A Story of a Java Railway Station Architecture in the Colonial Age

Harmilyanti SULISTYANI
(Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Graduate School of Humanities, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Keywords: railway architecture, a biographical approach, 3D-methods, heritage

The presence of the Dutch as a colonial power on Java introduces railway system and its architecture for a Javanese in the middle of 19th century. The railways were a part of a colonial system, which facilitated the exploitation of natural resources of the island. It is an instrument of the colonizing power, which generated an economic space. The Java railway stations were a material culture in an urban setting, which formed as a tool and result of the state formation in Dutch colonial age.
This research started with scrutinizes an image as an artifact that is a photograph. Although it is a two-dimensional, however, an image in the photograph can give framing information that text cannot support. The visual evidence was used to identify the typology and morphology architecture. A series railways station presented from a synchronic and diachronic perspective related to its establishment. The history behind the station development will be reconstructed by departing from its architectural appearance using information from a photograph which transformed into a 3D model and walkthrough animation. This new role technology will provide a simulation of the station realistic condition since it was built 150 years ago until now. A complete visual information of the building since it was developed, used and a present condition can take a look through a virtual animation. In the next phase, the architectural context of the selection will be explained by studying the forming of the railway companies, railway constitution, and concession negotiations between the colonial government, private company and local rulers.
The general aim of the research is to provide a thorough understanding of the lifecycle of the railway station on Java, which showed the process of technology transfer in architecture that involved the transformation of culture. A reconstruction story through a biographical approach can help establish both the intellectual framework and the visual background for the repair and/or transformation of old stations that are conceived as cultural heritage.

Relevance conference / Relevance session:
The corpus of the research is a chronological catalogue of the railway stations in Java, which in terms of heritage it will become a data to conserve the old ones.



The biographical approach can help to explain the circulation of things and to see how one object related to another.


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  2. Revesteijn, Wim and Kop, Jan, For Profit and Prosperity: The Contribution made by Dutch Engineers to Public Works in Indonesia (1800-2000), Zaltbommel (Aprilis) 2008