Yesterday I attended a seminar of Studio Shared Heritage, a cooperation between ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology)  and TU Delft. It is a three years program to provide opportunities for students to exercise about shared heritage projects in both Indonesia and Netherlands.

They have just finished the first batch with a case study of the Art Deco City of Bandung in Indonesia. Yesterday, the students presented the ideas covering various subjects from adaptive reuse to climate issues. I think their ideas are amusing since these young scholars are not burden with realistic problems of bureaucracy and typical challenges for heritage projects in Indonesia. 

Some of them have brilliant ideas to transform densed kampung behind Braga Street into vertical kampung with bamboo materials. Other student will transform colonial buildings into housing of the kampung people to solve density problems.

The student didn't understand why the kampung is so densed while many colonial buildings few hundred meters away are still vacant? That is typical Dutch approach which is logic. But in Indonesia? It is still unthinkable to transform historical grand buildings into kampung style housing. Any Indonesian experts will understand that is impossible for the time being, but I supported the idea of the student because it helps to shift a paradigm of heritage practice in Indonesia. 

The current heritage paradigm is to freeze history and make historical buildings as sacred sactuaries. The appropriate heritage paradigm (at least appropriate according to form and function) is to conserve dynamic historical values and make use of historical buildings for current needs. 

These students will have various jobs and positions in the next 10 years, they will remember what they exercise today. That is why it is important to give them freedom to exercise their heritage ideals. That is a school for. 

Once they enter the real world, they will lost that luxury and have to swallow painful facts. They will need knowledge and experience of today as students to stay strong and pursue  of their ideals. 


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