The Man Behind the Humane & Ecological Architecture: Budhi Harmunanto


Budhi Harmunanto, the principal of bha, has honed his architectural skills in real estate development for decades. Embracing a universal perspective on design, he focuses on crafting personalised houses, delving into the interactions between his creations, the occupants and the surrounding environment.

What key elements do you consistently incorporate into your architecture?
Two fundamental concepts define our designs. First, our work must embody humanity. We aim to raise awareness about the people who will inhabit these spaces. Often, individuals become mere objects within architecture for aesthetic appeal in photographs. Contrarily, we prioritise making people the focal point. Our concern isn’t just about a house looking good in pictures; it’s about how it seamlessly integrates with its users. Scale-wise, we strive for inhabitants to feel an intrinsic comfort, where the house becomes an extension of their bodies and a cocoon for their souls.

Next, our architecture must echo its environment, as our commitment to ecological sustainability. Our approach isn’t just about how individuals engage with sustainable architecture; it’s also about how the structure harmonises with its natural surroundings. We consider factors such as temperature regulation and airflow, so we can positively make contribution to the environment.

You have designed many houses in Surabaya. How do you ensure each house maintains its uniqueness whilst bearing your style?

Each work is tailored distinctively to ensure individual comfort. Just as people are unique, so are their homes. Our architectural approach is client driven. Whilst we can be idealistic, we avoid being selfish. Understanding that architects aren’t the end users, we conduct thorough background checks on clients, studying their social patterns and habits. We perceive architecture not merely as a style but as a conduit for conveying character and expression, setting each house apart from the others. Uniqueness naturally follows when prioritising humanity and ecology.

Are there any new approaches you are currently pursuing?
We’re aiming to integrate historic elements into our designs. We believe that an architectural journey is an integral part of history. Our aspiration is to infuse nuances of historical significance, drawing inspiration from romanticism, Hindu architecture, ancient palaces, and Dutch Indies influences. The goal is to anchor architecture as a cornerstone of history and culture.

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Indonesia Design Dev
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