Selected Entries 2018

Biophilic Manggarai Station

Febry Kusuma
Universitas Indonesia | Java

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is a megapolitan city that has a population of about 10.4 million people according to a survey conducted in 2017. The number of population is not balanced with the facilities and space available for all levels of comunities to enjoy. Few open spaces, highly density of pollution, lack of housing, and traffic congestions are some of the most frequently raised issues in Jakarta.

          Jakarta is the economic hub of Indonesia and the majority of its population is private employees and civil servants. Their jobs require them to be at work for eight hours on the daily basis from Monday to Friday. With so many people moving around the city at the same time, bad traffic jams frequently occur on most thoroughfares throughout Jakarta during the rush hours. One of the most reliable means of transportation for the people of Jakarta is train – commuter lines connecting Jakarta with its surrounding cities called Jabodetabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi). Train is one of the mass transportation modes that can be enjoyed by all levels of society with fairly cheap tickets ranging from IDR 3,000.00 to IDR 7,000.00.

Unfortunately, the capacity of this mode of transportation is still fairly limited. As a result, packed passengers on the train cannot be avoided during the peak hours. The people who have to arrive at work on time on the daily basis should patiently face the existing conditions. Definitely, when such a condition goes on every day, it could have a negative impact on the people’s psychic and psychology. Vita activa of Jakarta tends to provide the people a severe mental burden such as stress, depression, and burnout syndrome. On the contrary, vita contemplativa emphasizes on a human role in carrying out their spiritual activities such as reflection and meditation.      

          The railway stations in Jakarta could actually be developed into public spaces, in addition to their primary functions as transit places. Although, a railway station could be regarded as a non-place, an area that has no population or dwellers who permanently live there, public spaces deemed important for the people of Jakarta who use this mode of transportation to do their daily routines.

The function of the public spaces and the movement of the people of Jakarta towards the vita contemplativa could be done through a concept called Biophilia. Biophilia discusses the genetic connections of humans to the environments that have gone on for millions of years. According to an article written by Terrapin Bright Green, Biophilia could play a pivotal role in improving the quality of life through decreasing the people’s stress level, cognitive and emotional performance, mood and preferences.

This design will be contextualized at Manggarai railway station. This station is the main transit station in Jakarta that links all the cities of Jabodetabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi). The narrow space available at the station is extremely contrary to the big number of Jakarta residents who use the transit space daily. In addition, the waiting (still) activity at the station is nothing more than just waiting for a train, whereas such an activity could be developed to enhance the role of contemplating.

          Therefore, the role of Biophilia becomes an important foundation in generating the desired space by recreating a close relationship between humans and their environment to provide a better quality of life or well-being. The enhancement of the life quality could be done through the addition of an important role to Manggarai railway station as the main transit venue for the people of Jakarta who travel by a commuter line to do their daily routines in lowering their stress level, improving their cognitive performance, shaping their emotion, mood and preferences in a contemplation while waiting for a train at Manggarai railway station.