The Jakarta Post: Oei Dji San

Heritage building in Tangerang rescued by private home buyer

 

Mariani Dewi , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 01/06/2009 11:09 AM | City

Two heritage houses at Karawaci, Tangerang, on the verge of being demolished have been bought by a private citizen, escaping their final blow.

But whether the complex remains open to the public still remains to be seen.

The land where the houses sit has not been bought, so the building will be restored at another location. The time-line for restoration has not been fixed because a relocation site has not been purchased yet.

The houses were partly dismantled by the house contractors, who sold the ruins to antique traders when the purchase was made.

“The dismantlement of the houses stopped Dec. 16 and will continue mid-January. The parts will be stored at a warehouse in Bekasi (West Java) until then,” Andipo Wiratama, a member of a volunteer group Citizens Care for Heritage Buildings (Walibatu) told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.

The houses will be dismantled in January according to standard procedures to prepare for resembling at the new site chosen by the owner. This requires a detailed, scaled floor plan and the establishment of a common coding system for the different parts.

The buyer, who refused to be identified, bought the buildings, but not the land. He said he would try to retrieve the sold items.

“The houses are now in the new buyer’s hands. We are unsure if he will really rebuild the houses,” Andipo said.

“We wanted to keep the houses at their original location, but we could not strike a deal with the seller and the buyer. From our point of view, we failed.”

The group found out about the demolition last month and alerted architects, historians, the media and the Tangerang administration.

Although the group received support from the public, the Tangerang administration did not respond to the petition they submitted last month.

Budi Lim, an architect who cares about heritage buildings, said the deal was a necessary compromise.

“It was the best to keep the houses at their original place, but it was very hard to do, time was pressing,” he said.

He said he had been in contact with the new owner, who seemed determined to rebuild the house at similar location, preferably in the same neighborhood.

Budi, who was involved in the preservation of the National Archive Museum and the revitalization of the Old Town, will be involved in the recording and dismantling process.

“The house will be restored using the same construction technique with many of the old materials, such as the bricks and roof tiles. If more materials are needed, we will find parts from the same era so they will be similar,” he said.

“Of course we will install modern electrical wiring and safety measures to the house,” he added.

He said restoration was possible, just like what was done to restore the 300-year-old National Archives Building in Central Jakarta, which won the UNESCO Award of Excellence.

Experts will conduct archaeological, social and historical studies as part of the preservation effort.

“I don’t know where the funding will come from, but these steps must be taken. Conservation is not only about buildings, but about the whole environment. We need to study the history of the area and potential impacts,” he said.

“We have to have certain value and ethics *in carrying out preservation efforts*.

“It is not romanticism, but a responsibility to future generations.”

 

Preservation: First 5 principles:

First principles for preserving historic monuments and buildings

Principle 1:
Collective mapping of cultural space, its hierarchies, symbolic language and associations is a pre-requisite for appropriate and successful preservation.
Principle 2:
Tangible cultural expressions derive their origin, value and continuing significance from intangible cultural practices.
Principle 3:
Authenticity, the defining characteristic of heritage, is a cultural attribute to be found in continuity, but not necessarily in the continuity of material only.
Principle 4:
The preservation process succeeds when histories are revealed, traditions revived and meanings recovered in a palimpsest of knowledge
Principle 5:
Appropriate use of heritage is arrived through a negotiation process, resulting in a life-enhancing space.

Source: UNESCO Asia Conserved

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