The Asia-Africa Conference Museum (Asia-Afrika in Indonesian) is another stop you should add to your walking tour of Bandung. The museum provides an overview of the 1955 conference when the newly independent, non-aligned countries of Asia and Africa met in Bandung. President Soekarno had chosen the museum building as the site of the conference because it was the largest and most luxurious in Bandung. There was also some potent symbolism involved in the choice, as the building had once been the Societiet Concordia Building, where the Dutch colonial elite hobnobbed over drinks and excluded 'natives' from membership.
In a typical move, Soekarno re-named the building 'Gedung Merdeka' (Independence Building) just before the conference.
Apart from learning about the conference, visitors can take in some fine modern architecture. The conference hall was re-modelled in 1940 by prominent architect Albert Aalbers, who had also designed the art-deco renovations for the nearby Hotel Savoy-Homann. It features horizontal lines and a flat roof. Its interior was inspired by the Cubist school of art. However, my favorite part of the complex is the original 1921 wing designed by
functionalist and structuralist architect, C. P Wolff Schoemaker. This was the most exclusive and luxurious club in The Indies at the time, featuring Italian marble floors. Its elegant facade is one
of the most impressive in all Bandung.
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