Work on the learning centre in Sauwandarek is well under way, and as we watch the build progress we are in awe of the vision of the centre’s architect, Nyoman Popo Danes. Popo is celebrated as one of Indonesia’s leading architects and we are exceptionally proud to have him on the team.
“I am very happy to be involved with Dunia Baru’s Raja Ampat Learning Center Project, as I have always believed that the future of Indonesia’s tourism industry is at the eastern part of the country,” said award-winning architect Popo Danes. “To ensure that the future of this spectacular area is sustainable, we need to develop the quality of the local human resources. This learning center project is a very valuable step in that direction.”
Popo is known for designing beautiful buildings – from private homes to five-star hotels and luxury resorts – that are very carefully considered, and created to function in harmony with people and with nature. The architect has always been concerned with the functionality of each building he designs, ensuring that they are aligned with the natural surroundings, that every room has a function, and that there is a strong connection between the property’s architecture, interior and landscape.
Popo’s experience and reputation stretch far beyond the coastline of his native Bali. He began designing a series of residential houses, private villas and small beachfront hotels in the late 1980s and by 1992 he was a member of the Indonesian Institute of Architects. Popo was awarded a scholarship by the Rotary Foundation, and in 1992 he travelled to the Netherlands on the study exchange. There, he indulged his fascination with European modernism – a time that undoubtedly influenced his classic and unpretentious style.
Popo is proudly Balinese, and his culture and heritage reflect strongly in his work. “I try to create an architectural playground that is connected to the activities and characteristics of the island,” he says. “I am always inspired by nature and culture, and I put my strong foundation of local culture and artistic style to use when I am designing.”
Popo’s commitment to the natural environment has been recognized on many levels. He is a two-time ASEAN Energy Award winner (for his work on Ubud Hanging Gardens, a popular resort in Bali known for its striking design, functionality and environmental consciousness), and he has received various commendations including the Indonesian Architecture Awards for Building Conservation, the Indonesian Architecture Citation for Commercial Design, and the Indonesian Institute of Architectural Award.
Popo is also the founder of The Wisnu Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization based in Indonesia that focuses on community resource management. The organization’s area of focus actively facilitates a grassroots approach, working directly with local communities to sustainably manage their own natural and social resources.
Popo drew on similar principals when designing the Raja Ampat Learning Center Project. “This project is not simply a library space. It will be an active learning center that is playful in design, and that compliments the connection that East Indonesian children have to their natural environment.”
“To make it eco-friendly we have incorporated as many local building materials as possible. We will have also tried to find some new methods for using the materials, making them appropriate to the functionality of the building,” says Popo. “I am really excited about the team, the community and the location of this project. There is such a great sense of pioneering.”