Scholarly article on topic 'Water Tower of Medan as a Character of the City Tourism'

Water Tower of Medan as a Character of the City Tourism Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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{"Water tower of Medan" / "the potential places" / "sense of place" / tourism}

Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Imam Faisal Pane

Abstract One of the biggest cities in Indonesia is Medan, the role of this city is quite significant in the development of Indonesia as a whole. The influx of local and foreign tourists year by year is increase. Tirtanadi Water Tower area is a historical district because it was built in the Dutch colonial era and the unique shape makes this tower be the landmarks of city. For it this study seeks to generate solutions to organize the Water Tower area and shows its potential. With qualitative approaches and theories about the potential of place so this research is expected to produce the proposed area arrangement to become one of the tourist attraction of the city.

Academic research paper on topic "Water Tower of Medan as a Character of the City Tourism"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 234 (2016) 201 - 209

ASEAN-Turkey ASLI (Annual Serial Landmark International) Conferences on Quality of Life 2016

AMER International Conference on Quality of Life, AicQoL2016Medan 25 - 27 February 2016, Medan, Indonesia

Water Tower of Medan as a Character of the City Tourism

Imam Faisal Pane*

Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sumatera Utara, Jalan Perpustakaan Gedung J.07

Kampus USU, Medan 20155, Indonesia.


One of the biggest cities in Indonesia is Medan, the role of this city is quite significant in the development of Indonesia as a whole. The influx of local and foreign tourists year by year is increase. Tirtanadi Water Tower area is a historical district because it was built in the Dutch colonial era and the unique shape makes this tower be the landmarks of city. For it this study seeks to generate solutions to organize the Water Tower area and shows its potential. With qualitative approaches and theories about the potential of place so this research is expected to produce the proposed area arrangement to become one of the tourist attraction of the city.

©2016 The Authors.Publishedby ElsevierLtd. This isanopenaccessarticleunderthe CCBY-NC-NDlicense (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-reviewunderresponsibility ofthe AssociationofMalaysian Environment-BehaviorResearchers, AMER(ABRA malaysia) Keywords: Water tower of Medan; the potential places; sense of place; tourism

1. Introduction

1.1. Background and issues

The increasing of tourism sector is an important development program, also, to increase revenues as well as the promotion of the existence of the nation, both regarding culture, culinary and historical places. Medan is one of the

* Corresponding author. Tel.:+62-825-7618-5988; fax: +62-61-8219525. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Association of Malaysian Environment-Behavior Researchers, AMER (ABRA malaysia) doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.10.235

largest city in the island of Sumatra and the west gateway in Indonesia, Medan with this condition needs to improve because local and foreign tourist arrivals need to be considered, especially regarding comfort.

With the operation of Kuala Namu airport, Deli Serdang, which has a more passenger capacity than Polonia Airport, of course, this condition can increase the flow of tourists. Long-term plans of the government to make this airport as an airport hub (connector) for flight flow and are expected the flights from other countries can transit here like Changi Airport or KLIA. For the next plan of the airport will be enlarged again until the ultimate phase and will be equipped with facilities such as hotels, shopping centers and others.

With the airport facilities above so, the existence of tourist facilities in the city of Medan is considered necessary to be taken a look. Nowadays tourists visiting the city of Medan in addition to taste the culinary also visited heritage buildings of Dutch colonization. Rows of colonial buildings can still be found in this town as in corridors of Ahmad Yani Kesawan street. Some of the building are still very worthy to be a tourist attraction because of a history that should be well preserved and maintained. One of the buildings of the colonial government is Tirtanadi Water Tower. The water tower was built in the Dutch colonial government to give the need for clean water, is still functioning properly until now. After the independence of Indonesia, the tower is managed by PDAM Tirtanadi Medan.

