Pari Klegung: ‘Slow architecture’ in a natural setting
April 13, 2022
Pari Klegung is a community eatery in a verdant village, located in the same complex as architect Eko Prawoto’s home. This makes it a passion project that reflects Eko’s advocacy for reorienting humans as part of Nature—not the other way around.
“I wanted the buildings to match their natural surroundings and avoid creating social gaps, in the sense of maintaining their rural character (ke-ndeso-an),” Eko told FuturArc.
Known colloquially in Indonesia as a warung, the eatery is a community-centred business where local dishes are cooked by a team of villagers, and visitors’ parking is managed by the neighbours. It welcomes everyone to cherish the ‘whispers’ of an adjacent river and the rustle of trees.
Site and materiality
The site’s border follows the winding body of Klegung River, which informs the arrangement of private and public zones. Eko’s residence is located on the farthest corner, almost hovering near the river’s edge. It has a different access path from the eatery, which can be accessed from the village road.
Most of the buildings in the complex have been recycled from old wooden houses, which Eko moved from his previous residence in a neighbouring village. The buildings are structured like a traditional Javanese limasan house with eight main pillars: three on opposing sides and two to mark the entrance. Locally made brick, site-grown bamboo and stones from the river are the other main building materials, also used as sculptural features throughout the site.
Despite its humble scale and appearance, the project took five years to complete. “It could not be planned all at once—the position of the trees and the feel of the space had to be ‘absorbed’ slowly,” explained Eko.
The slow pace also had to do with the way it was constructed. “The builders are people I know from the village. They are actually farmers who can also do carpentry, so they are not [trained as] professional builders. I find this to be interesting, because in my opinion, designers need to be able to adapt to different skill sets. Our local builders have good skills in understanding Nature and using available materials—this is their strength.”
By closely working with the builders, Eko designed the complex with organic and imprecise shapes that are more harmonious with the site’s contours, retaining the natural character without altering too much.
A celebration of the ordinary
In the few months since Pari Klegung opened in November 2021, it has attracted a wide range of people, from senior villagers and local residents, wildlife and nature enthusiasts, to students and fellow architects from faraway places. Eko enjoys chatting with them about ‘slow living’ and sustainable practices in the village, sparked by an exhibition space that showed his Museum of the Ordinary Things (MOThi) or Museum Benda Biasa.
MOThi is a growing collection of everyday objects that were not mass-produced, but crafted out of wood, bamboo, clay and various metals. These include household appliances, agriculture and carpentry tools. Many of these analogue, non-electric tools are still widely used by rural communities, despite already being considered antiques in cities. “There was once a visitor who was very knowledgeable about the tools, and she turned out to be an antique enthusiast as well. The next day, she sent a box of antique reproductions to add to the collection,” Eko happily recollected. “Some find them nostalgic, but there are also people who have never seen these objects before.”
More than just a culinary spot, Pari Klegung is a space that engages all our senses within Nature, and invites people to find joy—and wisdom—in the small, ordinary things.
Ngipikrejo Village, Kulon Progo Regency, Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia
Eko Prawoto Architecture Workshop
Courtesy of Eko Prawoto