Books for the Design Community

Photography By Eric Dinardi

Hidden from Jakarta’s hustle and bustle, Omah Library is located on the basement of RAW Architecture firm and was founded on 17 January 2015. Initially, it was designed as a private library but is now inviting the public, especially university students and young architects. Realrich Sjarief, the founder and owner of the library, recently shared with Indonesia Design about the vision of the library and its mission on equipping young architects with necessary practical and theoretical knowledge in the field of architecture and its related subjects. The following is an excerpt of the interview.

What is the initial concept and idea behind Omah Library?

Omah is actually an abbreviation of “On Meeting Architecture Hub”. It’s also a part of The Guild building where I live with my family, and the RAW Architecture studio where I spend my workdays. In the basement, there is a space for Omah Library, a private library that aims to connect the general public. Everyone is welcome here, though the objective is to educate young architects and university students majoring in architecture or other related studies.

We are located at the end of Villa Meruya housing complex, which is away from Jakarta’s daily hectic scene. With strong walls, tall fences, and “gapless” design, The Guild is designed to be calming yet open. From the entrance, visitors can be directly connected to the Omah Library area, which is open for the public every Saturday and Sunday. On another side of the house, there is a small garden and living room that is a part of the private house. If you explore more, you can find a dining room with windows facing a fish pond in the centre of the building. Next, there are private stairs facing the main room. In the main room, there are some functional rooms such as a lounge, seeding room, and prayer room. On another side of the building, there are more working spaces and the newly-built office. Every room in the building is eco-friendly with careful use of water as well as good air and light circulation.

How large is Omah Library?

It is 100 sqm, located inside the 500 sqm-large building. We also have a meeting room that can accommodate up to 40 people. Here, in this room, we teach architecture philosophy, theory and methodology.

Any membership required to join this library?

None. We welcome everyone interested in honing their skills and gaining more knowledge on various subjects in the field of architecture.

How many books are available in the library, and are the books in your private collection?

There are 10,000 private collection books available, but the books are intended to be read inside the library only. Adjacent to the library, there is a book house for children.

We are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone can come during these hours, but you need to make a reservation beforehand. We don’t charge any fee to enter the library. The library also functions as a sharing platform. We have held over 300 events featuring 250 contributors. Again, such events are free of charge and open for anyone.

What is your hope for Omah Library and architecture education in Indonesia?

We are trying to make architecture more accessible through the routine programmes, such as the open library, architecture course, and even free architecture classes every now and then. So far, our audience mostly comprise of architecture students from universities such as as UPH, Untar, UI, ITB, Binus, and ITS.

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Aulia R. Sungkar
Writing has always been his passion and endeavour since his college years in the 1990s at the University of Arizona. Flash forward, the Jakarta-based writer and entrepreneur has contributed hundreds of various writing pieces to esteemed publications and does copywriting projects for corporate clients from many industries.
Eric Dinardi