Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Toko Oen": Remaining Old Retail Store at Bodjong Street

When somebody takes a walk and passes through the pedestrian in front of "Toko Oen", there is a small signage:"Since 1936" sticks on its glass shop front, This is a self explanation about how old the store was. This was about nine years before the Indonesian's Independence Day.

Currently, the store looks very aged and distracted with the existence of large 'busy' street billboard, street trader's umbrella and slightly concealed behind pedestrian trees. The store's entry is situated at the curved corner-end side that facing to Bodjong Street's T-intersection with a small street. The Roof top signage is directly placed above this entry corner side that slightly facing to the famous 'Old City' Area.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Toko "Naga Mas"; Remaining Old Retail Store at Bodjong Street

The address of the store is self explanatory in an embossed plaster signage text that is still displayed on the existing building facade wall. "Bodjong" was the old name of Pemuda Street before Indonesian Independence Era. Based on this it could be predicted that Toko "Naga Mas" is one of remaining old store at Pemuda Street Semarang.

The building is situated near Toko "Nam Bie" and placed directly at the cross road of Pemuda Street and Gajah Mada-Gendingan Street. The building is a single mass masonry building with a feature box tower. Different with The Pertamina Building (as described in my previous blog article), which is used to place building signage, the feature tower at Toko "Naga Mas" remains as 'blank' box tower.

As also shown and described on the other side of the existing facade signage that facing to north-east side, Toko "Naga Mas" is originally a shoe and bag store. The appearance of the building itself actually is not too big in a matter of size (compare to Toko "Nam Bie"), but visually it looks prominent enough from every point of the cross road area. The existence of an old public mail box in red orange color at the corner-end of the pedestrian, I think elaborates the building's 'vintage' look.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Toko "Nam Bie"; Remaining Old Retail Store at Bodjong Street

There is a simple cuboid shape building with triangular prism shape roofing near the cross road of Pemuda Street and Gajah Mada-Gendingan Street. Currently, Toko Nam Bie is an office stationary store. History notes that Toko Nam Bie was one of the early old retail stores in Bodjong Street, the name of Pemuda Street before the the Independence of Indonesia.

The interesting part of the building is its facade details that featuring a simple rich geometrical patterns on masonry louvers. It simply combined with window trellis details and simple row repetition of horizontal masonry ventilation grilles at the upper floor level. Nowadays, a combination of red, white and yellow colors to the building facade is creating a color contrast that enable this building could be easily recognized both from Pemuda Street and end-corner of Gajah Mada Street, the two main streets in Semarang City.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pacific Motor Company Building; an Old Building in the Center of Bodjong Street

Currently, the building looks as an empty building that remaining stand still in the side of the Pemuda Main Steet Semarang. Total length of Pemuda Street is about 2.3 km that is stretching out from Tugu Muda Area and is ended at Berok Bridge that connecting it to "Old City" Area. This former Pacific Motor Company Building is approximately situated in the center of the street length at about 1.1 km away from Tugu Muda.

The building itself is a single storey building with curved metal deck roofing and an arch shape masonry facade. The using of metal deck seem uncommon in typical tropical architecture detailing. But it might be relevant within the building functions. A vintage photograph taken during Dutch Colonial Era have identified that building originally was one the old shops on Bodjong Road. Facade text signages originally are found on two shop front canopy at both left and right sides of the building. From this old photograph, it was identified that one of the facade text signage at the right side mentioned a word of "Woningbureau"

Nowadays, the building appearance is still elaborate from the street because the building is situated directly in pedestrian side and the neighborhood new high building is properly set back in a distance. The remaining aged and damaged facade is covered by the existence of pedestrian trees. But the appearance of remaining elaborate arch shaped facade at the upper side is still highlight the building existence and featuring it as a building that prominently placed in the center of old Bodjong Street. The name of Pemuda Street during Dutch Colonial Era, an important and famous main street in Semarang City.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pertamina Building; Old City Landmark under the Shadow of New 'City Landmark'

Originally, the building was nicely set-up in the junction point of five different streets, it makes the Pertamina Building with its feature tower appearance always easily recognized in many different view angles. The Pertamina Building is situated at Pemuda Street, an old main city street that originally is named as Bodjong Street.

