Isso Architects, Indonesia: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022

Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios. Indonesia's Isso Architects has joined the 2022 list, for projects such as this sculptural Jakarta house

exterior of sculptural jakarta house
(Image credit: Ernest Theofilus)

Partners Wibisono Soegih and Stephanie Tatimu launched Isso Architects five years ago in Jakarta. Now, their studio has made it into the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022, our annual list of exciting emerging practices from across the globe.

Who: Isso Architects

One of our youngest entries this year, partners Wibisono Soegih and Stephanie Tatimu launched Isso Architects in 2017. Based in Jakarta, the architecture and interior design firm works across a variety of commissions that span the residential and hospitality realm – but is looking to expand more into commercial architecture, with a few live commissions already underway. Its breakthrough project, YD House (pictured), is a compact, inventive and site-sensitive home in Jakarta; while other work includes the Locaāhands Dining club, a restaurant in Surabaya that transforms an existing structure into a contemporary hospitality experience. 

‘The architecture of Isso begins in the milieu of everyday existence,’ explain Soegih and Tatimu. ‘It starts from the needs of the client, the programme and the ensuing practical constraints. We enjoy the intimacy of space, details, and have always consistently been captivated by small things that create a space; the air, noises, sound, colours, material presence and texture. Also the importance of combining the right elements to create such spaces.’ In its design process, Isso enjoys going back to the basics of architecture – the craft of building, creating space and the logistical challenge and sculptural experience of erecting a new structure. However, at the same time, ‘intuitiveness, straightforwardness and playfulness are central to our work’, the founders add. 

inside and outside relationship at sculptural jakarta house by Isso Architects

(Image credit: Ernest Theofilus)

What: YD House

Set in a long, narrow site in a residential neighbourhood of southern Jakarta, YD House stands out among its more conventional surrounding buildings through its unmistakably modern form and compact arrangement on a single, ground level. Comprising solid and sculptural geometric volumes, the home feels monolithic and enigmatic from the outside, due in part to a lack of windows on the street façade. Inside, it is textured and dramatic, thanks to characterful and open external patios and internal areas (natural materials such as timber are featured throughout). At the same time, plenty of transitional spaces blur the lines of indoors and outdoors. 

exterior detail of of sculptural jakarta house by Isso Architects

(Image credit: Ernest Theofilus)

‘This house design is very much inspired by the familiar semi-circle,’ say the architects. ‘This is apparent in the half-moon shape on the façade, and it is used again and again in the interior and the furniture, which ultimately ties it all together. The solid-looking is actually fluid. The unusual turns out to be familiar after all.’

Inside, a living room, a separate dining area and the master bedroom all have a direct view of the courtyard. Sliding doors not only make circulation easy but also aid natural ventilation. Meanwhile, the tall tower that makes its mark on the main façade is crucial in creating stack ventilation (the chimney effect), helping hot air escape to cool down the house.

courtyard inside of sculptural jakarta house by Isso Architects

(Image credit: Ernest Theofilus)

Why: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022

Conceived in 2000 as an international index of emerging architectural talent, the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual listing of promising practices from across the globe. While always championing the best and most promising young studios, over the years, the project has showcased inspiring work with an emphasis on the residential realm. Now including more than 500 alumni, the Architects’ Directory is back for its 22nd edition. Join us as we launch this year’s survey – 20 young studios from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, the UAE, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam with plenty of promise, ideas and exciting architecture.

outside looking in at sculptural jakarta house by Isso Architects

(Image credit: Ernest Theofilus)

dining space at sculptural jakarta house by Isso Architects

(Image credit: Ernest Theofilus)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from