8 Legendary Indonesian Architects You Should Know


Indonesia is home to many amazing architects, today and throughout history, but some have an impact that is too massive to overlook. These architects are responsible for the iconic and monumental buildings across Indonesia, which have given the country's architecture some colour and diversity thanks to the myriad of styles. These fantastic feats are worthy of being acknowledged by many, and so here are eight legendary Indonesian architects you should know.

Han Awal

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Real name Han Ho Tjwan, Han Awal is a conservationist architect who helped preserve old and historical buildings. One of his well known preservation works is the Jakarta Cathedral, which he restored and rebuilt while maintaining its historical value. His most popular work is the National Archive Museum, which granted him the International Award of Excellence UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage. Amazed by the aesthetic and cultural value of aged buildings, he also established the Architecture Documentation Centre with several other architects.

Friederich Silaban

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Friederich Silaban is one of the first generations of Indonesian architects. He was known to be a self-taught architect and turned out to be one of the most influential in Indonesia. He built many of the most monumental and iconic buildings in Indonesia such as Istiqlal Mosque, Gelora Bung Karno stadium, National Monument, and other several famous monuments. He, too, plays an essential part in establishing Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia (IAI).

Achmad Noe'man

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“Architect of a Thousand Mosques” or “The Maestro of Mosque Architecture", those are the titles given to Achmad Noe'man by many. He dedicated himself to building mosques and have designed several locally and internationally. What's unique about his design is that he didn’t include domes that are commonly found in most mosques, and that became his signature style. He argued that a dome is too heavy for a mosque and required pillars to support it. Instead, he took a minimalist approach to avoid obstructing the praying lines. This was reflected on the controversial Salman Mosque which made him famous for that very reason.

Liem Bwan Tjie

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Liem Bwan Tjie is the first-generation pioneer of modern architecture. He kicked off his career in Amsterdam in several architecture firms and continued his studies at Delft, Holland. When he came back to Indonesia, he started designing buildings and private residences for the elite. One of his notable works is a noblemen house named the Bo Djwan. Liem Bwan Tjie was also involved in the making of Ikatan Arsitektur Indonesia (IAI), an association of Indonesian architects that still stands today. His home was the place where the first IAI meeting took place.

Soedjoedi Wirjoatmodjo

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An architect who was active between the 1960s and 1970s, Soedjoedi Wirjoatmodjo is considered as the first native modernist architect of the post-colonial period. He believed that modernity is a form of liberation from colonialism. The signature of his work focused more on geometrical composition, making sure the building is harmonious with the site and its conditions without designing it too grandiose. One of his most recognisable work is the Conefo Building or later known as the House of Representatives building. He was put in charge as the chief architect by Indonesia's very first president, Soekarno.

Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya

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A man with many skills and excelled in each one of them, Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya was an architect, a writer and a Catholic religious leader. As an architect, he was known as the father of modern Indonesian architecture. Yusuf Bilyarta Mangunwijaya dedicated himself to helping the less fortunate with his architectural skills. One of his famous works is his design for Code river settlements, which granted him the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the most prestigious architecture award in the developing world. To him, the narrative behind a house design is comparable to a limitless explosion of variations, a chance to reinforce self-identity.

Hendra Hadiprana

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Known as an architect and an art enthusiast, the late Hendra Hadiprana was the founder of Hadiprana Architects, which was established in 1958, and Hadiprana Gallery in 1962. Unique, eclectic, and contemporary with a touch of local culture are the characteristics of his work. He was known for his work on residences, office buildings, and 5-star hotels, including Hotel InterContinental Bali and Niaga Bank buildings in Indonesia and Hong Kong. Throughout his career as a phenomenal architect and designer, he was the first Indonesian architect to receive the Lifetime Achievement award from KOHLER Bold Design Award. Even with his signature Indonesian style, Hendra Hadiprana was the one who introduced Greek-style pillars to Indonesian architecture when he first came back from his seven-year education journey in Holland.

Slamet Wirasonjaya

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He was known as the father of Indonesian landscape architecture. This nickname came straight from the first president of Indonesia himself, Soekarno, for his outstanding work on the CONEFO project. His landscape architecture always had the spirit of public space in its design, with the environment and its surrounding areas in mind. Mid-century European architecture was the inspiration for his signature design. He produced several landscapes on legendary Indonesian monuments, such as the Grand Space design of Monas and the Jogja Kembali Monument.

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