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The ambitious US$ 33 billion project in Indonesia ($ 44 billion) to build a new capital in Borneo is confronted with a wave of criticism, following the initial design of a new State Palace, which reveals that it is surrounded by the wings of a giant Garuda statue, the national landmark of the mythological bird.

Reveal Indonesia's
Image Source: South China Morning Post

In a now-suppressed Instagram post last week, the design of Nyoman Nuarta, Indonesia’s top sculptor, was shown by Minister Suharso Monoarfa for National Development. It depicted a palatial complex that apparently has a large Garuda overlooking several fountains of water.The national emblem – a Garuda scroll which says “unity in diversity” – inspired the design immediately, according to Nyoman. Nyoman. The nine-storey building is on 4 hectares of land, and the presidential offices and secretaries and staff are located within a 76-metre-high bird building – a height chosen to mark Indonesia’s 76th year of independence, as it is planned for this year’s path to the building.

The wing range of the Garuda is 200 meters long, with 17 feathers in the wings, eight feathers in the quee, 19 at the base and 45 in the neck – representing the day of the independence of the country, 17 Aug 1945. A 10 ha outdoor recreational area will also be available including a jogging trail, a footpath and other public facilities.

Nyoman said he had been given 12 days to develop the idea and design before he came out in a design competition held by the Minister of Public Works and Public Housing against four other participants.However, the design did not fly with internet users because there followed rapidly memory and hilarity.

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Reveal Indonesia's
Image Source: South China Morning Post

One of Twitter’s user said, “It looks campy.” “There is no more I understand. It’s a state palace, you don’t have to make it strange.”

One of Jakarta’s leading dance music festival, DWP, was like design, while another user of the social media platform pointed out that the bird has been substituted by Pokemon and Marvel, the Falcon character.Another user said that the design of the church in Magelang, Central Java had been similar to the so-called Chicken Church.

The design community in Indonesia was also so stunned by the idea that five architects’ groups banded to make it “nerves” the design and that modern architects had abandoned metaphor-based designs.The government’s “hasteful steps” in constructing a new capital, the trendy Nirwono Joga, an urban planning expert at Trisakti University in Jakarta, stressed the lack of effort to establish a new green and technologically-advanced government seat, a concept promised by President Joko Widodo in his 2019 relocalisation plan.

“We still don’t have the new capital bill, which should be used as a reference for all activities related to planning for the new capital,” he said. “We shouldn’t be able to design the new capital yet as we still don’t have the legal foundation [to do so]. To this day I also still have not seen the master plan for the capital, which will determine the defence system, the design of the government centre, or whether we actually need a state palace at all.”

Defence would be the most fundamental thing to consider as the new capital needed to be safe from any kind of land, sea, or air attacks, Nirwono said, as well as cyberattacks.

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Reveal Indonesia's
Image Source: South China Morning Post

“What I regret is that the government suddenly talked about the design for the state palace, and that design doesn’t answer the question of how to make the capital sustainable,” he said. “And with a shape like that, it will be easy for terrorists to attack it as it really sticks out.President Widodo tried on Friday to allay public concern by posting on social media a video of Nyoman’s design, saying design is still on the job and welcoming architectural, artistic and public comments.

National Development Planning Minister Monoarfa has already said it will be a groundbreaking step this year for the State Palace to be used by 2024, and the state capital is expected to boost Indonesia’s economy by up to 2.2% on a long-term basis this year.
However, concerns remain as to whether Indonesia has the resources to start the project this year since the economy has still to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic recession.

Reveal Indonesia's
Image Source: South China Morning Post

National Development Planning Minister Monoarfa has already said it will be a groundbreaking step this year for the State Palace to be used by 2024, and the state capital is expected to boost Indonesia’s economy by up to 2.2% on a long-term basis this year.
However, concerns remain as to whether Indonesia has the resources to start the project this year since the economy has still to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic recession.
“What is the urgency to build a new capital now, when the pandemic is still ongoing and the economy hasn’t recovered yet?” Nirwono said. “The government needs to explain this so people can assess whether this new capital project will be beneficial for them or not.”
Source: South China Morning Post

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