‘Indische’ buildings left to rot in Bogor
Theresia Sufa , The Jakarta Post , Bogor | Mon, 07/14/2008 10:08 AM | City
Many of Bogor’s historic indische buildings, displaying a mixed Dutch-Indonesian architectural style, are falling into disrepair and have been turned into shops and restaurants, or rented out.
High property taxes and the local administration’s lack of interest in preserving the buildings is to blame, say owners.
“I paid Rp 5 million (US$532) every year in tax and maintenance, so I finally rented out the house as a cafe,” said Rudy Ahmad Tryanto, an indische house owner.
Hendrata Suhandi, whose family owns the Pasar Baroe Hotel, says 20 rooms, badly in need of repairs, have been turned into storage rooms.
“My parents don’t have enough money for the hotel’s upkeep. We want to sell it, but no one wants to buy it yet,” he said.
Indische buildings are easily recognizable by their steep roofs, natural stone walls and high wide windows and doors.
About 664 indische buildings remain in Bogor, most of them private residences, military bases and research centers.
The buildings are peppered around the Bogor Botanical Garden, in Taman Kencana, Sempur, Ciwaringin, Jl. A. Yani, Jl. Padjajaran and Suryakencana.
Felicia student dormitory at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) is another dilapidated indische building.
“Sixteen students stay in this dormitory, and the building’s maintenance depends on their contribution,” said Fatwa Adi Kusuma, a student who lived at the dormitory for 18 months.
He said IPB had delegated the building’s maintenance, including mowing the lawn, to students.
Rachmat Iskandar, a noted culture and architecture observer, said the lack of attention and vision on the part of the municipality was exacerbating the damage done to these heritage buildings by allowing them to be used as commercial establishments.
“These municipal officials have no respect for history and architecture,” he said.
The “ignorant officials”, Rachmat said, were the ones responsible for issuing commercial licenses to turn the buildings into shops and restaurants.
Yayat Supriatna, an urban planner at Trisakti University, said tax incentives could encourage owners to preserve the buildings.
“The administration can also turn some of the buildings into tourism sites to help cover the maintenance cost of each heritage building,” he said.
Nur Hadiaty, head of the Bogor Cultural Agency, said some of the buildings had been registered as heritage sites in a bid to preserve them. Registered buildings are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes.
“We will carry out research to determine the historical value of each building,” he said.
Maintenance of these old buildings is complicated and expensive.
In early 2008, 22 indische buildings were certified by the Culture and Tourism Ministry as having significant historical value. Among them were Papandayan state elementary school, IPB’s agricultural research center and the official residence of the Bogor mayor.