Medan is always synonymous with this Water Tower. This building has always been a landmark or a sign that the building is just one in Medan and people are proud of it. But over time the existence of this building as if forgotten, because people passing around these buildings do not pay attention to the figure of this tower. An effort is needed to raise the potency and to vitalize this area (Ramlee et al., 2015). Also, to a solid traffic coupled with a pedestrian street for pedestrians that need to be managed.

So in this study, the object studied is the Water Tower area because except having historical value (Hussain, 2014), the building also has great potential to continue to be a landmark for the city of Medan. In addition to the building, it will be noted in the surrounding area are rows of buildings that serves as the tailor shop. With there are other functions so it can add the tourism potential of this area. Beside that , the existing condition of the tower be a concern in this study, especially the parking lot of two-and-four wheeled vehicles , places of food sale and of course the convenience of tourists who will visit there. By the increasing of tourism potential of the area is expected to increase national revenue from tourism and quality of life of citizens.

Looking at the actual conditions that exist in the field so this study uses a qualitative method to capture the existed phenomena (Moleong, 2000). The study of theory about the place used to look at the potential of the place there, coupled with interviews with some of people who visit or have activities in the area. From this research result, it will be issued basic concept of early planning architecture to water tower area which will increase the potential as a whole.

1.2. Objective and purpose

This study aims to optimize the planning of limited area in the city center and accommodate tourism activities based on the potential of the place. The goal of this research is also to recommend about the policy of land use for the tourism in the field of research object.

2. Literature review

To look and increase the place potency so theory taken in this research is the theory of the sense of place. According to (Rogers, 2012) sense of place consists of natural relationship with the environment, the built environment with cultural environment as well as the individual and society in the context of a particular place. The place context becomes the main approach in this study because different places have different characters, with this difference, the potency of the place can be improved its existence. This theory talks about the human relationship with the place (Hashemnezhad, 2013) related to space and character. With the difference of location and place, so the character of space is also different, it will make one place is different from other places.

The place context develops and gets into the sphere of architecture that is to create environment with character becomes stronger and more meaningful with effort to make a creation based on experience (Hale, 2000). Theory about this place will explore the potential and existing character to give meaning to the place. The term of Genius Loci is as a term to mention a different place to other places and has different characters (Norberg Schulz, 1980).

This idea forwards Martin Heidegger's ideas about architecture entitled "Building, Dwelling and Thinking", that a building can be different if built then there is a process to settle down and eventually resulted a significant character in the building.

This phenomenon led the character of the place and known as the sense of place, the term is inherent to the architecture because of the existence of a building where people live loaded with different characters. In another word, there is activity there and becomes an important role in giving meaning to space (Tuan, 1977). This meaning can not arise just like that without any interaction there. The interaction that occurs in a space will generate meaning in that space and will ultimately generate meaning in a place. This interaction is seen as a different character to other places so that the meaning generated is different, too.

The existence of human factors that interact with it will produce meaning that finally will form the identity of a place. The identity of the place will color a different place to other places. The difference is also fundamental of the experiences of people interacting in it and human existence (Hashemnezhad, 2013), the experience of a person will be different from others. From this it can be seen that the spirit of place associated with the experience of space that is owned by people who interact in it. Also, each building or area needs to be enhanced image (Lynch, 1960). The image of the area depends on the observer and the environment so that the impression caused by the observer or the perception that arise should be able to raise the image of a building or area. In line with that, sense of place is the relationship between man (in this case the feelings and experiences) interact with the place so that human experience of space felt can be different because they relate to the conditions of space, culture, objective of observation (Lynch, 1981).

3. Methodology

3.1. Object and location of study

The enormous potential is seen from elements of the building existence as one of the town's facilities those are a place to store water for the residents of Medan city. Beside that, there is a great potential also for use as a tourism spot. This area is known as the Water Tower Area Tirtanadi Medan. The tower is still functioning well but has been forgotten its existence. Its feature which is oppressed by the progress of the city makes people who pass and being in the area does not feel the presence of this tower. In this study, the tower built in the colonial period will try to be lifted and examined the existence of its position and place as a city tourism facility. Because, it is not only on physical function that is still good, but regarding building existence is filled with the memory of making this building deserves to be one of the city's tourism destinations.

