Adaptive Reuse and Interventions of Chinese Architectural Heritage in the City of Lasem, Indonesia

Timoticin Kwanda (1)
(1) Department of Architecture, Petra Christian University, Indonesia


In Indonesia, Lasem identities as a China Town are constructed and developed over time, and Chinese architectural heritage is one of the main qualities and identity of the city. Recently, these unique Chinese architectural heritages have been transformed for tourism needs. This paper aims to document the transformation of functions or adaptive reuse, and its impact on forms and meanings of the Chinese architectural heritage of the city, and focuses on whether the interventions that occurred were by the principles of architectural conservation. In April 2019, the study surveyed and documented five Chinese historic buildings in Karangturi area in Lasem to understand how the architectural heritage has transformed. The result shows that tourism has a direct influence on changes in the building functions in Lasem, such as the Oei House and Little China that have changed from residences to homestays to accommodate the needs of tourists' lodgings. The other two buildings, namely House of Nyah Giok and Nyah Lasem museum have also changed their functions from residences to a batik home industry and a museum related to tourism attractions. Interventions on the four buildings with sensitive uses are following the principle of minimum intervention that preserved the original main buildings and changed only in the wings buildings, and new buildings for lodgings were infilled in vacant land of the site for the Oei House case. For one building, however, tourism has no direct influence on changes in the building functions, it has changed from a residence to an Islamic boarding school for the development of Islamic education that had nothing to do with preserving Chinese culture. Indirectly, the building remains a tourist destination because of its unique Chinese architectural features.  Findings show that for the four Chinese owners, the meaning or significance for the adaptation of the building is preserving historic values of the Chinese architecture, and economic values as well by developing commercial spaces and historic areas for tourist attractions.

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Timoticin Kwanda
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Kwanda, T. (2020). Adaptive Reuse and Interventions of Chinese Architectural Heritage in the City of Lasem, Indonesia. Environmental Science & Sustainable Development, 5(1), 68–79.

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