls that are surrounded by structural frames that people can inhabit with selfbuilt elements. As the private housing should be protected from flooding the ground floor is open for mixed uses, like storage, shops, retaurants, or garbage collection. Formal and informal settlement will appear together in organized blocks, that allow to increase the density with a hight of 5-6 stories.
The Unit Meets The Block The unit-toolbox is now ready for action in the block. The modular units occupy now a parcel of land right next to the Ciliwung River behind the proposed greenbelt. In this frequently flooded area the ground floor contains just contemporary that can easily change its location during flood season. The ground floor also provides space for a sewage water treatment unit. Housing takes place in the higher levels. The different flats share one staircase unit and wet-wall unit, but every flat has its own bathroom an kitchen.The building cluster is two-sided. On the one hand the living units face the streets and the river bank and on other hand the private balconies and terraces face the inner courtyard.
Through a shortcut in the course of the Ciliwung River, the yearly flooded area in the middle of the Kampung becomes a detention basin. A network of paths makes sure that the area can be used as a recreation zone. After the restoration of the ground, the area serves for agricultural purposes and fishing (Wadocks). In consideration of the existing streets a new subblock system is introduced. Each subblock solves its rainwater collection autonomously in its semi-private courtyard. The sewage and garbage collection takes place in a building, which is close to the main streets. The process leads to a dense residential area that offers a high quality of common space and has a positive impact on the development of the whole Kampung.
The structural concept is a concrete table on the ground floor. The upper floors consist of a lightweight bamboo framework construction and a concrete core with the infrastructure inside. Rainwater is collected and stored on the top floor and in central water tanks. Black water is treated by ultrafiltration stations. Garbage is collected in-house.The riverbed is enlarged the river edge will be lowered for a riverside-park, which in case of flooding can take 2.5 meters of water. The street network in the northern block will be extended and interconnected. The density shall be lowered in the northern and enhanced in the southern block. On the level of the first floor, a balcony interconnecting all buildings provides a safe traffic zone during flood time and connects the two blocks with a bridge. In each of the blocks, a new public square is implemented.
As of right now the river is perceived as dangerous and a place where the poorest of the poor live. This notion of the river has to be fundamentally changed in order to revitalize it and its bounding areas. This re-thinking is achieved by up- grading the river front buildings in an all new building structure. Through this measure people will learn again to appreciate the river and its river banks. In order to respond to the requirements for each block, we have to divide them into smaller subblocks. Each subblock organizes the garbage collection and the drinking water availability for its own use whereas the rainwater is collected in each unit and used for domestic use only (graywater). Every subblock with a boundary along the river edge is responsible to clean this graywater and then drain it into the river.
The two blocks, one north of the Ciliwung River the other one on the south side, are differently affected by the river. The northern block touches the water on relatively short stretch where as the southern part has a large part of its boundary along the river edge. Both are in part flooded during the wet season, yet both of them have some areas which are high enough for keeping the water out and reducing flood damages to a minimum. First and foremost it is necessary to allow the river to expand and to provide it with a predictable area to flood during wet season. For this purpose the most exposed houses along the river bank are being removed in order to gradually terrace the terrain. In order to master this drastic situation a garbage collection depot is to be implemented into each block, preferably at its highest elevation to keep it from getting damaged by the yearly flooding.
The sub-block sits between a private unit and a communal block, fulfilling many of the inhabitants infrastructural needs internally. Minimal interventions on the ground floor preserve the walls as space defining elements, resulting in both a continuity of the social structure and a solid base for the physical intervention. Due to the very random arrangement of these concrete and brick walls, the vertical extension consists of a wooden frame construction, adapting to each specific structural situation. Each sub-block accommodates one new building with drinking water collection facilities, providing the other sub-block units with fresh water. Waste water is dealt with in a similar fashion, where one unit houses a purifying system, treating all sub-block waste water.
The main objective is first and foremost to provide the people living in the Kampung with a rigid, flood-resistent structure. Through the centrally located circulation area runs load-bearing wall, that runs from the ground level all the way to the roof. At the same time this wall is also used to hold all the utilities needed for a basic water supply. The rain water collected in a special container on the roof is hooked up to the water pipes running through the central wall. On every floor each unit has access to water by using the water running through the stare well wall. In order not to further contaminate the ground water and the river, a special micro-filtration toilet system is used as seen in schematic on the right. This system uses a biologically activated ultrafiltration-membrane that needs no further maintenance.