Jalan Pandu /Pandu Street

Jalan Sisingamangaraja Sisingamangaraja Street

Fig.1. The area of water tower, Medan (Source:

This water tower once belonged NV. Water Leiding Maatschappij Ajer Bersih company, established in 1905, belongs to the Dutch colonial government, was built in 1908 and located at the intersection of Singamangaraja and Pandu street (see figure 1). The traffic flow in the area is quite solid, although it is not in busy time.

Fig.2. Neighborhood atmosphere at Water Tower, Medan

In this area, there is a row of tailor shops building which had been opened since many years ago. Parking condition is seen on the side of Singamangaraja and Pandu Baru street which is row of tailor shops (see figure 2). Car Parking is parallel and motorcycles are seen parked on the sidewalk. It is looked parking and pedestrian condition in this area need to take an intention. Condition of surrounding buildings and pedestrians need to be considered (see figure 3).

Fig.3. Motor vehicle parking and pedestrian

3.2. Variables

Looking at literature review which has taken then the focus of this research is to the increasing of the potential place by taking the theory related to the sense of place that produces a spirit of place to the area and will present meaning to the area. From the study of theory above so the Water Tower Medan will be examined on its potential uses three (3) research variables that refer to the study of literature is taken. These variables are:

• The Potency of Circulation Area Patterns, this is related to place interactions in a that area that is to look at the potential place as a area associated with other areas, mainly associated with circulation patterns, pedestrian, vehicle parking and related to physical in surrounding area.

• The Potency of Building Area Image, in the image of this building will be discussed related to the character of place will be different to other places. This character will provide color and will finally generate the meaning. The historical character of the area provides space meaning so that the potency of area image as a whole will be improved.

• The Potency on Area Comfort, this variable is related to human activities in the area. This activity indeed involves the user in it, with the user so comfortable factor becomes an important thing to be improved. Pleasant factors will have an effect on the identity of the place so that this factor will make a difference in one place to another.

Research variable that has been taken above will be traced with the object of research taken that is the Water Tower area Medan. These three variables that have been taken will be factors that will be analyzed with a qualitative approach. Some respondents are involved in interviews that provide an opinion to this area. From the analysis results will be seen what is needed to improve the area's tourism potency. Through beginning concept of urban design will produce policy in early concept of early architecture planning to increase the potential of this area, so the area is expected to become area of city tourism destination.

4. Result and discussion

At this stage it will be analyzed the condition of the vicinity with three variables that have been taken. All these three have to see area potency from circulation patterns,building image and area convenience. From the results of this analysis process will be forwarded to the initial concept phase of architectural planning in order to increase the place potency that impacts to the increasing in tourist visits to Medan city.

4.1. The potency of circulation area patterns

This place is a place close to the Maimun Palace area, Grand Mosque, and Sri Deli swimming pool. The interaction between this place and Grand Mosque connected by two-way road that is Singamangaraja street. This area is located at the end of the road bordered by Pandu street. With this situation so the interaction between this place and the other palace area is very high and is a great potential to be developed, especially pedestrian who respond to its environs (Bentley, 1985).

The circulation of vehicles in this area is quite congested and crowded especially at rush hours (see figure 4). The existence of a crossroad with traffic patterns of arrangement is expected to reduce congestion in the area. For pedestrian circulation, this area has sidewalk but has not yet optimized its comfort then need improvement so that the comfort level can be achieved in this area (Hanan, 2012), especially the area around the tailor shops. From the interviews related to circulation pattern, respondents note that " the movement of vehicles need revamping, especially for motor vehicles, pedestrian circulation need to be optimized to make an easy for people who walk around the area."

From the analysis above, it can be concluded that the role of the absolute circulation to be addressed in this area. Movement of motor vehicle needs for structuring and sidewalk to pedestrian needs to be widened to make it easier to interact in this area.

