Ambitious visions with an intention to offer solutions to pressing challenges. This is what characterizes the 12 architectural initiatives that are already winners at this year’s World Architecture Festival Awards.
According to Archdaily.com, these 12 WAFX Awards winners were chosen from the festival’s Future Projects category. “The 2021 WAFX Awards celebrate project proposals from across the world tackling today’s global issues, ranging from pandemic control and the climate emergency, to social equity, cultural identity, aging populations, and food supply.” The WAF is already on its 13th year and considered to be among the most prestigious architecture events in the world.
Two of the dozen winners have their project sites in the Philippines and are projects of Calma Properties Inc. which is known for its modern, inventive yet sleek aesthetic.
One is a conceptual residential high-rise based on the design of bahay kubo stilts, incorporating strategically placed greens so that the structure looks like it’s a living, growing structure, supposedly a vertical representation of the rice fields that previously covered the Laguna project site. The structure includes a museum for architecture hence the project name, Museum for Architecture + Residences, a collaboration with Sou Fujimoto Architects.
The second winning future project is called Cagbalete Sand Clusters which is envisioned to be a sustainable mixed-use development geared to help the farmers and fishermen of this island in Quezon Province. The initiative mixes farming components with leisure activities as in a farm-to-table dining experience. The building’s shape takes after the corals found in the waters surrounding the island.
Juan Carlo Calma, the man behind Calma Properties, Inc., sees the museum slash condo as a cloud-like tower—and it seems to be a suitable description given the loftiness of the idea behind it: a museum that brings the past, present and future together in one space, and residential units focused on wellness. “Since each residential unit has an onsen— with generous balconies and trees,” the architect tells ANCX.
Meanwhile, the Cagbalete project is made up of different modules that can be reassembled to create spaces that, in Calma’s words “blur the boundary between nature and artifice.” The Sand Clusters concept incorporates the farm-to-table restaurant as a way to introduce the area’s mud-crab farming to visitors. Private homes coexist among the development’s restaurant, wellness grotto, salt pools, and gallery spaces.
The structure is built in a way that it’s easy to replicate it in different remote islands “in a more sustainable and faster way,” the architect adds. Calma says the Cagbalete Sand Clusters was a concept born during quarantine and was meant originally as his brother’s private residence. It’s a project that will allow the architect to explore new materials and systems, “and transform something that is everyday like hapa nets that is used in fisheries, mud-crab farming and even sleeping in kulambo,” into architectural material. “I think that adds to the richness of the project, [apart from] we can also teach the community to make the molds and create these organic spaces.”
The architect is happy both these projects were recognized in the World Architecture Festival. “Once these projects are realized and completed, we would be in a post-pandemic world and we’re hoping they would bring inspiration, hope and encourage a better way of living,” he says. “It can also hopefully inspire more people to look at sustainable construction practices, innovation on materials, and go for more green solutions as well as spaces that create a sense of community.”