Constrained by scarcity of space and finance, an informal community in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, managed to get what they needed most; a space for gathering. The new community center is made out of local black bamboo nesting over drainage, facing Winongo River. The structure was built by community volunteers after an initiative of the local savings group. Being part of a city-wide community network, the process and result exemplify bottom-up approach, inclusiveness, and participation in urban development.
For the people of Kampung Pakuncen regular meeting is a basic need. The community exists for three decades but today, as population increases, houses were too small to host meetings. Meetings were hardly effective because of many members were excluded, thus risk to degrade social cohesion.
Prior to the project implementation, some of community women joined Kalijawi collective, a city-wide network consists of 31 riverside communities in Yogyakarta. They expressed their willing to have a new community center, then Kalijawi suggested to start a savings group. Soon, the architects of Arkomjogja, an architectural not-for-profit who partnered with Kaijawi, came to work with the community.
Everyday, the savings member family would spare 7.6 cent Euro for the project. Within four months they have raised enough money to kick-start the project. It took less than two months for construction. At the end, the new community center costs around 1.600 euro where a share of one-fourth is paid through a community loan from Kalijawi. The work is associated with the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) program of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR).
Bamboo is a versatile plant within the family of grass that is familiar to many cultures of the Americas, the Pacifics, Africa, and Asia. Traditionally, bamboo is cultured for food, to make household tools, baskets, houses, bridges, etc. Unlike trees, harvesting bamboo culms does not kill the plant. Conversely, regular harvesting improves the vitality and productivity of the bamboo clump. For its uniqueness and sustainability bamboo is dubbed as material for the future.
Experienced in working with community, the architects of Arkomjogja suggest the use of local black bamboo (Gigantochloa atroviolacea) for the project. The joinery system with steel bolt and mortar infills on primary floor joints was rather new for the volunteers at Kampung Pakuncen. However, as confidence was gained through participations of the architects during construction. Through this rather democratic and more equal architecture, everyone learn something new about bamboo construction. This is including community women who helped to insert sand-cement mortar into the bamboo joints. The borax-treated bamboo, through community deal, gained from Bambubos with discounted price.
Located in the centre of Java island, Yogyakarta has hot-humid climate with temperature range between 22-30 throughout the year. Rainfall is rather high posing risks of water surge to structures near streams. This is anticipated on the community center design with generous overhangs and high clearance from drainage floor.