Best housing design eyes slum-free Clark Green City

CLARK FREEPORT -- The best housing design from the final five entries of the BALE (Building Accessible and Liveable Ecologies) global competition is geared towards making the Clark Green City a slum-free community where everyone can afford decent and quality housing, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said.

The grand winner of the international housing design competition will be awarded on August 20 at the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City.

The BCDA in early May of this year started the said competition as a prelude to developing the residential complex of mixed-income and affordable housing units inside the Clark Green City, a 9,450-hectare lot within the Clark Special Economic Zone in the province of Tarlac envisioned as the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis.

u201cPlans to attain slum-free communities must always be included in future development efforts, that is why the vision and innovation of the Green City are geared towards inclusion,” BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

Casanova cited the usual proliferation of informal settlers around central business districts and urban centers in the country due to non-inclusive development plans.

u201cThe BALE’s concept of inclusion is aimed to uplift human dignity in a new metropolis where opportunities abound,” he added.

The winning design will be considered in BCDA’s joint housing project with Pag-IBIG (Home Mortgage and Development Fund) for the construction of an initial 2,000 low cost housing units intended as residences for some 85,000 daily wage earners inside Clark ecozone.

u201cGreen City employees will have the convenience and proximity to their workplace and to their families. We will try to help improve the quality of their lives,” Casanova said.

Thirty registered participants submitted their design entries to BCDA last July 3 to a jury composed of international and local experts chaired by architect Andrea Dorotan, a faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Architecture and an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

u201cThe jury had the difficult task of determining the top five teams out of all the 30 entries with design and financial proposals,” Dorotan said.

Eventually, the five finalists were chosen and were awarded US$3,000 prize each last July 22.

The finalists will submit the refinements of their designs for the final presentation where the grand winner will receive US$40,000 with the winning design to be used as model for implementation.

Architects Jan Carlo San Luis and Angelo Ray Serrano, ages 27 and 26, respectively, are finalists representing the 1/0 Design Collective, who think their proposal is very inclusive of the people.

San Luis and Serrano, both architecture graduates from the University of Santo Tomas, were challenged on how to strike a balance between coming up with innovative solutions and feasible designs.

u201cWe found (the competition) as an opportunity for our generation of professionals to be heard. We are really driven to put ideas out there, which is ultimately represented by our proposal for the Clark Podscapes,” San Luis said adding that students and young professionals alike have “an unlimited repertoire in our drive to learn and innovate.”

The BCDA chief also noted that finalists of the housing design competition belong to the generation of millennials and said innovation and ingenuity will mark development plans for the Green City.

Demographers maintain that the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, are those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.

One of the five finalists is a design team called Planning for Harmony and Integration (PHI) composed of youthful architects Olivia Lauron, 31, a product of the Palawan State University, Juan Miguel Buna, 27, from Adamson University, Berlin Gaile Gascon, 24, from UST, and engineer Rosalyn Veneracion, 36, with Criscia Alonte, 24, a Human Ecology graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

u201cWe saw an opportunity for our ideas on housing to be shown to the world,” Lauron said adding that their design harmonizes with what CGC stands for—as an inclusive, smart and green, and disaster-resilient development.

Architect Louwie Gan represents the team, L.A. Gan & Associates, another finalist in the BALE competition. He is an environmental planner and urban designer.

The winning design will be selected based on the following criteria: place branding, responsiveness to local and community needs, environmental sensitivity, green and smart features, project financing and feasibility, operational sustainability and innovation.

Another finalist, the team 3RDCUBE+RS is represented by the 37-year old Raymond Andrew Sih, a University of the Philippines graduate and whose team has more than a decade of experience in urban and sustainable design in the Philippines, China and the US.

Sih said he hopes the Green City’s development prioritizes people and the environment.

u201cWe want the future citizens of CGC to be empowered with a healthy appreciation and respect for nature,” Sih added.

The lone overseas-based finalist is Handel Architects of Hong Kong, represented by David Kilpatrick, a graduate of the Washington University.

A total of 279 hectares is allotted for the mixed-use development of the Green City’s rental housing community to accommodate an estimated 800,000 employees and their families at full development in 50 years.

Five hectares will be allotted for the housing needs of some 200 families to be affected by initial development works.

CGC is expected to be launched in 2016.

u201cThe youth as productive citizens involved in the Green City assure us of a promising future for the country’s first slum-free metropolis,” Casanova added.

The top five finalists incorporated international best practices in their designs and featured prototype communities for a diverse-income community with sustainable lifestyles.

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