Indonesia has a tropical climate that involves daily torrential rains. Even though there is technically two seasons, wet and dry, the country always seems to be in the rainy season. Just as there are two seasons, there is also two “social classes.” The distribution of income is not balanced at all: it ranges from very high to very low with no middle ground. Although one can see skyscrapers and tall buildings in the skylines of Jakarta, the houses that are small (mostly slums) are also vast in quantity. Every rain causes these slums, villages, and little towns to flood. People like me who are privileged enough to live in apartments and nice houses don’t get affected by these floods. However, the houses by the sides of the streets can potentially be buried under water when there is enough rainfall.
Even though I’m not personally affected by this issue, my school’s “service partners” are. Service partners are villages that our school works with during after schools activities. Kids from nearby villages come to our school to participate in various activities that range from learning English to cooking. Whenever it is raining, there is always a community that can’t make it to our school due to flooding in their area.
An article that was written about the biggest flood of 2017 in Jakarta: here.
A video about the annual floods of Jakarta: here.
Here are some of the projects that inspired me in my design. I liked the idea of elevating the houses to avoid water getting into them. Although the concept of the houses “floating up” as the water levels rose was cooler, I don’t think it would have worked in Jakarta since there would be too many of them. The images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
The goal of my project is to remodel the houses that are left under water. Elevating the bottom o these structures could help decrease the number of houses that are affected by the floods. Some additional changes such as using different materials while constructing the houses will be beneficial in securing the ceilings and the walls from the moisture and the water. I would also like the designs to benefit from the natural light as much as possible because I have heard that some of the villages don’t have access to electricity.
In my solution, I wanted to keep the interior design as simple as possible. The focus point of this structure is the fact that it is elevated.
The gallery below showcases the quick study model I made of the design I had in mind. It’s not the neatest, but it gets the idea across. Through research, I have found that concrete endures rain the best. In my design, the walls and the ceiling of the house would be made of concrete. Concrete as a material has a high compressive strength which makes it durable. Even though has a relatively low tensile strength, materials such as steel can be added to it to make it stronger. Additionally, one or two windows will be included in the walls because I want natural light to enter from as many places as possible into the houses. The structure will make use of architectural elements such as light and shadow, boundary and volume, and solid and void.
The gallery below is the improved version of the model above. I have used the program called “SketchUp” to create a digital model of my design. I added functions like stairs and roofing to my previous model, and also annotated the materials of the walls and the roofing. I kept the window big, so natural light can enter the house from each wall. The height of elevation was chosen to be five meters because the height of an average car is 2.5 meters. Usually, the water rises to halfway or all the way up to the ceiling of a car, so a range of 2.5 meters was given for safety precautions.
THE CALL FOR ACTION