SHAU is an award-winning architectural and urban design practice, founded by the architect couple Daliana Suryawinata (ID) - Florian Heinzelmann (DE) and Tobias Hofmann (DE) operating in the Netherlands, Germany, and later in Indonesia. Daliana is listed as one of 100 Women to Watch in Architecture by Architizer and Florian is Associate Professor in Practice at the National University of Singapore, Department of Architecture. FuturArc magazine named SHAU the Eco-Modernists of their time due to their performance-driven environmental and societal design agenda. Their work earned them, among others, an ArchDaily Building of the Year 2021 Award in the Public & Landscape category, three Architizer A+ Awards 2017 & 2020, a shortlist for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2019, an INDE Award 2018 in the Influencer category, a LafargeHolcim Silver Award Asia-Pacific in 2017, a World Architecture Festival X Award in 2017 and Firm of the Year Award ‘Small Firm of the Year in Sustainable Architecture’ by American Architecture Prize in 2017. SHAU is best known for their Microlibraries which merge tropical architecture, community interests, passive climatic design strategies, material experimentation into novel multi-programmatic typologies. So far, they could realize six Microlibraries and currently new ones are in the making for instance the development of a low-cost, prefabricated, modular FSC certified timber system to be deployed all over Indonesia. They further realized several public space projects like Taman Film (Film Park) under a flyover in Bandung, Alun-alun Cicendo in Bandung, and Alun-alun Kejaksan in Cirebon, both town squares. SHAU also designs public, affordable housing projects most notably at Muara Angke, a fishermen village at the bay of Jakarta commissioned by back then governor of Jakarta and current president of Indonesia Joko Widodo.
Microlibraries presents a series of small, multi-programmatic libraries that respond to the issue of low reading interest in Indonesia. The aim is to reach kampung, meaning village, settlements in both urban and rural areas where less affluent people live and access to education is limited.
Aligned with different partners and funding models, the design and implementation approaches vary for each microlibrary, but the underlying approach is similar. First, the location should already be in use by a local community. Second, enhancing the usability of a place by adding value is important. Third, the activation and events are paramount.
The libraries use minimal energy while creating a comfortable environment for visitors. Passive climate strategies employed include external shading, rain protection, cross ventilation for controlling humidity, and natural daylighting. Through carefully selected materials, issues of sustainability are addressed and introduced to a wider public: In West Java, a brise-soleil façade is composed of 2,000 recycled ice-cream buckets and in Central Java, the waffle-like Zollinger façade is constructed of FSC-certified timber.
This project deals in the identity and recognizability of its structures. So far, structures that are individually designed have become small-scale neighborhood icons. SHAU is exploring another design approach for future structures with standardization and modularity in mind in order to reach remote locations and favor affordability. The components of this project can be transported as a flat pack and assembled on site with the possibility of customization.
Eventually, the scalability and expandability of this initiative can be imagined not only for an Indonesian context but also the Global South, where similar situations are shared.