Delusions of grandeur and the Jakarta Signature Tower

It’s game on! The race to construct Jakarta’s tallest building has begun!

And the two contestants are:

1) The Jakarta Tower (aka. the Jakarta Prayer Tower) @ Kemayoran. If this ode to megalomania is ever completed it would be the tallest freestanding tower in the Southern Hemisphere at 558m. The brainchild of former dictator Suharto and his cronies, the project has been on hold for years due to a lack of funds, but construction is finally expected to recommence in July 2012. Estimated cost: Rp 2.7 trillion++

2) Jakarta Signature Tower @ SCBD. Nope, they can’t even come up with an Indonesian name for it, but judging by the fact that this 638 meter monstrosity will have 111 floors suggests they have no appreciation of English cricket either. A New Zealand company has already been awarded the engineering works and construction will coincidently also begin in July 2012. Estimated cost: Rp9 trillion.

Picture source: srssa

Meanwhile, out on Jakarta’s crumbling streets – where motorcyclists have been known to vanish after being sucked into potholes the size of craters – the madness goes on.  To the majority of the people in Jakarta these huge towers are as relevant and useful as a three and a half inch floppy disk.

According to the architect’s design, the Jakarta Signature Tower will have an astonishing 2 million sq. ft. of office space - which even the insiders accept is a “**** load of supply in one building”.

But these insiders then go onto delude themselves by insisting that “success is assured given the superb location and quality of design…”


Because – unfortunately for them - there is an inevitable connection between a bubble economy – which Jakarta is surely becoming – and the construction of these sorts of mega buildings.

Skyscrapers Foretell Financial Collapse say the studies:

Often the world's tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper-building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction.

And it’s not just roads.

It’s bridges too.

Indonesia Signs Deal For $10.9 Billion Bridge Linking Sumatra to Java

The China Railway Construction Corporation has inked a deal to invest in the RP 100 trillion ($10.9 billion) Sunda Strait Bridge to link the islands - the largest agreement signed during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit to Beijing last month.

More on the shenanigans behind this bridge project.

As for Jakarta, I wonder what old Sukarno must be thinking of all these ambitious plans to build ever higher towers in the capital city?

Because back in the 60s he had Monas built in his own honor albeit bankrupting the nation in the process.

And now his monumental “Last Erection” looks like a wee tadger!


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