Actually, the building is 'little brother' of The Pertamina Headquarters Building that is located in Jakarta. The size is smaller but typical facade details and particularly the feature tower where the company facade logo is placed are remain the same. Based on data excerpted from official website of Semarang Government the building is designed and built around 1930's during Dutch Colonial Era. Originally, the building is owned by BPM Shell before it took over by Pertamina, a Government Petroleum Company during Independence Era.

Currently, the building is slightly covers by the existence of new higher and bigger commercial retail building that is placed directly beside. During my youth on 1980's The Pertamina building still appeared in prominent spot of view. By that time, the neighborhood building was a low rise cinema theater, part of the cultural venues of Ngesti Pandowo, a local Javanese group of opera.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kampung Wonosari, a Quarter on the Hill Behind Flower Market

When we pass the steet in front of Kalisari Flower Market, there is glimpse of kampong (quarter) Wonosari that is high elevated behind this traditional flower market. The kampong is separated by a river.There are some bridges in between flower market that enable access from the main street.

The hill where the kampong is situated looks dense and crowded with many of 'zig-zag', up and dwon small passageways through the quarter. There are trees surrounding the hill behind belong to Gunung Brintik at one side and Bergota Cemetery at another side. Bergota is the largest cemetery hill that placed in the middle of the city.
These enclosures generate a kind of green belts that surrounding this urban community place on the small hill in the middle of Semarang City.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Did "Sputnik" Ever Landed in Semarang City?

When we take a walk around Pandanaran Street near Tugu Muda area, about 200 meter from Lawang Sewu we can find a unique small building that its appearance is retained according to its original conditions. Visually, this building is not really obvious from the steet since it is already covered with high pedestrian trees and also surrounded with many of umbrellas belong to steet traders.

But we can easily identify it when we see a unique shape above the trees, a kind of futuristic satellite round shape with its antenna sticks on the nose of a rocket plane. Yes, this is only an artificial and sculptural object that become part of the building facade belong to originally "Apotik Sputnik" building. An old or might be one of the first modern drug store in Semarang City.

Don't be surprise if currently we could not found or even buy a medicine here, because the current owner have changed the function to become a store that sells food and snack for gift. The great thing is the owner still maintain almost all physical detail appearances of the building both the exterior and interior sides. Even the facade signage of "Apotik Sputnik" is still retained as is originated.

Maybe the name of the drug store "Sputnik" is inspired by Soviet Union's space exploration program during 1950-1960. The building itself might be designed and built during same era with Sputnik age, something that have no direct association with medicine matters.

From design point of view, the building details are unique, particularly on the appearance of free curved shape that encloses remaining facade signage that is combined with sculptural model of a rocket plane with Sputnik on its nose. This free curved 'amoeba' shapes are also found on the detail shape of windows, doors and other joineries inside. Most of the original joineries and fixed-furnitures are remained on place in current interior space which are combined with the existing floor tiles in chequer pattern.

Finally, we can answer the question in this blog article head that "Sputnik" actually have never stopping by in Semarang City. But maybe the spirit of space exploration itself was really well-captured.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gunung Brintik, a Green Cruel Hill in the Middle of the City

'Gunung' simply means hill and 'brintik' refers to cruel hair. Gunung Brintik could be freely translated as 'cruel hill', a green small hill near Tugu Muda Monument and Lawang Sewu which are recognized as famous city landmarks in Semarang City.

First time I heard Gunung Brintik name, I thought it was associated with dense vegetation blanket that covered a high steep hill slope which is located near my junior high school's back yard (or it could be an inner courtyard belong to overall school venue). But, it might be also related with old local legend story about this place.

This green and lush side of Gunung Brintik was part of my memories during my youth when I was a junior student. As I remembered about this junior high school, there was a back yard or inner court yard where most of the students were gathered around the place for break-out activities, having certain outdoor sport activities and park their bikes. The yard was only separated with high steel mesh fencing in line with small pedestrian outside.

I think this school's court yard is a memorable place for every student, a relieving place to have break-out underneath an old big tree in the middle of the place under the shadow of small forest's trees belong to Gunung Brintik as a background.

From Tugu Muda Monument point of views, possibly Gunung Brintik is the nearest, the greenest and the highest spot in the city. Some old big kapok trees look strongly visible and becomes a kind of green feature among the vegetation blanket that covers the hill that hide the kampong existence with dense community on the other side of the hill behind.