Historic Buildings: Losing its facade


Before designing a building, an architect or master planner usually study about site analysis first, view orientation for instance. As designer, study of view orientation become the significant point while analysis is being planned. Which potential view can be explored, and which one is less to be explored. Beside view taken from pedestrians, view taken from motorized vehicle user is also highly significant. Then, what will be happened to the site when its traffic has been already changed? is there any relationship about site of view and traffic changing? for me yes. We can take an example case in downtown of Surabaya city located in Jembatan Merah area. Jembatan Merah has long journey of architecture history, and become a unique old city area.

One of the buildings that we can still observe was located in the corner of Jalan Veteran and Jalan Cendrawasih. It was built around 1914, almost one hundred years a go, designed in art nouveau architecture style (now utilized as private bank). It was designed in tipically corner design with tower and city clock in the top. Surabaya had so many city clock at that time united with its building design. Everyone could see to the top of the building while walking or riding a bicycle, because it had still enough space and distance to see till the top. Jalan Veteran was two ways which always crowded of bicycle, dokar, old car, electric train, and people who was walking around through the city. Beacuse of the development of the city of Surabaya, and increasing of huge number of motorized vehicles, two ways of Jalan veteran became one way only, from Jembatan Merah to Jalan Pahlawan by way of Jalan Veteran. As an impact, present people can not see and enjoy the facade and city clock as well, neither you are driving a car, public transportation, nor motorcycle. When we pass through Jalan Veteran by public or private transportation, we have to turn our head in order to see the building. Only by walking you can still stare at the details of the facade.



How big the effect of traffic changing? agree with the title above, building could lose its facad. Many people will not recognize the facade of the building, but can it be forgotten as well?, it can be. We can not avoid this traffic changing, traffic will be changed when the density of motorized vehicles are growing higher and higher to preventing traffic jam.


1. Old Surabaya City Map (scanned from book titled ”Surabaja Beeld Van Een Stad”),

Present Surabaya City Map (downloaded from http://maps.google.com accessed in July 2009)

3. Old Photograph ( scanned from book ”Surabaja Beeld Van Een Stad” )

New Photograph (downloaded from Internet, accessed in 2006)

4. Sequence from Jalan Jembatan Merah to Jalan Veteran ( Private Collection, photograph was taken in September 30, 2006 )