Arki students rule global student charette program

BS Architecture students take the global stage with their design that brings community and harnesses sustainability and nature’s healing power.

With their entry “Balay Arapaap (House of Dreams): An Inclusive Learning Center for the Remote Island of Puro, Caoayan,” the team brings back the crown to the Philippines in the World Architecture Festival (WAF) after a decade. This year’s WAF took place on November 29 to December 1 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

With Ar. John Derrick R. Dasugo as coach, the winning team is composed of Marvin G. Bayle, Anthony C. Delgado, John Mark Niño C. Fabie, Jade G. Gacusan, Jaimeeh Khariz Paet, Gianne Paula A. Peralta, Raiven Ameri D. Ponce, and Trishia Mae P. Quiming.

The World Architecture Festival organizers first shortlisted entries on November 3, 2023. The participants addressed any of the following contexts in designing their proposed built environment: the enabling of potential (schools), the encouragement of community (libraries, local centers), the promotion of health (sports centers), the delivery of healthcare (hospitals, medical centers), the provision of comfort (hospices, refuges), the provision of support (housing with care), the inclusion of nature (biophilic/bioclimatic design), the nourishing of civic life (streets, squares, parks, public spaces), the benefits of connection (stations, bridges, airports), the inspiration of culture (galleries, concert halls, museums), and the provision of sustainability (long life, loose fit, low energy). Balay Arapaap responds to these contexts in its design as an “inclusive informal learning center for the remote island of Puro, Caoayan.” The project’s intent was to address the lack of educational spaces in the area.

According to Kanto (the media partner of WAF 2023), the jurors were “impressed with how the team was able to package it into a complex, replicable design.” Taking inspiration from Puro’s estuary where the tide meets the stream, Balay Arapaap is composed of three main structures on stilts.

The Architecture students shared that the designs are patterned from the Philippine bahay kubo (nipa hut). With this, it is hoped that communities can easily replicate the design depending on their needs.

Moreover, bamboo was chosen as the primary material in reference to the island’s name Caoayan (kawayan) and its wide availability in the country.

According to Kanto, the jury commended the project’s aim to “uplift the spirit” of its community. They were also impressed with the design’s water feature. Hence, they “went above and beyond” what was expected.

“With a beautifully designed proposal and a well-resolved plan, the jurors then tested the team on the intricacies and replicability of their entry. The students were able to respond to each question despite the pressure of being on stage for the first time and ended by underlining that BALAY ARAPAAP hopes to build dreams one step at a time,” Kanto added.

With their victory, Team UNP defeated other shortlisted entries including teams from the University of East London (United Kingdom), the Interior Architecture El Salvador (Latin America), the Architectural Design and Theory Research Center of Southeast University (China), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and the Manchester Metropolitan University (United Kingdom).

Accordingly, the historic win marks the Philippines’ return to the global student program after its first shortlist placement and grand prize win in 2013 with the University of San Carlos‘s Village in a Box.

More notably, this victory is among the series of awards brought by the College of Architecture, with Dr. Fatima Nicetas R. Alonzo at the helm, to the University this year. Three entries earned places in the EULAT Manila Architectural Workshop Contest held by Instituto Cervantes, an international organization which promotes Hispanic culture. Another team placed third in First Asian Cultural Heritage Conservation and Utilization Proposal competition in Sun Yat-sen University in China. Likewise, two entries aced second and seventh places, respectively, in the ArchiNEXT: HCG Young Designers’ Competition organized by the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP).


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