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The Influence of the World Architecture Development on Architecture Development in Medan City

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International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration
Volume 4, Issue 1, November 2017, Pages 61-68

The Influence of the World Architecture Development on Architecture Development in Medan City

DOI: 10.18775/ijmsba.1849-5664-5419.2014.41.1009
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.18775/ijmsba.1849-5664-5419.2014.41.1009

1 Imam Faisal Pane, 2 Moehammed Nawawiy Loebis, 3 Ichwan Azhari,
4 Bauni Hamid, 5 Devin Defriza Harisdani

1 4 5 Department of Architecture, University of Sumatera Utara, Kampus USU, Medan, Indonesia
2 Professor at Department of Higher Education Republic of Indonesia
3 University Negeri Medan, Sumatera Utara, Medan, Indonesia

Abstract: Architecture is one proof of the development of human civilization that has changed related to the circumstances at that time. The development of human civilization cannot be separated from the supported development of the culture. In other words, architecture which is born in one place is a cultural manifestation in that place. Along with that, the development of architecture is also filled with influences which come into the specific region or an area and give different color so that it is created a building with an architecture that is different from other places. This influence will not necessarily be present but it is a long process and gives the characters on the place. In this paper, it will be described the existence of architectural influences from the outside come in and give a touch to the developing architecture in the city of Medan. This influence is most obvious in the colonial government era that does a lot of development in various cities in Indonesia. With a qualitative approach then it explores the phenomenon of the architectural development in the city of Medan to see the architectural influences that come into the city of Medan.

Keywords: Architecture, Influence of architecture, The city of Medan

The Influence of the World Architecture Development on Architecture Development in Medan City

1. Introduction

The role of history is very important in the development of architecture. The participation of this history affects the architecture that developed in the area or region. In addition to history, local factors cannot be denied to be able to form unique architecture even the peculiarities of architecture form can become a landmark of an area that can be a witness to history and tourism. Architectural development is in harmony with the historical development because, in its movement, historical events always involve architecture in there. Activities of community need a place because of its architectural role is very big in important events that have occurred in history.

An important event in the history may include the historical development of a nation. Indonesia is a country that has a long colonial history and it affects the development of the nation as a whole. It starts from the spice trade made by VOC (VerenigdeOost-IndischeCompagnie) until the authority of the colonies by the Dutch government.(Passchier, 2016) This long history makes many the roles of the Dutch colonial government coloring development of potential areas of trade across Indonesia. Of course, this development also makes the architecture developed in the colonial area, called the Dutch government as “Nederlanschindise or Hindia Belanda”. The term for this area is used to give a name to the archipelago as part of the local colony. The Dutch colonial government uses a decentralized system to develop potential areas(Wignjosoebroto, 2004), including the city of Medan. This triggers the growth and development of the city into the municipal (Gemeente) (Sinar, 1991). The development of the city brings an impact on the development of the overall architecture.

The rapid development of world architecture begins with the emergence of modern architecture in mainland Europe and America simultaneously. The different views about the past are no longer considered in its development. The development of modern architecture is different from previous architectural development. In modern times, the formation of the architecture is a manifestation of a form of thought which occurred at that time. But the beginning of the modern era, there is a transition from the Renaissance to Modern democratization known as eclecticism. In this time is often called Post Renaissance or Neo-Classic period.

Eclecticism is often called the eclectic means choosing the best of what already exists. Architectural eclecticism means flow which selects and combines the elements of style into a separated form(Sumalyo, 1997). Selection of elements or styles tends to be free depending on your taste, inappropriate and social status for the occupants or the architects who planned it. The eclectic process is already happening since a long time because architectural style before the Renaissance had also used eclectic in its development of architecture.

