Doddy Tjahjadi: A Developer’s Role in Achieving Success Through Architecture


With a master’s degree in property development, Doddy Tjahjadi, managing director of PTI Architects, has a unique view when designing any project. He explains to Indonesia Design how PTI Architects became one of the most sought-after firms by leading developers in Asia.

Can you tell to us about PTI Architects and what the firm is all about?
We, Paddle Thorp International, in terms of the size and number of architects, are one of the top 10 biggest architecture firms in the world. We have a lot of different specialties and experience after being around for several decades. The company was set up officially in Jakarta in 1991, although the firm itself has been involved in projects here in Indonesia since 1965. I started working here in 1993 and we built a satellite office of this major Australian group right here in Jakarta. Now, we have close to 100 employees and have done projects all over Indonesia, and even overseas. We’ve had projects in several countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India, Maldives, Papua New Guinea and more.

What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture and master’s in property development from the University of New South Wales in Australia. I chose property development because there are aleady many smart architects with master degrees laughs but actually I took property because I find it interesting to see a project from different perspectives.

While architects focus on the design, efficiency, buildability, maintenance and sustainability, the developers look at a project from the suitability of products, marketing and return on investment. I think it’s important for an architect to also understand this certain point of view. For example, for the Six Senses Uluwatu project, we initially wanted to create a fine dining venue where the presidential villa is now located. However, after studying other fine dining venues, we realised that it’s not a very big money maker, therefore we changed it into the presidential villa, which is way more successful. This is a great example of how projects may look great but it doesn’t mean it will be financially successful.

What sets you apart from other firms?
We have built a strong reputation both locally and internationally because we have so many smart people working here. We have a local and international team of staff with different backgrounds such as planners, architects, and interior designers. Because of this, we are able to provide a certain standard of excellence into every project. We consult with each other on different aspects and share a lot of information which helps us in the creation and development of a unique and optimal design solution for each project.

On top of that, as I mentioned before, we in PTI can look at projects from a developer’s perspective. For every development, we make our own Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to figure out exactly what our priority should be. Our understanding about commercial value is the reason why developers want to choose us for their projects. From the top 25 developers here, 90 per cent of them are our repeat clients.

As an architect, how important do you think design is in the success of a business?
I think design is important because we are a design firm laughs but the most important actually is how a design can benefit the owner, the surrounding people, and the area. Many simple projects can already give a lot of benefits, but also a project like Six Senses Uluwatu can help make Bali become the most popular luxury resort island in the world.

What do you think is the future trend for hotels?
Defintely sustainability is the most important trend. Second is the growth of the Asian travel market. More and more Asians are travelling now, therefore when us architects are designing hotels, we now have to think about designing using Asian values. For example, Asians tend to go on holiday as a family, and in big groups generally. When they host weddings they host massive ones. Because of that, we now have to adapt and change the way we design spaces.

Another trend I’m seeing is the different design styles in hotels. Some hotels are minimalistic, some are extravagant, some are rustic, etc. People have different tastes and hotels should understand that. But I think the only style that will be completely gone is the old European architecture. The last trend is of course the rise of technology. Because of this we now have to design around gadgets, and even the lighting technology is now very advanced. We have to adapt to this rapid change in order to design a successful hotel.

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Bagus Tri Laksono
PTI Architects