Singkawang Cultural Center

Singkawang Cultural Center

Community Centres, Art Galleries and Cultural Centres
Jalan Yos Sudarso, Melayu, Singkawang City, West Kalimantan, Indonesia - Build completed in 2017
PHL Architects

Singkawang Cultural Center

PHL Architects as Architects

Singkawang Cultural Center is located in Singkawang, a small city in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The city has been a home to ethnically diverse community for many generations, with three major ethnic groups of Tidayu: Tionghoa (Chinese-Indonesian), Dayak & Melayu. This diversity enriches Singkawang with abundant art & culture. The annual cultural events are later developed as Singkawang tourism highlights, such as: Cap Go Meh Festival, Gawai Dayak Naik Dango, Ngabayon Dayaknese Festival, Malay Art Festival, and Ramadhan Fair.


In the beginning, the Singkawang Mayor wanted to create a breakthrough project in order to inject new vibrant energy to the city. Despite its cultural richness, its population is mostly considered to be “low-income”. Since long time ago, many younger generations prefer to migrate outside the city to achieve better opportunities. Responding to the problems yet lifting its multicultural richness & values, we proposed the idea to revitalize an old inactive cinema to be a cultural center as a pioneer project. It gives new spirit to its people by activating communal activities and events. The primary purpose of the architecture is to combine public space and tourism showcase to connect people and to portray Singkawang in concise view.


In the process of designing Singkawang Cultural Center, we’re highly appreciate the existing condition in both site and building itself. We took adaptive reuse as our design approach and performed M.I.T (Modification, Intervention, and Transformation) method as minimum as possible in order to preserve the spirit of place, memory and authenticity of the old cinema. At the same time, it aims to evoke new emotional connection with the space, as well as brings up a new experience as a part of a city space. For us, adaptive reuse can result a significant reduction in resources, energy, and environmental impact compared with new construction.


Since the opening of the cultural center, people are enthusiastic to fully utilize it. This place is freely accessible by the public (children and adult) to organize any activities and events such as seminar, exhibition, performance, and cultural events. Moreover, it is an enjoyable place where people could gather in the evening to hang out, enjoy local cuisines, do karaoke, watch performance and sports. Several events that has been organized inside Singkawang Cultural Center are Ramadhan Fair, Iftar Event – breaking fast, Kampung Dongeng – folklore festival, Onde Festival - Local Culinary Festival, Teater Charlie – Local Theatrical Play, pottery workshop, student seminar, competition, and so on.

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