Andy Rahman: The Charter Collector


As a young architect, Andy Rahman has successfully brought the name of Surabaya to the world stage through his masterpieces. He has earned various nominations for design awards since the beginning of this decade, namely Building of the Year from the ArchDaily website, and at the Architizer A+ Awards 2012, Lombok International Bamboo Festival 2013 and World Architecture Festival 2016, among others. His work was also shortlisted to represent Indonesia at the Indonesian Architects’ Week in Tokyo in 2011 as well the Indonesian Architecture Public Exhibition in The Hague in 2012. The ITS graduate shares his views as a Surabaya-based architect about designing in the city that he loves the most.

Photo by AndyRahman Architects Doc.

Why did you start your architecture bureau?

Since college, I have always dreamed of becoming a professional architect. After graduation, I had the opportunity to work for three different companies. In 2005, a contractor friend asked me to collaborate with him in starting a new company that dealt with designing and constructing buildings. Of course I did not let a good opportunity pass. In the same year, I started my own architectural bureau–that’s when I began my career as a professional architect.

What was your first project?

A private residence belonging to a Japanese national who lived in Sidoarjo.

Which project has been the most memorable?

Rumah Miring [The Sloping House] in Rungkut [East Surabaya], because it required a lengthy and demanding struggle to complete.

What’s the state of design like in Surabaya?

The people of Surabaya are becoming more aware of design. This is evident in the increased interest of people in the numerous design events or exhibitions held in the city. The government of Surabaya has also given enough space to designers-this is what has allowed the development of design in Surabaya to improve quite significantly over the past few years.

Why open a company in Surabaya?

I was born in Surabaya–of course I have an ambition to contribute to the city as best I could. I want to build up Surabaya and its surrounding areas from the architectural side so that the city can be better and more advanced.

As the architect behind many residential projects, what’s most important for you when designing a house?

The quality of the rooms. If the room quality is excellent, then a house will feel comfortable and wholesome. The quality of the room includes good spatial arrangement, precise circulation as well as optimal lighting and aeration.

Do you have an architectural idol?

I follow closely the designs of architect Hiep Hoa Nguyen of a21studio in Vietnam. His designs always stress local strength and simplicity [and] remind us about the real meaning of architecture, which should be simple but essential.

What are your hopes for the city?

I hope that in the future Surabaya will host high-quality works of architecture to make it a tourist destination for visitors from around the world.

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Barbara Hahijary
Barbara earned her bachelor's degree in architecture from the Interior Architecture Program of the University of Indonesia in 2013. Historical or heritage buildings, as well as utilitarian design, fascinates her as it is the interaction between people and architecture that remains her favourite topic to explore. Besides architecture, her interests include design, handcrafts, literature and social issues.

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