Airmas Asri Converts a Century-Year-Old Factory into a Multifunctional Heritage Destination
The strong historical background makes PG Colomadu (Colomadu Sugar Cane Mill) plants in Karanganyar, Central Java, a cultural heritage. After stopping operation for about two decades, the plant was abandoned, and the building was degraded since there were no industrial activities. This prompted Kementrian BUMN (the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises) to revitalize the building by rebranding it to be “De Tjolomadoe”.
After being revitalized and rebranded, De Tjolomadoe is now a heritage tourism destination as a cultural centre and a commercial area. De Tjolomadoe is expected to be a new tourist destination in Central Java which will increase the economic productivity of Karanganyar area, as well as developing the arts, heritage, and tourism aspects of the region.
Cultural Heritage Degradation
PG Colomadu was established in 1861 during the era of Sultan Mangkunegara IV. In 1998, PTPN-IX as the manager closed the mill and left the non-functioning building. The plant, which is more than 100 years old, is considered to have a vital function when it was still operating. Accounting for its history, it is not surprising that PG Colomadu becomes one of the most important cultural heritage buildings in Karanganyar, Central Java.
After the mill stopped operating, PG Colomadu plant experienced degradation due to the abandonment. Shrubs and bushes grew and filled the entire factory. Most of the floor was cracked and broken, while the zinc roofs were perforated and partially detached from the steel frame. The brick walls, made of limestone, were found peeled and cracked.
Preserving Buildings Through Revitalization
Referring to the Law of the Republic of Indonesia No. 11 of 2010 concerning cultural heritage, it is stated that cultural heritage is the nation's cultural wealth as an expression of thoughts and way of life, that has significance in understanding and developing history, science, and culture in society. Therefore, cultural heritage should be preserved.
Revitalization is one form of preservation of cultural heritage buildings with efforts to revive the whole or some of the area that was once vital, but later experienced degradation. The purpose of revitalization is to regrow the important values of cultural heritage through new adjustments that do not conflict with the principle of preservation and cultural values of the community.
In 2017, Kementrian BUMN made a decision to revive PG Colomadu by appointing several companies and its subsidiaries to form a joint venture (named PT Sinergi Colomadu) to carry out the revitalization. PT Sinergi Colomadu collaborated with PT Airmas Asri (an architectural consultant) to design the tourism area. The revitalization was done by giving a new function, which is a heritage tourism destination, and rebranding PG Colomadu as De Tjolomadoe. This method is done by creating a space that can be re-functioned, preserving the vital areas, and adding parts that do not interfere with the existing building so that it adjusts to its new function.
Heritage Tourism Destination Design
PT Airmas Asri made the design plans according to ‘the highest and the best use studies’ from the feasibility research. Based on the results, De Tjolomadoe is functioned as a heritage tourism destination, a cultural centre, and a commercial area that follows the description of a cultural heritage building.
De Tjolomadoe revitalization maintains the design of the iconic building façade, as well as its architecture which combines heritage and modern elements with an industrial-finished blend of interior design. De Tjolomadoe also maintains the existing form of the PG Colomadu building, but adding transfer beams to strengthen the structure.
International Standard Facilities
The new spatial layouts aim for the new functions follow the existing floor plan when the mill was still functioning. The naming of area also follows the original name of the room when it was still operating: Stasiun Gilingan (the milling station) as the museum area, Stasiun Penguapan (the evaporation station) and Stasiun Ketelan (the boiling station) as the commercial areas, and Besali Station which is now the Besali Café. In addition, Stasiun Masakan (the cuisine station) becomes the Tjolomadoe Hall and the Sarkara Hall, while Stasiun Karbonatasi (the carbonation station) becomes the area of the De Tjolomadoe Museum. The existing machines, which were left behind at the mill, are retained and coated with special paint to prevent rust because those are part of the architectural and interior elements of the building itself.
De Tjolomadoe has international standard of meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) facilities. These facilities including: Tjolomadoe Concert Hall, Sarkara Multifunction Hall, Besali Café, eastern outdoor parking area, and De Tjolomadoe Outdoor Amphitheater. The MICE venue has a parking area with a capacity of hundreds of cars, an artist's room, a VIP room, a pre-function area, a sound system, and lighting.
With its facilities and functions as a cultural centre and a commercial area, De Tjolomadoe is expected to be a new tourist destination in Central Java as well as increasing the economic productivity of the Karanganyar area, while developing the aspects of art, heritage, and tourism in Solo Raya.
The original article is published in Construction+ Indonesia online