Olifant School

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Design DIrector

Samuel Bonaventura

Lead Designer


Design Team

Natalia Ratih

Landscape Designer

Interior Designer

Gabrielle Wang

Lighting Designer

Eco Consultant


Structure Consultant

Andrie Solihin

MEP Consultant




Indra Wira

Olifant School is a national plus kindergarten and elementary school in Yogyakarta. Established in 2007, we had the opportunity to renovate this school building. The renovation process is carried out by following the applicable learning curriculum and national plus school standards. In contrast to schools in general, Olifant School applies a moving class system in its learning process. Students will not only learn in the classroom but also in every corner of the school. At the same time, security is one of the most important parts.

Therefore, the Olifant School design will offer a different learning experience through the building design. Yet, it is also safe and fun. We raised a “building as a second teacher” concept. Without the presence of a teacher, the school building can become their second teacher. Students can study anywhere and interact directly with the building.

In addition to learning and playing, some corners are also expected to become communal spaces. Many areas are designed to accommodate the interaction activities between students, teachers, and parents. Among them are a little jungle, inner-court plaza, farming and petting area, traffic-themed playground, sand pit space, as well as a shallow pond. There is also a happy bridge, rooftop canteen, indoor amphitheater, and sports hall.

In designing this outdoor area, we also carry out a bioclimatic and naturalness approach which is in line with the main concept. We pay attention to the sunlight shade, ambient temperature, and air quality. We want every student to feel comfortable and happy without being disturbed by those factors. That’s why we plant lots of trees in every court/plaza. Besides being useful as a natural canopy, a greenery space can also maximize water absorption and daylighting for all the classrooms. So, we can cut the lighting cost during the day. In addition, there are also water features that can maintain the balance of heat gain and loss at a comfortable level.

Although many outdoor spaces, students still have some classrooms. Unlike other formal schools, the classrooms here are divided based on the activities. For example language & culture room, library &
computer room, and music room. In addition, there are art & workshop room, broadcasting & control room, laboratory, and many more.

Those activities are spread over a four-stories building. We use a ramp for the main vertical circulation because of the safety factors that should be considered. Related to that, the interior design also deliberately does not use sharp corners or firm lines.

On the other hand, every corner of the school also provides sensory stimulation that influences the students’ experience thus learning. This can be seen from the application of various colors and textures. The implementation of various colors not only makes the building more visually appealing but also has associative and symbolic effects on children. While the combination of hard and soft surfaces is present in the interior and outdoor areas. The characteristics of each material texture create a separate learning experience for students. Especially when they can freely touch and feel the surface.

Another interesting thing about Olifant School is the building facade. Contrary to the school’s interior design, Olifant School’s facade implements sharper angles and lines. We apply a double-skin façade with hundreds of metal panels that have different shapes. Uniquely, this shape creates an elephant silhouette which is a symbol of the Olifant School itself. In the end, it is not surprising that the Olifant School finally has an eye-catching building facade.