A PROMINENT architect in Davao City and a committee head of the Philippine Institute of Architects (PIA) said there was no palpable downturn in the construction sector last year despite the global financial crisis.

Patrick Tan, one of the organizers of PIA's 77th annual national convention held at the Royal Mandaya Hotel on Thursday, said that everybody is now excited with the developments in Davao City.

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"Pagpasok ng Abreeza (owned and managed by Ayala Land), di na mahirap ibenta ang Davao," he said in an interview.

Tan is referring to the price of real estate, which not only escalated but also sells like hotcakes.

He said even their construction suppliers are no longer using dealers but are now directly handling sales and purchases in Davao City.

Tan also said the thrusts of architects and builders these days are better living through good design. This includes respecting different types of design and enhancing the progress of the country.

As for trends, Tan said designs now are more eco-friendly and geared towards preserving the nature.

"We call it green architecture. This means helping the environment thru sustainable architecture," he said.

He said this means embracing designs that help protect nature.

"Like solar heating, rain water collection facilities. We also encourage using polypropylene instead of PVC pipes," he said.

He said the trend these days is to build around nature.

"If you have a building footprint, like say 200 square meters, you have to give back at less the same size for green decks, plant more trees which are the source of oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide," he said.

Sustainable design, he said, also includes air-conditioning units that emit low chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) that are harmful to the atmosphere and use of alternative materials instead of wood.

"We have to change our attitude towards how we treat our landscape. We could either go the Manila way or the Singapore way," he said.

Tan said indiscriminate building and urbanization destroy nature like in Manila. However, the precise urban planning in Singapore has made the country an epitome in development.

Some 200 members of PIA gathered for the first time in Davao City to grace the three-day convention.

PIA is the oldest in Asia and this year's convention is headed by Renato Basa, another Davao-based architect.