One way traffic

Two-way traffic

rig.4. Circulation patterns in water tower (Source:

4.2. The potency of building area image

For Water Tower building, the lower part of the building use steel material as water buffer in cylinder form. The use of this material by the colonial government along with the number of the steel material used in the construction of tall buildings in the early modern period or when the water tower was established. When modernization appear to be the trend around the world, as it is also the use of new materials such as steel contributes in the development of the technology at the time. Modernization also indirectly comes to Indonesia through the development of city by the Dutch colonial government. The shape as a function is for water reservoirs but it looks like a building with modern architecture as seen in the use of steel materials in the building structure (see figure 5). It was built in the Dutch colonial government to provide clean water needs of city residents. The water tower is a symbol and a landmark for the city of Medan, related to people's view of the city's image that is one of them is landmark (Lynch, 1960). This area also requires the addition of green areas in order to increase the overall image of the building. Furthermore, this area also requires the additional facilities support to entice people to visit such a place to sit, toilet and others. Result of interviews with respondents related to the building image states that ""buildings should be preserved because it has a history and significant meaning for the city of Medan".

Fig.5. Building images of water tower Medan

From the analysis above, the image of the building shown that the existence of memory associated with colonial history (Ginting, 2015), so the meaning that present here in order to be maintained and preserved to retain the character of the area. This character will be preserved by maintaining the condition of the original building so that meaning which are present also still be kept.

4.3. The potency on area comfort

The potency on area comfort is viewed from the existence of the activity there. Activities will indeed make identity of place is different to other location. Identities which are shown make this area very different from other places. The existence of a water tower and a row of tailor shops make a unique character in this area. The convenience factor is needed to support the tourism potential. High character combined with comfort will make the character of this place is getting stronger, so it will potentially be a tourist area. The design of the city is expected to be a solution to raise the area potential, according to (Rossi, 1982) that to raise an area needed a full of city planning related to environmental sustainability and coordination in the field so that the convenience factor can be improved.

From the result of interviews related to comfort, respondents said that " the need for facility improvements and additions to make this area comfortable to visit". The analysis result shows that the identity of the place should be maintained, it is necessary also activities that support the existence of place such as exhibitions and others. Activities that already exist today are a row of tailors who are across this tower. Rearranging the row of tailors will generate identity that help to strengthen the identity of the area as a whole (see figure 6). With the identity of the place then it will directly improve the comfort of the area (Ujang, 2012).

Fig.6. Rows of the tailor shops

5. Pre-design concept of water tower area

After passing the stage of analysis, the next stage is to give the recommendation of preliminary architecture planning for this region. This pre-design is actual to increase the quality of life for townspeople. In seen this area is a narrow region (see figure 7), therefore it is necessary for the location that can be accessed to see directly the existence of this tower. Sitting area and toilets are a necessity in providing tourists facilities, especially in this area.

Fig.7. Preliminary design concept of water tower area

This picture is seen on the area surrounding the arrangement of tailor shops row can be an addition to the identity of the place (see figure 8). This activity of sewing can become a tourism attraction so that the arrangement needs to be done. With warm conditions so the tourists who come to this district will make this area as one of city tourism destination in Medan.

Fig.8. Preliminary design concept of tailor shops

6. Conclusion

• From the recommendation that has been made, the overall findings from this research are:

• From interaction one place to other places, this makes this area needs to be repaired in order to have suitable condition as a tourist destination like pedestrian line, parking, etc.

• From the image of building, the tower has a form that is functional but the meanings are present must also remain to be maintained as a historical memory and can be a city landmark.

• From the identity of the place, the convenience factor plays an important role in this area, activities make this area must be maintained its comfort so that the tourists who come will happy and want to return again.


This research can be accomplished by funded from Directorate General of Higher Education (Dikti) Government of Indonesia and students of Department of Architecture, The University of Sumatera Utara for the support.


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