Sunday, May 29, 2011

A New Tourist House for Kwau village

I am now in the process of designing a tourist house for Kwau village. The reason for the design and construction of the new wooden house is to provide accommodation for tourists who want to visit Arfak mountains that is closer to the main road. As a novice user of Google Sketchup, I feel challenged when trying to draw the wooden roof trusses that look complicated in the following 3D presentation. After several attempts, I was finally able to draw the beams and girders which entirely will be made of wood.  The cover for this roof truss is the corrugated metal roof sheets locally called seng.
The current tourist house that belongs to Hans Mandacan is a two hour walk from the main road - too far for elderly tourists. With this new tourist house, it is expected that tourists will be interested in visiting the rainforest of Kwau village.
In the rainforest of Kwau village, tourists will be able to watch bower bird, magnificent birds of paradise and learn the local wisdom of the indigenous Papuan people in using herbs to cure various kinds of diseases. There are hundreds of local and national logging companies operating in West Papua right now. Tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest in this tropical island have been converted into monoculture palm oil and cocoa plantations.  Eco-tourism project is one of the alternative solutions that, we expect, can prevent further destructions of tropical rainforest in New Guinea island.
This tourist house will have six rooms. However only four rooms that will be allocated for sleeping. The other two will be for study/ library and store room. Every room of the house will have windows and ventilation slots to allow light and air to enter it. Because Arfak mountains are located in tropical region, the humidity of the surrounding environment greatly influences the wooden structures of the house. Therefore, all the surfaces of the wooden poles, beams, blocks and panels will be painted with base paints and anti termite solution.
The use of Google Sketchup or now Trimble Sketchup greatly accelerate the design process of any 3D objects including houses and buildings with high accuracy. Wood as construction materials is getting scarce but it is still more friendly to the environment than light steel or aluminum. Wood is a sustainable resource whereas steel and aluminum are not. We need more energy to extract these minerals from underground. Architects must design the structures of their wooden houses efficiently to save cost and wood materials. by Charles Roring

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Design of a New Tourist House in Kwau village of Arfak mountains

I am now in the process of designing a simple tourist house for Kwau village. This current tourist house is far from the main road making it very difficult for elderly travelers to reach it. As a solution, I and the villagers in the village are now trying to build another guesthouse for tourists which is closer to the road.
As a naval architect, I am more familiar with Delftship. When I was asked by Samuel Mandacan and Hans Mandacan, two leaders of Kwau village, to help them design the guesthouse, I had to start learning Google Sketchup. As a matter of fact there is another BIM software that I was familiar with. It was Archicad.
Although Archicad is more suitable for home design, I choose Google Sketchup because it is lighter. I am now trying to master it. The following is the unfinished 3D presentation of the tourist house. It will be constructed with wood and concrete materials. This timber frame house will be constructed at a slope of Kwau village area. The lower part will be made of concrete whereas the upper part - the wooden planks and blocks. In Indonesia, this type of construction is called rumah semi permanen (semi permanent house). It is not fully a wooden house or concrete house.
I am thinking of designing several other types with different floor plans. However because of budget constraints, I cannot dream a tourist house that looks like a luxurious resort in the mountains. In this design, the kitchen and toilet will be separated from the main building. So, the right term for this house should be a garden house.
Tourists will stay for 3 to 14 days in this simple guesthouse. I have been promoting Kwau village for 2 years now. It is a nice area for travelers who are interested in learning Papuan traditional medicines and herbs, hiking and birdwatching. by Charles Roring

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Migrating from Archicad to Sketchup

Architects now can design any 3D objects using various software such as Archicad, Revit, Rhino and Google Sketchup. Personally, I used to discuss a number of articles that are related to the design of floor plan for a small house using Archicad. This is really a great product from Graphisoft. Even though it is a very good BIM software for architectural design, it consumes a lot of disk space in my notebook PC. For more complicated designs, my computer runs slow. So, I was thinking of using smaller software that can be used to design 3D objects without consuming much of the memory inside my computer. For designing simple objects such as windows, doors, or a wooden bench, a light but powerful solution such as Google Sketch up is more suitable. I am now learning how to use this software. My first object that I have just designed is a wooden bench. I hope that within a few weeks, I will be able to create more complicated designs such as a house or even a boat. If I am able to do that, I will present them in this blog.

