East Jakarta, 2022

Aqra is a center of Quran learning meant for children. An infill architecture and renovation project, the pavilion fills in residual space from the side and back garden of an old existing house located in a cul-de-sac of a busy residential area in Rawamangun, surrounded by a temple, a mosque, and a school.

The site sits on a long and somewhat narrow corridor that opens up to a sizable courtyard and a pocket of land where a small existing pavilion is located. The design process actively revolves around the courtyard and the existing pavilion. The strategy is to preserve and revitalize the courtyard as the heart and the central direction of the new compound. The existing pavilion is assigned as the main building, reusing its old structure as much as possible, while a new set of supporting functions were introduced. The existing and new structures connected through a pitched roof surrounding the courtyard, further emphasizing the directions of the covered space below and the significance of the courtyard.

Rich in textures, the exterior walls were clad with painted textured plaster and concrete blocks. Beige is chosen as the main colour that decorates the architecture, borrowing the influence from the soft earth tones of mudbricks often seen in traditional Middle-Eastern structures. Custom handmade concrete blocks adopt the shape of Arabic diacritics of harakat; Fatḥah, Kasrah, and Dammah. The shapes of the vowel marks from the concrete vent blocks were repeated through the details of the compound, from the custom-made solid wood door handles, the shape of the concrete columns, wall sconces, and outdoor bench, to the shapes of the window and door frames.

A long and gently sloped ramp connects the road to the main compound, which is slightly raised to respond to the issue of the existing site. At the end of the corridor, visitors are greeted with a wall of concrete blocks obscuring the view into the amenities inside.

Opening the door into the establishment, a small reception area welcomes the visitor. Next to it sits a pantry, an administrative office, a praying area, and bathrooms. Across the entrance is the main building consisting of 1 larger classroom and three smaller classrooms. Two of the smaller classrooms are equipped with an operable door allowing the two to merge into one. All these structures are encompassing an inner court that is shaded with lush greeneries which serves as a playground area where the children will learn through physical learning activities.


Principal Architects Salman Rimaldhi, Dhanie Syawalia
Architect In Charge Ferdio Ariatama
Team Sharen Novira
Construction Ritmacipta
Interior Construtction Archipelago by KNS Group
Photographs Kafin Noe’man, Salman Rimaldhi