Design Against the Elements (DATE) is an international shelter design competition that aims ‘to build the first green, liveable, affordable, and disaster-resilient village in the Philippines that will serve as the blueprint for other communities threatened by climate change.’ It is a collaborative effort between the Quezon City Government, the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), San Miguel Properties, Inc., and MyShelter Foundation.
Much has been said by various environmental activists about the current state of our planet due to man’s careless existence and much has also been sacrificed during last year’s still nostalgic tragedy brought by typhoon Ondoy’s (Ketsana) fury. So in a time where probably the world seemed to have been bitten by the ‘green bug’ and the principles and theories of sustainable building and living has slowly found its root in the construction industry, it is quite refreshing to see the tangible efforts between the government’s limited resources and the private sector’s business and technical expertise pulling together and materializing in this one housing design competition.
DATE is the first green design competition I’ve been to and/or have heard of that not only focuses on sustainability and energy-efficiency but stresses more as well on the part of disaster risk reduction management. Again this is most probably in light of the need for disaster-resilient structures which can withstand the inevitable forces of nature. True enough, one professor of mine was right when he said that green building is ‘a holistic intermarriage of multidisciplinary approach in design’ which most of the entries I’ve seen in the exhibit have verified.
I obviously need to keep myself updated (I haven’t been reading the Property section in the broadsheets lately) so for a student like me, the exhibit was especially a plenty well source of information on what is currently new and trending in the green design realm. Predilections of mine are locally sourced building and finishing materials that provide sustainable solutions (like salt-water treated bamboo, rice husk ash in cement, finely crushed shell plaster finish, shell mosaic tile, etc.) which I unabashedly jotted down and specific building and planning concepts which I might get my hands on in the future.
There were a lot of entries I was not able to scan but there is this one design element from entry no. 165 (which if I’m not mistaken was inspired by a water hyacinth) I completely agreed upon and can’t help but to finally quote,
“Living things allow a natural order that may be ruthless in their need to find the best solution to the problem of surviving. It is this reason why nature is the best inspiration for resilience... the kind of resilience that is needed for climate change.”