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Ivan Priatman: Making Heritage

Years of working with Jimmy Priatman at Archimetric encouraged Ivan Priatman to start another architectural bureau, Ivan Priatman Architecture, specializing in residential architecture. The son of the senior architect, Ivan has made his dream a reality at both firms where he has designed numerous projects worthy of international attention. In this article, Ivan discusses living and working in Surabaya–and his hopes for the city’s future.

Photo by Ivan Priatman Architecture Doc.

What brought you into architecture?

From the outset, I’ve always been interested in architecture and have also been very much familiar with that world, as my father is an architect. I used to love playing with 3-dimensional shapes: Folding, stacking and manipulating the shapes. I would also observe and learn about various buildings. Later, I decided to study about architecture, which gave me an opportunity to learn more about buildings and construction. I found myself growing more attracted to the field. The more I learned about the history of architecture, the more I wanted to become an architect.

Once during my university years, I took a holiday job in the architecture library of my campus, which has thousands of books about architecture and interior design. I used my time there to read and browse through the books, just to look at the pictures. The library housed architectural works from all around the world, covering various eras. That was an experience that encouraged me to pursue a career in architecture.

What was your first professional project?

During my first few years at PT. Archimetric – around six years ago to be exact – I handled several projects that became my first tasks, namely The Samator [Surabaya, under construction], Graha Airi [Surabaya, built 2013], the DAF Showroom [Sidoarjo, built 2013] and EtonHouse International Preschool [Surabaya, built 2014]. At the same time, I also designed and built my private residence, which became my first residential project.

What one project in your career offers you the most profound memory?

I think all of my projects are memorable–depending on which memory we talk about. Designing and building my private residence was memorable, in the sense that I could directly see and experience the whole process of design and construction. In the project, for the first time, I was also able to see myself how my designs were slowly transformed into reality. It was thrilling, exhausting–but exciting nonetheless.

What do you think about design in Surabaya?

It’s very exciting. We can see a great number of Surabayan architects whose works are greatly esteemed in the architectural scene of Surabaya, and even Indonesia. There are a growing number of wonderful architectural works in Surabaya–not only private homes, but also restaurants, cafes, offices and schools, among other things. As an architect, this is an exciting time to develop architecture and design in this city.

Why live and open a firm in Surabaya?

Surabaya is the city where I was born. I know the city inside out and I feel comfortable here. I do my work here because I want to contribute to make Surabaya a better city, a city that is richer in architectural values, a more beautiful city and a city that is more environmentally friendly – one building at a time.

What’s most intriguing about the city for you?

Surabaya is a dynamic city. It is a city that is developing into a modern and complex place. It is still in the developmental stage, so that it can decide its own direction and character. This also means it’s easier to make changes for the better. Surabaya has all the facilities needed to become a modern city within a comfortable setting.

What are your hopes for Surabaya?

I hope Surabaya can be a city that has integrity and character–a more advanced city where creativity is at heart. I hope that Surabaya will be one of the barometers of the Indonesian creative industry–not only creativity that is fabricated or imported, but true creativity that is born from the citizens of Surabaya and out of the local potentials of Surabaya. I hope works of architecture can be part of Surabaya’s character, as well as a cultural heritage of the city.

Ivan Priatman

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