2 Indonesian homes use innovation to fight toxic air pollution

Written by JD Espey, CNN • Updated 23rd March 2019

Developers are building more net zero homes as environmental concerns continue to grow.

Belgian firm New Generation Architecture and Indonesian company Dasfaru Architecture both held competitions in Indonesia this year to design community-centered projects. New Generation’s primary interest is in finding new solutions to housing and urban sprawl. Dasfaru’s project aims to create sustainable and low-emission housing for people throughout Indonesia.

Dasfaru Architecture designed a new housing complex in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Credit: Dasfaru Architecture

New Generation launched its “Model Village Competition” in November, inviting architects and land developers in Indonesia to develop solutions for residents that could reduce the carbon footprint of the country’s expanding urban area. The competition, which is the third in New Generation’s Model Village series, was aimed at encouraging “future leaders, collaborating researchers and designers” to create solutions.

“Our goal for 2019 is to focus on setting up a win-win solution by emphasizing on community-focused designs that will play an active role in the lives of the Indonesian people,” Tobias Winter, founder of New Generation, said in a statement at the time.

“The competition we created this year seeks to find solutions that can help create a completely different way of living in densely populated cities.”

New Generation Architecture

“After closing yesterday, we all came together and agreed that the winning entry is an active, natural, rather than territorial, approach.” Winter told CNN. “Since the beginning of our work here, we’ve been interested in tackling the issue of sprawl, with ideas that tend to be three-dimensional rather than geographical.

“If you’re going to build two houses, why can’t we find solutions that allow people to live in two houses and still feel one house as if you were in one?”

Toby Staudacher, who is a co-founder of New Generation Architecture, is pictured with the competition entries by New Generation and KDIGI, Indonesia. Credit: Terence Bean

A win for New Generation

At one end of the competition, KDIGI — an innovative real estate developer — developed the game-changing “Balongwema Community House,” which aims to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 96%. The house, which won the competition, has a zero-carbon footprint through its solar power system, energy efficient designs and thermal insulation.

“The biggest problem we have in our country is in our cities and in houses, which are served by erratic supplies of natural resources,” said JRyoadi, the head of KDIGI’s planning and architectural department. “We want to find new solutions, like Kobuk Pilganeri Community House, which they describe as having the two forms of community — the peaceful, secure and comfortable outside that you have with an open, wonderful inside, where you can have information.

“Just like a park,” JRyoadi continued. “We just want to make Indonesia a more supportive, society where people work as one, and play as one.”

Indonesian designers are turning their attention to low-impact housing, with competition winners named in a contest called ‘Balongwema Community House’. Credit: Byes Development Agency

The greenhouse-like building houses 34 residents and runs on solar power. The interior uses excess sunlight to set up windows, which can be used by the residents for lighting or even to open. The building’s main structure is also able to filter rainfall by piping it through concrete walls to the ground, preserving water.

“We never intended for the house to be exclusively communal,” JRyoadi said. “But if we find a way to make it the best shared community building for all families that we possibly can, that will be wonderful.”

Toby Staudacher, the partner in charge of the competition, told CNN the winner of the competition was KDIGI’s Balongwema Community House. Credit: Terence Bean

Indonesia is currently rated as the world’s third-worst country for air pollution , according to a 2018 report by World Health Organization. The agency warned that air pollution was causing thousands of deaths in the Southeast Asian country every year, and that poor-quality public transport contributed to more than 90% of deaths caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution.

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