Look all around our mega city and it can’t be denied: the pace of development has never been greater. Construction is taking place round the clock with buildings of all types, shapes, and sizes rising to shape the country’s skyline. Distinguishing itself is The Estate Makati, a skyscraper which will be setting the bar for years to come and a true architectural milestone as Foster + Partners embarks on its first foray in the Philippines.
The prestigious firm is known for many of the world’s most popular architectural landmarks such as 30 St. Mary Axe or The Gherkin in London, the Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. headquarters in Hong Kong, and the Hearst Tower in New York.
Their work has been globally recognized by many award-giving bodies and has constantly won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize for its outstanding accomplishments in architecture. Its founder, Norman Foster, is one of the most prolific British architects. He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, equivalent to the industry’s Nobel Prize and was even granted a peerage as Baron Foster of Thames Bank.
He once told BBC, “Since Stonehenge, architects have always been at the cutting edge of technology. And you can’t separate technology from the humanistic and spiritual content of a building. A good architect should have an open mind, energy, an appetite for hard work, a willingness to explore new solutions and push boundaries.” It is with this same fervor the firm has dedicated to designing The Estate Makati, incorporating never before seen technologies and practices in the Philippines. “We love to keep our life interesting. We love to push the envelope. We love to keep innovating,” said Roland Schnizer, Senior Architect, Foster + Partners. “We do not like to repeat ourselves and in the particular case of our beautiful residential project here, in a way it builds on 30 years of residential projects we’ve done. The point for us is the next one has to be the best yet.”
Building The Estate Makati
When designing both the exterior and interior of The Estate Makati, Schnizer discovered a few things unique to Manila, all of which were crucial to the firm’s design for The Estate Makati. “For me, there are two things. One, in Makati, is that village experience. We’re all used to the traffic, but fortunately enough, you make a turn, and you disappear into these villages—you have this beautiful, calming entrance experience before you arrive at your house. The other thing I was personally interested in was the larger family life—the extended family is very prevalent here. And the client challenged us to deliver flexible layouts to allow that to occur.” To accommodate this request, the final design allows homeowners to fully personalize their units, allowing them to change the design as time goes by, as their needs change, or as their families grow. It’s an acknowledgment that in the Philippines, family always comes first.
To solve this architectural challenge, the concept of having a column-less layout was envisioned. Working closely with W.V. Coscolluela Associates and the building’s structural engineers, Foster + Partners incorporated a column-free design and made use of double-slab construction technology.
“There is not a single column in the units,” says Schnizer, who further explained the structural integrity of the building comes by way of cantilevered beams, “So you wouldn’t have columns that would in the future interfere with or interrupt your flexible layout, allowing the resident to design and furnish it any way you want. The only limitation is your imagination.”
Putting in mind the living ideals of its future residents, Foster+Partners conceptualized the cruciform design of the building, allowing utmost privacy and exclusivity. Double-glazed windows are also angled by 10 degrees to provide shade, minimal exposure from the sun’s rays, and privacy yet still offer scenic views of the city.
Recreating the “village experience,” Foster + Partners designed a long, rising driveway from the street to a secluded drop-off point. It will be flanked all the way on both sides by tall, arching trees which will provide residents a short but relaxing journey where they are shielded from the sun and prying eyes as they get to the lobby in unequalled privacy.
The subtle elegance continues inside in the tastefully appointed main lobby, cozy private lounges and library. As there are only 4 units to a floor, waiting for an elevator will only take a few seconds. Arriving at your floor, it’s home sweet home.
“The building must be appreciated as a whole, it’s not just the design that’s important,” Schnizer adds. You choose between spacious 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom flats or multi-level super penthouse and sub-penthouse suites, whatever best fits the lifestyle you imagine for you and the family. Both the common areas and bedrooms of all units will come with white natural stone and marble finishes and touches of grey for the kitchen. “Of course, we will build a beautiful building. But it’s that quality of experience, that sets this building apart. In addition to the architecture, we are also doing the interiors, and in particular, bespoke, one-off elements. I think it makes a complete package. Not a mix-and-match, but a complete package.”
High Style Living
It goes without saying, to make this “complete package” work, the human touch must not be taken for granted. Residents will be pampered by the personalized butler and concierge service, with staff who can accommodate requests ranging from catering needs to laundry. Food and parcel deliveries will also be discreetly received by the well-trained staff. On the 2nd floor amenities, you can sign up for one-on-one yoga classes, while on the 25th floor, you can enjoy wine-tasting sessions with friends.
The Estate Makati will be a game-changer, revolutionizing the way we view luxury living. There’s nothing quite like it, says Schnizer. “On this project, we really worked hard so you get an unforgettable experience, from the minute you arrive through the gates, the beautiful tree-lined drive up to an amazing view point on Ayala Avenue, every step along the way, it is special, exclusive. The private lifts, the ‘wow factor’ in the units—it is all fantastic.”