Benteng Tinggi Dormitories is located within Benteng Tinggi campus retreat compound at the foothill of a mountainous area in South Sulawesi province in the eastern part of Indonesia. It is sited on three relatively flat areas on campus surrounding a nearby chapel, a soon-to-be-renovated office building, and a recently-built caretaker house.
Each building is oriented north-south along the flat area, forming a triangular configuration, embracing the existing buildings and creating a village-like setting. The dormitory buildings are stepped down southward following the contour of the site and flanked by a gazebo on the southwest and a meeting hall on the southeast. Each of the building is then connected with exterior walkways, some covered and some are not, at different levels with the main walkway running north-south. The upper level of the main walkway connects to the lower levels by way of steel spiral stairs and terminates at the southern end at about 12 meters above the ground with the breathtaking view of the valley and mountains beyond. By connecting the buildings at different levels, interaction is encouraged to the maximum and it gives a sense of community while the view constantly reminds and asks visitors of their place on this earth spiritually.
The programmatic arrangement of the dormitory building is simple. The most private program, the contemplative prayer room, is located on the north side followed by progressively lesser private programs such as bedrooms, circulations and open communal space for a small group on the south side looking towards the view. The third floor is dedicated for a communal bedroom, again on the north side, and commons on the south side for the view.
The gazebo is a simple open-air structure for less formal gathering. The meeting hall consists of a large event area (such as for wedding etc.) on the south side with doors to the outdoor terrace and smaller meeting rooms on the north side.
Each building is capped with a two-tiered corrugated metal shed roof taken from local Buginese traditional architecture – which is typically a gable roof – with a reversed slope to fit the program and function, and to open to the view. The main structure of the building is poured-in-place exposed concrete post and beam frame common to modern local construction. The roof is exposed steel rafters instead of traditionally wood for durability and longevity. Vent blocks are used around prayer room for privacy and at the top of mud brick infill wall for cross-ventilation.