Google does not own sketchup anymore. Now it belongs to Trimble. If we open, we will notice the change in its logo. So, from now on we should not call it Google Sketchup but Sketchup only. 
The learning curve of Sketchup is low. Anybody can master it in less than two weeks. So, instead of learning 2D CAD software, I encourage you to learn this versatile 3D modelling software. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lionfish from the Coral Reef of Manokwari

Coral reef is the richest environment in the world. It is home to thousands of marine animals. One of them is lionfish. Lionfish has unique fins that look like fan. The beauty of lion fish always attracts snorkelers' attention. Their bodies, tail and fins are mostly decorated with bright colors such as red, white and yellow. When I and two Russian tourists were snorkeling in Dorey bay of Manokwari, we saw lionfish. The fish moved closer to urchins when we tried to get closer to it. I think it was the way the fish protected itself from snorkelers whom the lionfish thought as predators. This species of fish is one of the most sought after marine animals by ornamental fish traders and aquarium owners. The unique form and beautiful colors of their bodies make them expensive.
There are some coral reef or marine parks in Dorey bay of Manokwari. I have been promoting them as eco-tourism destinations since last year. Because these coral reef areas are not categorized by the government as MPA (Marine Protected Areas), the preservation efforts for these parks are very little.
I try to inform city dwellers in Manokwari city to stop throwing their domestic and industrial wastes into the sea through a number of articles about marine environment that I wrote in my personal blog. But so far, people in Manokwari city still throw their wastes into the sea. I hope that with the increasing number of tourists snorkeling in Manokwari bay, people will stop destroying their sea and respect the environment. As the capital of West Papua province, Manokwari stretches along the Dorey bay where three small islands are located.

To the south of the Dorey bay is the blue Arfak mountain range. It is still covered with tropical rainforest home to hundreds of species of animals including tree kangaroo, birds of paradise and the bowerbird (amblyornis inornatus). The ecotourism potentials in Manokwari are unlimited. There are a lot of interesting things that we can see and explore in Arfak mountains from trekking along the slopes of the mountains to bird watching under the canopy of the rainforest and from learning traditional medicine to encountering the unique culture of the the indigenous peoples.  
If you are interested in snorkeling in Dorey bay to see various ornamental coral reef fish, or need an interpreter when traveling around Manokwari, please contact me via my email: I will arrange your itinerary or trips in this capital of West Papua province and guide you to the beach, the sea, the rainforest and the mountains. New Guinea is the largest tropical island in the world. The western half of the island is under the administration of Indonesia. The natural beauty of this island is worth visiting and exploring. by Charles Roring
Also read:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Anemone Fish in the Coral Reef of Raimuti Island of Manokwari city

