Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A lawsuit vs design practices

MIT vs Gehry & partners:
"The suit filed on October 31,2007 at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, claims that Gehry and Skanska committed design and construction failures on the project which caused, among other things, masonry cracking, efflorescence, and poor drainage at outdoor amphitheater; efflorescence and mold growth at various locations on the brick exterior vertical elevations; persistent leaks at various locations throughout the building; and sliding ice and snow from the building.

Both, Frank Gehry and partners(architect) and Skanska (contractor), was sued by Massachussets Institue of Technology (MIT) with US$ 300 million for they failed to provide design services and drawings in accordance with the applicable standard of care. Gehry commented the issue on New York Times: "These things are complicated, and they involved a lot of people, and you never know where they went wrong. A building goes together with 7 billion pieces of connective tissue. the chances of it getting done ever without something colliding or some misstep are small. I think the issue are fairly minor." (AR, 12,2007)

Calatrava vs Bilbao:
"A civil judge in Bilbao, Spain, has ruled against Santiago Calatrava in his suit challenging Arata Isozaki's addition to his 1997 footbridge over Nervion River. The addition was built without Calatrava's knowledge and opened last February. Calatrava sued the city of Bilbao which owns the bridge, and 2 local contractors that built the addition, demanding that the extension be demolished and that he be awarded US$ 365,000 in damages, or US$ 4.3 million if it was not removed.

In his ruling, judge Edmundo recognized that Calatrava's right as author of the bridge had been infringed, but that the public utility of the addition took precedence over this private right. Even so, the judge added that he found it 'incomprehensible' the city failed to consult Calatrava. The ruling raises questions about the application of Spain's 1996 Law of Intellectual Property to works of architecture and engineering. The law establishes the rights of creators of artistic, literary, and scientific works including the protection of their physical integrity. While it specifically excludes buildings and engineering works from protection." (AR, 01,2008)

Both cases indicate how law has protected also design practices, as well as their clients, and not merely other service related businesses (though Calatrava lose his suit). This common level in the eye of Law may put each party to its stand, as professional or client with a sense of respect, responsibility and professionalism. People would start to notice that these design practices (especially architecture) are truly related to their way of life, and how does it influence their daily activities, thus giving it its greater responsibility to create 'something good' for the people. This has surely put design practices with a large amount of fees, and yet a larger amount of responsibility.

So, how about Indonesia?


Monday, January 21, 2008


Last week, The Engineering Faculty's Dean officially announced their new facilities at Magister Manajemen Teknologi (MMT FT) in UI Campus Salemba, which were planned to uplift the existing interior condition. They were the Digital Library and Computer Lab for MMTFTUI, located on the ground floor of this 3 storeys building.

Initially, we were asked to plan for 3-phase renovation, starting with the roof and facade treatment, followed by interior renovation, and completed by the new furnishings. The first phase has been done as planned, followed by the second phase that focused on the interior of the new large classroom on third floor. The classroom was designed and built in a very short term of less than a month with a minimum budget that a large classroom could have, while the ground floor area was left untouched for future development.

After a while, the Faculty asked us to develop the ground area that was occupied mostly by an empty (unfunctional)room, cafeteria, admin office and toilets. This large unfunctional space on ground level was not a good representative for a post graduate engineering programs, especially when it also functions as the entrance to the whole facility. We need something to uplift the interior condition as well as its atmosphere, where academical activities can be experienced dynamically. Thus a student library, computer lab and lounge were considered the most appropriate.

The Digital libary, as the main feature in the ground area, was planned as the virtual complementary database for the actual library in campus UI Depok, where students can browse many things related to their studies and academic schedules. The place also accomodates a meeting room and a reading lounge. Adjacent to the library, a computer lab for 20 persons connected by wi-fi is facilitated. Both the library and the lab were designed with a sharp shaped furnishings with dynamic lines and colors, that indicate the sense of progressivity in the world of technology and engineering.

The Atrium, located on the center of facility with large skylight, is definitely the most spacious area in MMT. It's surrounded by railing walls from upper storeys and 2 sets of concrete collumns that hold the staircases. This volume had to be reduced somehow in order to create friendlier space for people to sit in the lounge below. We decided to apply bold red color, as to emphasize the warmth ambience and reflect the MMT's passion to go beyond any limit in engineering, that often represented by royal blue. Unlike the library and lab interior, the atrium uses curving furnitures with similar red color, to create an integrated informal lounge as well as convinient place to sit, browse and updating news.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Upcoming in 2008

Recently, the UI's new management had asked us to contribute more to the development of campus' properties, namely the Wisma Rini in Jatinegara and Wisma PSJ in Depok. Both are in need of revitalization and new management as to optimize the UI's assets.

Wisma Rini, that was once functioned as student dorm, will be planned to have its commercial and semi-recreation functions. The project has actually proposed 3 years ago by us, and now UI decided to have another look on the plan. Located near the central business district of Jakarta and its transportation lines, with its unique 60's look and large green park on the site, it has become one of the most prospective UI's asset to develop.

Wisma PSJ, that functions as campus' 3-star guesthouse, will be designed to have fresher, modern interior looks, and equipped with internet access points. With its nicely developed green surroundings, as well as new interior, it targets the foreign students and professors, even their family to stay during their regular conferences or academic calendar in Depok.