Tirta Dharma Weaving House

Sintang, West Kalimantan, 2009

April 2008

Final 3D model of Tirta Dharma Weaving House


June 2008

Two of the main issue in Kalimantan are illegal logging and deforestation. To that concern, the high quality woods are now part of the preserved rainforest. It is almost impossible to get the woods strong and big enough as the main structures of the building. Therefore it is decided to use concrete as the main structure for this building. Woods are still used massively in this building "only" for the finishing materials. Local craftmen worked according to their skills to complete the Tirta Dharma Weaving House.


Some revision were made during our site visit on June 2008. More openings were made for the main common area in the second floor to allow better view to the surrounding forest, as well as better ventilation for the space.

October 2008

Four months later the building is finished. Here are some details in the stairs area.


By the end of 2008, the Tirta Dharma Weaving House has been intensely used by the people. A lot of events and activities took place in the building. Starting from children fashion show to weaving competition, from group discussion as well as some cultural workshops, the Tirta Dharma Weaving house is now an integrated part and an activity generator for the Dayak people. While there was a previous intention of having a "more modern" building - with more modern finishing such as ceramic tiles and paints, now the Dayak says that they "feel at home" while doing their activities in this weaving house. The wood floors and walls give them a familiar sense of space.



Tirta Dharma Weaving House

Jl. Kelam No. 8, Sintang - www.tenunikatsintang.com
Project Architect : Varani Kosasih, Reginald Agussalim, Nicole Herlina

It took 8 to 10 hours trip by car to reach Sintang, a city in which this project is located. This facility is owned by Yayasan Kobus; a foundation initiated by a Dutch missionary : Father Jacques Maessen, who has been living within the Dayak community for 40 years. Father Jacques Maessen founded the Yayasan Kobus, whose mission is to promote better quality of life for the Dayak, through the development of their culture - especially their traditional weaving. Although the Dayak people often considered as illiterate, he found out that they actually have a valuable culture, and through weaving (through their patterns and the stories behind) the Dayak has a unique way of communication from one to another.


It is through Monica Ginting, an activist who first brought us to meet Father Jac and Mrs. Lisa Tirto Utomo to join this project. At first, there was an implicit aspiration from the owner to have a "modern building" ( which is also one of the main reason of choosing an architect from Jakarta). However, through the dialoque during the early design phase, all were convinced that looking back to our roots, to the local wisdom is the best way to have a proper design of this facility : a "weaving house" which will house a huge range of activities : as a museum and exhibition center, as a workshop and training center, as well as an administration office for the buying and selling activities.

We started to develop our first scheme of a "weaving house", which inspired by the Borneo longhouse. Few months later, we got the chance to visit Sintang and Ensaid Panjang, a village in which their people still living in a long house. Our first impression was not as great as our expectations (we were imagining a 3 to 4 meters posts supporting a longhouse in the middle of a rainforest). But through that short visit, we were given a brief picture of a long house : the do and the donts, the culture and the philosophy behind. Most of all we were impressed of how the people live, how they interact, especially in their long-shaped common area. 

On our final design, we provide a similar space as a multifuction and main interaction space for the people. Few adjustments were made from the original longhouse to meet the need of today's weaving house. One of them is the stairs. Instead of having two small stairs on both end of building, we provide a grand wooden stairs in the center of the facade facing the Borneo rainforest. This stairs could be used during some events, as a performance stage as well as a sitting area for the people looking to the rainforest.



This project is fully supported by Yayasan Tirto Utomo, whose name is used in this facility : Rumah Tenun Tirta Dharma ( Tirta Dharma Weaving House).
For more details about the foundation : http://www.tirtoutomo.org/