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This blog is related with my previous topic. Here, I would like to review the particular of the temporary shelter (t-shelter) unit for the refugee. 


The house buildings are temporary shelters established by the local government to provide peace and comfort to the residents while waiting for the completion of the continuing process of reconstruction program and settlement relocation. The design of Gondang shelter had been developed and completed by my team, AI-CTLA Studio, based on the study of settlements and rural areas house architecture in the volcanic foot area of Merapi. The Governor has approved the concepts, preliminary design, and the mock-up models of shelter design proposed by Universitas Gadjah Mada that assisted by AI-CTLA Studio as the manual for the construction of huntara.


Housing cluster unit, photo property by A. Isrefidianto (AI-CTLA Studio, 2010)

To provide temporary shelter for the refugee, the government had released the original basic module of t-shelter in size of 6×6 m2, to accommodate a family (parents and two children). The construction made by bamboo and is expecting to occupy for two years durability. Meanwhile, the team was facing some challenges according to the factual facts. First of all, the limited time to build that much houses less than three months should be meet up with the efficient structure. Secondly, the strict inexpensive budged that allowed by the government, and it means it should be fit with the size and materials components. Third, the specific identity and character that suitable with the local wisdom also properly for living indeed.


The shelter unit “Huntara”, photo property by A. Isrefidianto (AI-CTLA Studio, 2010)

In brief, the developed design by combining two original 6×6 m2 modules was resulting from a new coupling model module with a size of 12X6 m2, which is each unit occupying an area of 16X8m2. The materials constructions consisted of bamboo, zinc-callum roof, concrete brick for bathroom and kitchen area, and cement plastered floor. This bamboo house configuration is a living room, family room, two bedrooms, kitchen and toilet. The roof forms could recognize as a specific identity, that adopted from the Javanese architecture type of houses in rural areas called kampong.


Detail design of “Huntara”, graphics property by AI-CTLA Studio, 2010

Gradually, displaced residents occupied these shelters. They looked calm and comfortable with the arrangement and location of the houses which are close and facing each other. The resident’s creativity thought to appear in their ways to do some finishing touches and equip the homes following their needs and desires. The development and the addition of houses components show how the villagers suit their needs of comfort and pleasure to stay in the shelter. However, it is not changing and destroying the original character and uniquely of bamboo housing. In this phase, the housing placemaking were worked as well. 


Modification doors by dweller , without changing the character. (left: original bamboo, right: wood panel doors), photo property by A. Isrefidianto (AI-CTLA Studio, 2010)

In year-ago, surprisingly, I found a couple of senior citizens still occupies one original t-shelter. All structure even in placed initially, but unfortunately, the materials such as bamboo wall and zinc callum roof were obsolete during the period. Besides, the t-shelter are still stand up for almost ten years, and it was out of expectation. The dweller only has one statement that they are comfortable to live there, even though their son had built a correctly and warm house.    


Family living in Huntara over 10 years, photo property by A. Isrefidianto (AI-CTLA Studio, 2019)

The community centre for the residents in all of Gondang villages, which is a public facility, such as nursery, mosque, village hall, clinic, and small market, also reflects the transformation of bamboo architecture characteristics from traditional to contemporary by considering technology and local wisdom. In the end, the three sites now had been changed. Gondang 1 now reverse back into sengon forest as initially. The Gondang 2 and 3 now in half transform into the permanent houses in the t-shelter position.


Public bamboo mosque (right: mosque main structure), photo property by A. Isrefidianto (AI-CTLA Studio, 2010)


Building for Life 12. (2018). [pdf] Available at: [Accessed 26 February 2020].

Akmal, I (2011) Indonesian Architecture Week @ Tokyo 2011. Jakarta: Imaji Publisher.


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