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The Journey of Rudy Kelana, Wahana Architects

Annisa Fitria · September 12th, 2021
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Starting his career in 1992

Rudy Kelana started his career after graduating in 1992 from Tarumanegara University and sought his experience in a design office in West Jakarta. "I chose the office because of simple office buildings while often organizing display projects," he said. Two years later, He started creating a simple office on a small scale with one drafter who helped him with a focus on combining design and build parts.

Change the focus on design and studio

Combining design and build provided two focuses for him, in 1997-1998 he created two distinct divisions. Some partners helped arrange the contractor's scope, and he focused on design and consultants. However, this still led him to intervene to oversee the construction part, from taking care of workers to materials. Experience knows many things ranging from unexpected delays and costs to be able to appreciate the performance of a craftmanship who builds neatly. This influences him to appreciate them and thinks that his idea will not work without the role of all of them. And in 2005, he focused on the design and studio that is growing until this day.

Reasons to choose to focus on design and studio

Design and build are two different things and cannot be combined, although he claims to enjoy both. "I like to hang out with the craftsmanship after work hours, around 5-6 pm while eating meatballs and laughing, but on the other side I have to innovate as well," he said. When in the contractor's scope, he divides workers into various divisions according to the specialization of the worker, for him, the worker must be specialized. "Being a consultant and being a contractor is very different. Consultants prioritize flexibility and contractors prioritize planned calculations. If combined both I believe the results will not be good, I decided to be separated," he added.


batik house dempo, photography fernando gomulya

Transformation of Wahana Architect's architectural model

According to him, the character of the architecture is personal, "I like a firm work, for example, want a massive building, just be massive, if you want to be random, just be random at all", he explained. He remembers very well the early time he designed was called 'brutal' because of his penchant for crashing into other designs, and more exploratory. During the transformation, he liked to see Japanese architectural works such as Tadao Ando with a clear box building character and not much material, then Kengo Kuma because the nature of the building looks very light. Although the flow is different, He is happy with both because their work is very fun to enjoy. For him, as an architect, certainly can not stop passion and exploration. With the vision in Wahana Architect with the team, he sought to create a synergy between a trusted vision and an exploration that should not stop.

Countries that influence Rudy Kelana's way of thinking

He personally chose Japan. When looking at architecture in Japan, he saw that architecture is awakened from a poem and drama, how architecture is also formed from a game of emotion. In addition to Japan, He found his penchant for small alleyways in Milan and Florence, seeing it as inspiration from where they grew up "There was an element of surprise in that alley area to bring together ideas with interesting processes", he added. Besides Japan and Europe, he also saw Indonesia as an interesting inspiration such as an organic roof with a tilted nature, for him, when believing in every place there is wealth stored, we can immediately get inspiration and learn architecture.

Perfectionism and detail

Rudy Kelana assumes that the design process is cliché so that the design is work, one expression of the work is awakened from a concept and emotions then lead to detail, all of it flows intact because of the desire of a good work until finally all is finished.

Architecture in Indonesia nowadays

He saw such a great development that it is difficult to predict how the architecture is because there is a very powerful role of devices (hardware and software), so it does not rule out this activity will be replaced by Artificial Intelligent in the future. "Therefore I always remind the team to translate and explore in architecture, but there is one thing that cannot be changed in architecture is the matter of emotions, I think nothing can replace emotions with machines," he said. He and his team focused on bringing emotions into the design, architecture is shaped from emotions and architecture can also influence human emotions.


PS-26 Office, photography by fernando gomulya


The People · Architects ·