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Sithowati House

Adi Purnomo is regarded as one of Indonesia’s most innovative
architects. So, it seemed logical to throw him the challenge of
designing a house which is simultaneously theatrical and intimate.
Kerstin Rose reveals how it does this as well as integrating with its

Words/Production: Kerstin Rose

Photography: Christian Schaulin

Adi Purnomo is a pioneer. He wants to contribute to the world in which he lives by doing good and creating meaningful things. His aim is to improve the quality of people’s lives via architecture. He believes in the power of individual action and counters deficits in the field of architecture with his own designs.

“A small business is like a midge on the surface of a pond: it can touch the water without drowning in it,” he explains in a quiet voice.

For several years now, Purnomo has been interested in botany, although – as he readily admits – he doesn’t know a great deal about it. “The amount of green space in Jakarta has shrunk from 30% twenty years ago to 9%,” he laments, a trace of anger audible in his voice as he slowly and deliberately recites these figures.

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The thing he misses most in this megacity are the foliage plants. But he now employs these as his most effective weapon, using them to create symbols whenever the opportunity arises – in gateways, on free-standing walls, on the walls of houses (both inside and outside) and on rooves.

Over the years, his work has attracted a wide circle of admirers, and many wealthy Indonesians now commission him to design their houses for them – not only on account of his ‘green’ ideas, but because he is simply regarded as the best architect in the country.


Read the full story on page 110 of Habitus issue 11, available on the iPhone and iPad here, or contact us to subscribe or buy back issues