Award winning Soeman HS Library in Riau

Hoesman HS Library

Soeman HS Library in Pekanbaru, Riau, won the 2015 ASEAN Architecture Award, eliminating 19 other building designs from eight Southeast Asian countries. Judges from each country selected the former legislative building of Riau renovated into a five-floor library for its striking amalgamation of the traditional features and the influence of modernity.

Decorative sculptures showing the local artistry and life values fill the walls. The exo pillars used steel construction. It is seen as an eclectic design, said to have taken the inspiration from a foldable book rest for holy books recitation.

Inaugurated in 2008, Soeman HS Library was named after a local writer born in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, in 1904. His Batak ethnicity (the surname HS is an abbreviation of Hasibuan) contrasts with his love for Malay literature, making him even more Melayu than the majority Malays claim themselves.

His best literary legacy is the book Mencari Pencuri Anak Perawan (Hunting the Virgin’s Kidnapper) in 1930.

Besides literature, he was also active in education movement, being a school principal and a high school founder in Riau. He died at the age of 95.