SHAU wins design competition for the new Indonesian capital's vice presidential palace with Twinmotion

With the new capital of Indonesia set to be inaugurated in 2024, the nation’s government ran a competition to design its key buildings, and one of the winning designs for the new city’s vice presidential palace was created in Twinmotion.

In an effort to bring more wealth and development outside of the wealthiest island of Java, Indonesia’s capital is set to move from Jakarta to a new location 1,300 km away on the island of Borneo/Kalimantan; the new city will be known as Capital City of Nusantara, or Ibu Kota Nusantara (IKN) in Indonesian.

With a new capital comes a unique challenge in urban master planning. In need of buildings for the new city—which is set to span 2,560 km2—the Indonesian government’s Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing ran a design and building concept competition. Among the key buildings highlighted in the competition was the vice president’s palace complex, including legislative and judiciary offices and a worship area.

Produced by Indonesian architecture studio SHAU in collaboration with APTA Studio and Studio Cilaki 45, the stunning Huma Betang Uma design was chosen as joint winner, alongside another entry. Huma Betang Uma translates as ‘Mother Long House’. The long house is a vernacular typology based on a philosophy of harmony and respect towards nature and people. The final result will be a stellar combination of both designs.
The competition kicked off in March 2022, with the winner announced in June 2022. SHAU turned to Twinmotion’s real-time capabilities to create its winning design. But why Twinmotion?

“The obvious reason—it's really fast!” says SHAU Co-founder Florian Heinzelmann. Having used Twinmotion for several years, Florian is very familiar with the real-time visualization tool. He also introduced it to his students at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Architecture, where he is Associate Professor. He believes that it’s incredibly useful for his students to learn real time visualization skills, as these will help to prepare them for future careers in the architecture industry. 

Twinmotion enabled Florian to produce high-quality design visualizations for the Huma Betang Uma project in a short amount of time, with the entire project taking just six weeks to complete.

Florian’s Indonesian based team at SHAU took its design inspiration from the Indonesian tradition of expressing the national identity through its architecture, along with some design nods to the communal living of the local Dayak people. “This is a design by Indonesians, for Indonesians,” he says. “We took a lot of inspiration for certain elements from Indonesian architecture. For example, one of the traditions is to structure the building with the idea of a head, body, and legs. In some cases, the roof, or head, represents the heavens, the middle section, or body, is the Earth, and the base or legs reflects the underworld.”

As well as reflecting national tradition and local culture, the design also focused on meeting sustainability goals by reducing operational energy usage. “We wanted the design to be as carbon neutral as possible,” says Florian. “The design has a traditional aspect, a representational aspect, and also works with the local landscape in a sustainable way.”
Designed to preserve as much of the local environment as possible, the palace design includes various eco-friendly, energy-saving design choices, as well as a reforestation element. Incorporating lots of green space, the building complex is connected by a circular elevated walkway, with ramps, lifts, and a funicular ensuring that the palace is accessible for all. Solar panels on the roof provide green energy, while rainwater is reused for the building’s toilet facilities, as well as irrigation systems. The people-focused design also conveys hospitality–a key aspect of Indonesian culture–along with an open-plan office to symbolize reform.

Predominantly working with the Rhino file format, Florian found Twinmotion’s interoperability to be particularly useful when producing the palace design. “Thanks to the integration with various software, it’s really easy to import the files you need,” says Florian.

Twinmotion also proved to be a useful tool in conveying the reforestation component of the design. “More and more, we’re seeing the integration of landscaping into architecture,” says Florian. “With Twinmotion, I was able to place trees easily and scatter them on the landscape, instead of placing them one by one, which was really helpful."
Another feature that Florian finds helpful is Path Tracer, which enables rapid rendering of high-quality images. “Path Tracer is brilliant,” says Florian. “I like it a lot as it gives instantaneous results. ‘What you see is what you get’ in the final rendering, compared to the settings. The fact that you don’t have to guesstimate any of the settings is pretty amazing.”

Among the other features that Florian finds particularly useful is the Section Cube tool, which can be used to cut or hide objects, or portions of objects, in the scene. “This is useful for explaining to clients what’s happening inside the building,” says Florian. He also uses Twinmotion’s Clay Render tool to produce simplistic, plain white versions of his designs that enable viewers to focus on particular aspects of the design such as overall dimensions without getting distracted by surface details.

The vice president’s palace will be one of the first structures to be built in the new capital, and SHAU is currently in the process of tweaking the plans to reflect feedback, while staying as close to the original design intent as possible.