Gedung Sate, literally “satay building“, is the most famous landmark in Bandung City its citizen can be proud of. Located in Jalan Diponegoro No. 22, it is recognizable by its unique shape. Since 1980, the building has become the office for the Governor of the Province of West Java, Indonesia. For the people outside of Bandung, the building is a selfies destination, proof that they have visited the city.
Nevertheless, there are some facts about Gedung Sate that we need to know, such as:
1 – It Will Be 100 Years Old
Gedung Sate was originally called Gouvernements Bedrijven (GB) during the rule of the Dutch East Indies which referred as Gemeente van Bandoeng. J. Gerber, a young architect graduated from the Faculty of Engineering in Delft, Netherlands, designed the building, together with his team Eh. De Roo and G. Hendriks. Two thousand workers built the landmark, 150 of whom are sculptors (expert tombstone engravers and wood carver from Konghu or Canton, China). Then the masons, labourers and servants came from the residents of the surrounding villages such as Sekeloa , Coblong Dago , Gandok, and Cibarengkok. They are led by Ret. Col. VL. Slors from Gemeente van Bandoeng.
The first stone was laid on 27 July 1920 and it was completed in September 1924. The building itself includes the main building of Gouverments Bedrijven, and also the headquarters of PTT (Post, Telephone, and Telegraph) and a Library.
So, Gedung Sate will reach 100 years. A building that is still standing strong for a hundred years is, of course, a pride on its own.
2 – Influenced by Various Architectural Styles
Gedung Sate stood on an area of 27.990,859 m2, with its building area of 10.877,734 m2, that consists of 3.039,264 m2 basement, 4.062,553 m2 first floor, 212,976 m2 first floor terrace, 3.023,796 m2 second floor: , 212.976 m2 second floor terrace, 121 m2 tower and 205,169 m2 tower terrace.
Gerber, the building’s architect, were presumably influenced by Dr. Hendrik Petrus Berlage, a maestro in his day. Gerber also incorporated various architecture schools into the design, where each element has its own interesting style or theme and philosophy behind it.
If we look closely, Gedung Sate’s facade applied the French Renaissance architectural style and its window arches reminds us of the Moorish-style. While in the central part of the facade, an ornament resembles a shape of mountain-like temple mound, called Kori Agung.
3 – Six sate skewers shows the cost of construction
Gedung Sate has 2 forms of roof. The shield-shaped peak of the roof that covers the front of the building has a traditional ornament which is a mix of Hindu, Buddha, and Indian influence.
At its very top there is an icon that is the very famous “Sate” or skewers with its 6 round ornaments, supposedly symbolizes the 6 million guilders (the building’s construction cost). There is another notion that the skewer on top of the roof is actually a form of water apple, which symbolizes as a prayer so that West Java remains fertile and its fortune flows.
4 – It’s an unfinished building
When we observe Gedung Sate’s old photographs and its surrounding areas, the building is actually not finished yet. The design map actually shows government buildings complex with a field in the middle (now Gasibu Field), with rows of symmetrical building, lining up to the Monument of West Java Struggle.
The one which was constructed for 4 years was just the main building of the mid-section, with the East side followed afterwards. During the Republic of Indonesia’s struggle for independence, the then government of Gemeente van Bandung was transitioned to Bandung city government, causing the project to stop.
5 – It was oriented to Mount Tangkuban Parahu
The architect has also taken the orientation of the building into accout.
If we climb to the third floor, there is a small room where we can see the surrounding. The room itself is called Gedung Sate tower. To reach it, we have to go through a special room and climb a narrow staircase.
However, the terrace surrounding the tower is spacious enough. Then, if we stand on the Northern side on a clear sky, we can see the distinguished shape of an upside down boat of Mount Tangkuban Parahu. It appears that the building follows the North-South axis (which is also applied at the Pakuan Building, that overlooks Mount Malabar in the South). So, Gedung Sate was purposefully built to face Mount Tangkuban Parahu in the North.
Interestingly, the tower also houses a small showroom which archives some of the Governor’s activities, plus a wide range of souvenirs and inscriptions from the West Java province.
6 – Historical Events
Gedung Sate is also full of historical events.
Originally, the Netherlands government was going to move its provincial central government from Batavia to Bandung. While Batavia itself, with its Sunda Kelapa Port, will be the trade center.
Some governmental offices have already been transitioned periodically, such as the Railways Office and Post Office among others. Bureau of Public Works is also one of the government offices that are settled in the building.
During the struggle for independence, on the 3rd of December 1945, a Gurkha troop’s assault killed seven freedom fighters defending the building. To commemorate the fallen men, a stone monument was made and laid at the back of the building. It was then moved to the front yard of Gedung Sate, on the orders of the Minister of Public Works on the 3rd of December 1970.
7 – Gedung Sate expansion
The West side of the building was completed by Soedibjo Projosaputro, M. Arch, a lecturer from the Architecture Department of Bandung Institute of Technology. The new design doesn’t mirror the East-side, but only follow the basic shapes.
Built in 1977, the new wing was intended for the Leader and Members of the Regional Representatives Council of the West Java Province, to carry out its duties and functions as the Region’s Legislative Institution.
It is actually not too difficult to ask for an entry permit to the building if we follow the proper procedure.
Among others is to call the Gedung Sate contact number or visit the website http://www.jabarprov.go.id/.
However, if you only want to enjoy the park or play in the surrounding area, then you won’t need the permit. [wid]