Smart take on the boarding house


It’s no secret that boarding houses in Indonesia have often been designed recklessly without heed to aesthetic values. A large number have been built only to maximize profit by adding rooms without considering the habitable compositions and scales. Surabaya is now home to a bioclimatic and biophilic boarding house that has been magnificently designed by Andyrahman Architect.

Photo by Mansyur Hasan

Surabaya is known for its heat, even when the sun is beginning to set. In terms of design, this climatic problem is often solved by a simple solution: Installing air-cooling technology. Yet one boarding house in the Keputih are of Sukolilo, Surabaya, is introducing a brilliant answer to tackle the problem. Not only is Andyrahman Architect applying a bioclimatic design, the architecture consultants for the project are also employing a biophilic concept that highlights the comfort of the tenants.

Bioclimatic architecture was created to answer the challenges of a tropical climate and manage them into a beneficial strength. Meanwhile, biophilic architecture not only presents a design that is closely correlated to nature, but also sees humans as living objects that should be handled in a humane and proportional way. “During the construction, we encountered several contemporary issues that a lot of architectural communities are facing today. Therefore we presented the bioclimatic and biophilic issue on a larger scale,” says Andy Rahman, the principal architect of Andyrahman Architect.

As a response to the city’s tropical climate, the Keputih boarding house employs bioclimatic architectural techniques by using perforated panels for wall material in most of its main spaces. With the installation of the panels, the house appears to “breathe”, just like any living thing, as the panels allow an abundance of natural lighting and aeration into the house. In addition, Andy and his team also built spatial openings that aim to optimise the flow of sunlight and breeze into the house although the openings are not too large in dimension.

From the biophilic point of view, the boarding house also provides comfortable living by placing communal spaces in several areas to allow tenants to interact, communicate and socialise. To enhance cosiness and visual treat for tenants, Andy also included typographical prints that hang on several walls. The biophilic approach has also been heightened by encouraging tenants or visitors to commute by bicycles. “A parking space for bicycles is available in this location, considering these two-wheeled vehicles are environmentally friendly and good for our health,” Andy says.

By combining bioclimatic and biophilic concepts, and adding them to the low budget and easy maintenance principles of the construction, the Keputih boarding house has become a design that evinces the designer’s –and owner’s– care about the climate and human beings. Apart from presenting a characteristic that is rarely touched on by other designers, Andyrahman Architect is displaying architecture as part of the existence and continuation of life on earth without forgetting about the humanistic elements. It is not surprising to see this brilliant idea picked as one of the finalists in the prestigious World Architecture Festival 2016 in Berlin, Germany.

Project Name

Keputih Boarding House


Bumi Marina Mas Blok E/57, Keputih, Sukoliko, Surabaya

Land Area

120 sqm

Gross Floor Area

250 sqm

Architecture Consultant

Andyrahman Architect

Principal Architect

Andy Rahman

Architect Assistant

Imam Prasetyo

Architect Assistant Support

Reni D. Rahayu, Fathoni & M. Ubay

Interior Designer

Anindita Caesarayi Putri

Main Contractor

Griya Karya Mandiri





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Anton Adianto
Anton Adianto graduated from Parahyangan Catholic University majoring in architecture. His passion for writing, watching movies, listening to music, uncovering design, exploring the culinary world, traveling, delving into the philosophy of life, meeting people and disclosing all matters related to technology feeds his curiosity. Currently he resides in both Jakarta and Bandung.