At this Eclectic time also occur the time when countries in Europe make the colony or colonies in the countries of Asia, Africa, Australia, etc. The effect which occurs in Europe is brought by colonizers to the Colony. In Indonesia, colonization also occurs, Dutch as colonizers brought this influence to Indonesia. The eclectic influence is also frequently called or included in the name of colonial architecture. Because at the time of the development of colonial architecture, the influence of eclectic was widely used by the Dutch architect. Architectural eclecticism is an architecture that developed at that time because of the arising of saturation on the classical architecture that has been existed for thousands of years ago. Because of this saturation, the mindset is not used to be but already shifted toward the practical use of it. The saturation factor as colonialism made Europeans to the whole world (Sumalyo, 1997).

In application, this eclectic style combines needed elements appropriate to the planning but it can only apply any one style of classical architecture and elicits a different architectural style with the concept of classical architecture. The different styles even makes the building look like classical architecture but with a different shape. Uncertainty force at that time made eclecticism growing rapidly with the concept of repetition in the classical period and not a change to the classical architecture itself. During the eclectic period, the building function has been the variant as worship place or palace in the classical period in advance. This makes this eclectic period debuted in the early modern period.

One example of a building that uses eclectic styles is House of Parliament (Figure 1), which is building of representatives. Planning of this building is given to design for people and won by Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860). By taking the elements of Gothic, Barry designed the building with a formal impression as the building of representatives. It is filled with pointed-design on the upper wall of the building coupled with towers to reinforce the Gothic style were taken. In one of its towers, there is a large clock named Big Ben. This clock is now being a Landmark for London.

Figure 1: House of Parliament, London, Inggris

Source: id.wikipedia.org

In addition to eclecticism, the development of world architecture is also triggered by the Industrial Revolution that occurred in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, the mindset changes and tends to look to the future. The discovery of engine to manufacturing makes industry turns into a big industry. This suggests that production can be increased rapidly and the rate of the economy began to rise. Art is no longer considered to be something that is singular and can only be enjoyed by some people, but the art has been regarded as something that is universal so it can be mass produced. Besides outlook on life had changed drastically so impressive the chain termination history and just see the opportunity ahead. This phenomenon often occurs at the moment; it is not separated from architectural development for bringing the impact which is clearly different from the previous architecture trip.

Strong historical influence during the previous architecture was no longer able to attract the attention of architects at the time. This movement had an impact on the design of their different design results in the period before the modernization present. This period was no longer looking patterned shapes and decorations or ornaments as primary in realizing the building. But it only used the best elements of decoration in designing buildings. The form is relatively more diverse because it needs more space like a theater, offices, railway stations, hotels etc. while the classical period until the Renaissance, the building functions tend to the religious buildings.

In line with the period of eclecticism, developing new thinking about architecture in the form of a strong desire to use the function as the main concepts (form follows function). Additionally, it arises also the view “less is more” who assume that something as simple it is a beauty. The emergence of beauty is not instead of decorations and great form but the function of the building so it looks harmonious.

The discourse of function turns out to have a place in the hearts of the architects of the period, then the term of functionalism in architecture which derivatives one of which is Cubism. The influence of cubism is also evenly distributed in the plains of Europe, due to the flow of Avant Garde (flow that breaks away from the past) (Klotz, 1988). Then it came a similar flow in some countries, one of that wasDe Stjil that developed in the Netherlands, founded by artists and architects there.

At that time, because the movement is getting stronger then it was formed a group named MARS (Modern Architectural Research Group) in 1932 (Frampton,1992), then held congresses internationally for the development of Modern architecture in Athens in 1933 named CIAM (Congrès Internationaux de l’Architecture Modern). Modernization movement in architecture was finally called International Style movement, with the intention that the architecture that developed had the same characteristics although in different places.

1.1 Architectural Eclecticism Developed in Netherlands

In addition to the UK and France, style of eclecticism (eclectic) develops also in other countries in the plains of Europe. One of them is Dutch, buildings that use eclectic style are Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (1875-1885) designed by Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921) (Figure 2.). This building keeps a collection of items from all over the world. The building is relatively large and has a Gothic style with a combination of a sloping roof. At the front, there is an entrance with a sign emblazoned with the main arch and flanked by smaller ones. The main construction used steel and on the side roofs, there are some glasses as natural lighting. At the front, there is also a twin tower to reinforce the building entrance.

