Indonesian architecture firm Studio SA_e recently completed its most dramatic renovation yet on Rumah Gerbong, a home that has evolved and undergone many expansions since the owners purchased it 18 years ago. Located in the planned township of Bintaro Jaya in Jakarta, the home has evolved from a strictly residential building to a multifunctional dwelling that accommodates residential, office and entertainment spaces. Described as a “multistep development” or “growing house” (rumah tumbuh), this adaptive typology has become increasingly popular in Indonesia.
The origins of Rumah Gerbong began in 2000, when the owners, then a young couple, purchased the 387-square-foot two-bedroom building set on a plot of about 968 square meters. Three years later, the couple realized that they needed to expand their living space — they had recently given birth to a child and the husband, an architect, needed an office of his own where he could work with clients. Thus, the couple expanded the built footprint of their home to the corners of the plot and added a second floor to make room for a ground-floor office at the front of the house. The second evolution took place between 2006 and 2007, when the home expanded yet again to incorporate the neighboring house to accommodate four additional bedrooms and living spaces.
Ten years later, the husband wanted to expand his office, while the wife wanted a space of her own to run a business from home. Their growing children also wanted places to bond with family. Thus, Studio SA_e designed a home compartmentalized into three sections: living, working and interacting. The bedrooms are concentrated on the second floor to open the ground and third floors for communal activities. The “business compartment” is mostly located on the north side and is divided among the three floors. The architects retained space for a planted interior courtyard to let in daylight. The home also connects to an accessible green rooftop.
“The end of 2017 has turned into the climactic peak in the construction of Rumah Gerbong, with several additional functions in compartment space,” the architects wrote. “The strategy of breaking the density and contrast of functions (living and working) by adding new functions in the form of empty space and interaction space produces a new distinctive typology with strong functional synergism … [we] named this strategy as krowakisme (krowak = perforated, partially hollow).”
Images by Mario Wibowo; Aerial photography by Mario Wibowo & George Timothy