Between 8-12 August 2021, I became one of the judges for a competition to design a museum for the birth house of Soekarno in Kampung Peneleh, Surabaya. The competition was organized by Tata Matra Indonesia and  Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Kota Surabaya (Agency for Culture and Tourism of the Municipality of Surabaya). The aim was to raise awareness about heroism amongst the youth. 

The other judges were Prof. Dr. Ir, Johan Silas, Ir. Dadoes Sumarwanto MArch., Prof.Dr. Purnawan Basundoro S.S. M.Hum., Zaky Umara ST. MALA, and Dimas Nugroho. 

All participants were architecture students or graduates so they used architectural approaches with ideas about how a museum should look like.  Despite the fact that most submissions were impressive, I thought it should be better if students and graduates from museum studies participate, too. This would strengthen the ideas and be also fairer to the museum's professionalism. It is not everyone can create a proper museum. Nevertheless, I understood that in Indonesia museology is not known as a specific study yet. Heritage issues are usually approached by architects, including ideas of adaptive reuse as museums. 

During the judging process, I was humbled to learn from all participants and also from all other judges. The youths had fresh ideas and would like to reach the ideals, that were what inspired me. They also understood the basic concepts of heritage conservation and showed appreciation for the history of Soekarno. What angle of the history they have chosen was the most interesting for me because Soekarno is a person with many facets.

My favorite angle was the group who decided to choose an angle of Soekarno as a coffee drinker. Soekarno once said, "Instead of the bookworms who do nothing, I'd prefer the youths who smoke and drink coffee while they do something for their country." This quote inspired the group tremendously and they translated it into a cafe and museum altogether. They wished to attract the youth to come to drink coffee and to read about the history of Soekarno. For Indonesia's situation, this approach might works. This place might earn sufficient income to be able to support the museum and become a lively place for the youth in the middle of kampongs in Surabaya. 


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