Figure 2: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Belanda

Source: id.wikipedia.org

The whole development in European plains made this style to be the trend at the time and by the Netherlands, this trend was brought to Indonesia and of course to the city of Medan. Some of the buildings built during the Dutch colonial rule, characterized by many eclectics. Based on this principle, it will be explored the eclectic colonial building built in Medan to see the architectural influence.

1.2 Eclectic Architecture Developed in Indonesia

As in the preceding discussion, the eclecticism architecture that developed in Europe and America, it also develops in Indonesia. This influence is clearly taken by the Dutch architect who designed the building in Indonesia. A long period of Dutch colonization in Indonesia brings a significant influence on the architectural development of eclectic style. Palladianism influence also occurred during this period, this genre was pioneered by Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) an Italian architect whose flow make the building be an elegant impression with the concept of symmetry, the harmonious proportions of the various elements of classical, especially Roman Architecture [7 in 4]. The most striking feature of Palladian is in the middle which pulled up to get an impression of the magnificent, on the left and right side of the building are usually lower than the middle so symmetrical building is so pronounced coupled with the use of classical ornament on the facade of the building which will add a grand impression on its appearances.

Buildings in Indonesia which use eclectic style is one of them is the National Museum (1862-1868) in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is seen in the middle there is a portico with columns typical Greek Doric, supporting the pediment and saddle roof. Being on the left and right wings looked lower than the middle. There is an open atrium in the center of the building which is surrounded by a row of Doric columns that give the classical impression this building as a whole (Figure 3).

Figure 3: National Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia

Source: id.wikipedia.org

In this study is focused to see the development of world architecture which also occurs in Indonesia. Seeing how modernization affects the development of architecture in Indonesia, including colonial architecture. Eclectic Influence is discussed because of this influence has affected much of architectural development in major cities in Indonesia.

2. Research Methods

In this research method used is descriptive qualitative. This method is used because of the phenomenon of colonial buildings in the city of Medan which need to be explored further by using an inductive approach. This approach, according to (Moleong, 2000), can see the objects as a whole. The early phenomenon in this modern is tried to be proved with a literature review on early modernism in order to find the influence of modernization of the existing buildings in the city of Medan. The historical approach used to trace the history of matters relating to the object of research. Several stages made in research methods, namely:

2.1 Stages of Data Collection and Analysis

In the data collection phase, the building used to prove that influence is Javasche Bank Building and now it becomes Indonesian Bank building. Observation techniques conducted to observe and record the object with a systematic phenomenon to be studied (Sukandarrumidi, 2006). In this data collection, it is not only conducted physical data but also literature data relating to the research. After collecting the relevant data then the next process is the analysis of data using variables and theory of modernization, to draw conclusions from the study.

2.2 Research Variables

From the influence which comes into Indonesia, most of it divided into 2 (two) those are eclectic and functionalism influence. From this the influence then the variables used to see both of the influence those are building Forms, Classical Columns, Ornaments of Building and Building Function. The fourth of these variables will be used to browse the object of research that is Javasche Bank Building.

3. Results and Discussion

3.1 Analysis of the Effect of Javasche Bank Building Modernization

It is standing majestically and is still well-maintained. The building is worthy to be the object of research. The central role of the building, especially in the colonial period makes it be one of the important buildings of its time. It is built simultaneously with other Javasche Bank building throughout Indonesia to be a banking facility at that time. This building was then turned into a building of Indonesia Bank after the Indonesian independence. Medan is a trading city that is a very strong presence (Napitupulu, 1991), because of it this bank building is important for the sustainability of trade and business.