Anemone fish can still be found in the coral reef region not far from Raimuti island. This is the smallest island in the Dorey bay of Manokwari. When I went snorkeling with two Russian tourists, Alex Sokolov and Vitaliy Golovko, on 16 March 2011, we were able to see the Damselfish around 1 kilometer to the south of the Raimuti island. We went there at 4 p.m. to avoid strong sunlight that could burn our skins. At that time the waters around Arfai region and Raimuti island were calm. We saw hundreds of species of fish that live in the coral reef areas. I took some pictures of them but they were not as good as what Alex Sokolov did. One of them was an anemonefish. I think it was a Clark's Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii). However, this coral reef fish was similar to Sebae Anemonefish that has a white stripe at the top of rear back that goes toward its tail. Because this fish did not have the white line, so, I concluded that it was a Clark's Anemonefish. Now I can identify the names of the coral reef fish because a biologist from the United States gave me a book entitled Reef Fish Identification - Tropical Pacific (see the book at the end of this article). This book is suitable for snorkelers and scuba divers who want to know more about the species of fish that live in the Tropical Pacific region. Before receiving this book, it's very difficult for me to identify the reef fish which consist of thousands of species.
After the Russian tourists, I went to Arfai again the next day with two Dutch tourists, Victor Dykman and Anne Bijleveld. This time we were able to see another species of anemone fish. Moisture from sea water covered the lens of my watercasing. That's why I could not take the underwater picture of this famous Nemo fish. Anemonefish is small fish that live among the anemone. It is often called clown fish but children like to call it Nemo fish after the famous animated movie Finding Nemo which is distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
As a travel writer, I have been promoting the waters around Arfai region and Raimuti island as an alternative destination for tourists who want to see the beauty of the underwater world of coral reef in affordable price.
Snorkeling in Raimuti island is much cheaper than scuba diving in places that have been commercialized with the construction of numerous diving resorts. If you plan to visit Manokwari city this year and want to do some snorkelings, you can contact me by email to: I will be happy to arrange your trip and guide you to this beautiful marine environment of West Papua. Also read: Coral Reef Fish in Mansinam island.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Urban Forest in Manokwari

The size of urban forest in Manokwari has been significantly reduced since five years ago when the province of West Papua was reactivated. Almost all of the clove and tropical fruit gardens in what was known as Manggoapi have now gone. In the past the area of what is now known as Bumi Marina was full of clove plantation, rambutan, and durian gardens.
Signicant deforestation is now going on in Sowi and Arfai hills. This greatly effects the air and water quality in Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province of Indonesia. Urban forests in Manokwari have to be preserved. Socially they have recreational values. People go to the nearby forest during holidays. Even until today, hundreds of people still go to Sowi hill near the DPRD office to take aerial pictures Manokwari city that stretches along the Dorey bay. Tree planting program among the communities in Manokwari should be encouraged again.
In addition to their social functions, urban forests in Manokwari intercept dust and gaseous pollutants that are released by motorcycles and cars moving in the city. Therefore tree and vegetation planting must not be ignored particularly along the roadsides of the crowded streets. Because trees and other green vegetation filter the dirty air, they automatically reduce the pollution and spread of viral and bacterial diseases.
Urban forests also give environmental benefits to us. Manokwari is located close to the equator. It receives sunlight all year round. The temperature in this city is warm. The existence of trees in this city provides shades that may reduce the air conditioning cost of houses near the trees.
As a travel writer, I often guide tourists who visit Manokwari city to Table Mountain. It is located in the north of Manokwari. Tropical rainforest that covers the mountain constantly supplies water to people living along the coastal region of Manokwari city. In this region, people get water by digging wells. Because the number of population in the city is rising, the need of clean water is also rising. To maintain the water quality in lowland region, we need to plant trees in the city. Every household must have at least one or two trees around their front or backyard.
Title: Dorey bay of Manokwari
Painter: Charles Roring
Media: Watercolor on paper
Year: May 2011
Size: A3
If we don't give special attention to the preservation of trees inside the city, the beautiful urban forest that we have right now will disappear soon and can only be enjoyed from photograph or from my new watercolor painting above. Talking about painting, it is one of my favorite hobbies. I prefer watercolor to oil color. My working condition does not allow me to paint with oil color. Today I use Pentel 18 Watercolors and Derwent 72 Watercolour Pencils. As for the paper, I like to use cold press Canson 200 gsm, acid free paper. The translucent effect of this media makes my artworks look bright and colorful. I just finished painting this landscape of Manokwari bay two days ago. If you are interested in buying it, please, contact me via my e-mail by Charles Roring
Also read: Traveling under the canopy of tropical rainforest