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Cultures, Communities and Design

. Infratecture: Exploring the urban and architectural design of small-scale community infrastructure hubs in Central Java
J. Doyle & B. Milbourne
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


This proposal explores the urban and architectural implications of the provision of a network of small-scale decentralised community infrastructure hubs in Central Java, Indonesia. The project has been carried out within the ‘Metro Java 2045’ project (www.metrojava2045.org). It builds upon recent work carried out by the Dynamic Cities Foundation and UTSEUS (Shanghai University) which identifies a series of critical interchange points between the high-volume high-speed intercity road infrastructure, and the small-scale local peri-urban ‘desakota’ landscape of Central Java, between Magelang, Yogyakarta and Surakarta that is unsuited for traditional logistics. Conventional infrastructural solutions to this challenge would be: – large-scale manufacturing and logistics hubs on the periphery of cities. – upgrading of local/rural road networks to accommodate industrialisation and development. These solutions would have a dramatic and negative impact on the existing form of desakota urbanisation in the region. An alternative solution put forward by this research proposes a series of intermodal logistics interchanges located at the identified nodes in the Magelang, Yogyakarta and Surakarta corridors. These interchanges facilitate transition from existing local road networks to intercity highways, providing access to national and international markets for communities within desakota environments serviced by existing small roads, lanes and tracks. This strategy potentially reduces the need for extensive new secondary and tertiary road development, while providing the positive economic benefit of increased market access for existing communities. Separate research teams developed speculative proposals for these individual logistics interchanges at each of the identified nodes. Each team explored how these interchanges could be inserted into the particular built environment conditions of each identified node; the principal programmatic elements, proportions and organisational arrangements for each node; and their formal, materials and construction systems. The ambition of this research is to development a series of architectural prototypes for multi-functional urban ‘hubs’ that support local economic development.



Dr John Doyle is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT University. He is the director of the Master of Architecture program, and a Visiting Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is a practising architect, and partner at Common. He was the co-curator, along Graham Crist and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, of the 2019 Supertight exhibition at the Design Hub in Melbourne, and a contributor to the 2019 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture: Cities Exhibition, the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture/Urbanism and to the 2010 and 2012 Venice Architecture Biennales.

Dr Ben Milbourne is an architect and academic based in Melbourne. He is a Senior Lecturer at RMIT University where he is engaged in research on the application of advanced manufacturing in architecture and the future fabric of Australian cities. Ben is engaged in design pedagogy having led the design course area in RMIT’s Master of Architecture for a number of years and serving as a standing panel member of the Architect’s Accreditation Council of Australia. Ben is a founding partner of Common, an architecture and urban design practice focused on engaging in the common commission of the city through public and private projects. He is an inaugural member of the Design Excellence Advisory Committee for the City of Melbourne and has served as a jury member for the Australian Institute of Architects annual awards, most recently as the jury chair for the Victorian Sustainable Architecture Award. Ben’s work has been widely published and exhibited, including featuring in the virtual Italian Pavilion of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. In recognition of Ben’s contributions to practice, education, and research, he was recognized as the 2017 Victorian Emerging Architect of the Year by the Australian Institute of Architects.