The architects involved in designing this building is from the Bureau of Architects Ed.Cuypers&Hulswit, has its head office was in Amsterdam and for the Indies, his office was in Batavia. At that time the architect was entrusted by the Javasche Bank to design all branches in Indonesia. One of them is Javasche Bank (1908-1909) located at Balai Kota Street, Medan. This second-floor building has a hall and a lounge area on the first floor and on the second floor has the archives room and vault. The size of the building is 17 x 20 m and there are stairs from the outside are direct to the second floor (Sumalyo, 1993).

By using the research variables consists of 4 (four), then this phase will be explored deeper in modernization of Javasche Bank building. The analysis is as follows:

3.2 Form of Bank Javasche Building

This building is still used well until now,its symmetrical form is similar with tower building at the center of the building. The Front entrance is right in the middle of the building. The building has two floors (2) and serves as a bank at the beginning until now.

From its shape looks strong eclecticism influence on the overall building. The building is not relatively big but has a symmetrical shape and entrance as the main focus on the front side of the building makes this building has a strong influence eclecticism that developed at the beginning of modernization in Europe (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Javasche Bank Building in Medan, Indonesia

3.3 Classical Column of Javasche Bank Building

Views of buildings looked harmonious with rows of columns which are similar to classical Greek and Roman. It is located on the front side and side of the building. The columns are similar to Corinthian and Composite column is combined with a row of large windows so it produces a harmonious image (Figure 5).

In particular, it can be seen that this building has a strong eclecticism influence. The use of Greek columns indicates that this building has the effect of the early period of modernization that has developed along with their colonial rule in Medan. The same thing happened in big cities in Indonesia such as in Makassar, some of the buildings built in the colonial period which was influenced by European classical architectural style (Sumalyo, 2002).

Figure 5: Classical column of Javasche Bank Building in Medan, Indonesia

3.4 Ornaments of Javasche Bank Building

Some classical ornaments are seen in the building but it is not like classical ornaments in classic buildings of its time. This ornament only serves to decorate the building in order to look similar to the classical building. This shows that the influence of eclecticism contains within the building and shows that the use of ornament is only to give the classical image of the building (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Ornaments of Javasche Bank Building in Medan, Indonesia

3.5 Function of Javasche Bank Building

The building is intended for offices with bank functions which has two (2) floors with the main entrance at the front of the building. As the building at the beginning of the modernization, the building is already referred to the “form follows function”, but the term has become popular at the time of functionalism developed in Europe. Then the form of the existing building by function made to be efficient and effective. This shows that the building has a strong influence of modernization (Figure 7.)

Figure 7: The Function of Javasche Bank Building in Medan, Indonesia

The analysis which has been done shows that the Javasche Bank Building/ National Bank shows that the influence of eclecticism present in the image of the building, while the function of the building contains in spatial function. Because of it, it can be said that the influence of modernization contains in the Javaschebank building.

4. Conclusion

Javasche Bank building, its harmonious shapes and appearance with classical elements indicate that the building has a strong influence on its image eclecticism. At the time of eclecticism developed along with the beginning of modernization in Europe. This eclectic influence is clearly visible on the object of research, especially the use of classical columns and ornaments that refer to European classical columns. Functionalism movement in Europe also affected the Indonesia brought by the Dutch architect, for the building also had functionalism influence which is reflected in form and spatial function. It can be concluded that the effect of the development of architecture in the world significantly enriches the development of architecture in the city of Medan.

5. Suggestions

While the suggestions in this study is a strong modernization influence on the development of architecture is interesting to be further investigated, there is some influence on the modernization such as the International Style can reach its influence to the building that developed at that time in the city of Medan. Therefore, this research could be continued during the late modern or postmodern so that mastery of knowledge in the fields of History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture can continue to grow in the future.


Authors say thanks to those who helped this research, especially to DIKTI that provide opportunities and support. The author is also grateful for the support of students of Department of Architecture USU.


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