During Indonesia's current technological growth and development, it is seen that Indonesian cities are threatened by global cultural homogenization due to massive capitalist development coupled with the emergence of "new" national integration that may occur sometime in the future. Therefore, the question of national identity for Indonesian architecture is still a moral gravity as opposed to the creative freedoms we enjoy. This question always arises about Indonesian architectural historiography, architecture being a potential contributor to national identity, representing an important phase when architects and architecture use the language of architecture. Although irrelevant to the commissioning of architectural projects, it has become a national obsession shared by other professionals: archaeologists, historians, writers, poets, and artists. To do that, there have been several attempts by individuals and groups to identify, investigate, and document Indonesia's architectural heritage.
Judging from history, Indonesian architecture developed following the growth path of its society. This development is proof of the strength and sophistication of the society at that time. The initial phase began with the growth of traditional communities that utilize natural materials to create buildings that function as central places for networks of customs, social relations, customary laws, taboos, myths, and religious practices that unite villagers. Traditional houses have significance because they are the main focal point for families and the wider community and the starting point of various activities carried out by their residents.
Sumba traditional house, Source by Wikimedia Commons
In its development, new beliefs adopted by the community became the starting point for architectural development in the second phase around the 8th to 16th centuries; in this case, the influence of beliefs was very strong in architectural development. This can be seen by the existence of buildings that functioned as places of worship and, at the same time, as residences for kings or leaders. In this phase, architecture is also developed, influenced by the mixing of two or more cultures to achieve new forms, functions, and meanings in designing a building.
Prambanan Complex, Source by Wikipedia
The next phase is the influence of foreigners in architecture development; in recorded history, Indonesia is a strategic area rich in natural potential. This was the beginning of the development of Indonesian architecture with strong modern influences. This phase is a phase of colonialism, with strong foreign influences and controlling various sectors of society, making the development of Indonesian architecture more advanced. With European influences adapted to Indonesian conditions, the shape of the building in this phase is very different from previous phases, such as the early time in 18th century, the Indies style emerged as one of the first colonial architectural styles to combine Indonesian elements with European decoration.
Vastenburg Fort, Source by Borobudur Authority Agency
This progressed, and in the 1920s-1930s, these European architects working in the Dutch East Indies began experimenting with ways to express a new "national" identity. In an attempt to cultivate novelty amidst a global clash between the modernity of a new progressive Europe and the seemingly dormant splendor of the old "East." The phase of colonialism is very long, with the dynamics that occur change after change in architectural design, making "Indonesian Architecture" increasingly biased. However, the issue of national identity resurfaced and intertwined with other narratives. During the mid-20th century, architecture slowly became the face of choice of world politics. Emerging nations demanded a variety of architectural attributes to complement their social and cultural cohesion to exist in the new world political order. This period was the next phase of Indonesian architectural development, namely the post-independence phase.
As a newly declared independent nation, Indonesia is constantly beset by the threat of national disintegration. Therefore, As the first president, Sukarno sparked his campaign on "nation-building" to address the "alarming diversity" in Indonesia. This is evidenced by the massive development carried out in the 1950s-1960s which began with several large infrastructure projects, including the construction of various architectural monuments, especially in Jakarta. In addition, the demolition of certain colonial heritage sites encouraged the construction of modern buildings.
Monas, Source by Jakarta-Tourism
And now, a new phase of Indonesian architecture with technological sophistication and thinking is very influential in Indonesian architectural design today. This development is also expected to be one of the monumental phases with extraordinary progress. Sustainability, environmentally friendly, and human-oriented must be a growing thing today, but it must still have a historical color as a respect for diversity as it was done in the past.