Residency King Librero

Environmental Design – Melding The Foreign With The Local

During his two-week residency at FoAM Brussels in October 2011, King buried himself in the library, sifting through a range of books on green building and permaculture design. He had several conversations with the team and the visitors, as well as finding a quiet space to distill some of his early ideas about combining local traditions with environmental design.

Modern Philippine housing often takes inspiration from foreign influences. While these designs are definitely appealing to their inhabitants, some of these influences do not fit in well to the local environment. On the other hand, vernacular architecture, while drawn out of generations worth of techniques to address the context of the local culture and climate, has been largely abandoned.

The growing green building movement in the Philippines has already started to revisit the viability of vernacular architecture, but it remains outside the realm of mainstream property development and construction. In fact, green building in general faces its own barriers as it entails costs and adjustments which potential dwellers may not be willing to accommodate.

Perhaps there is a meaningful way of combining the local with the foreign, the modern with the traditional, into a living space design not just for the sake of aesthetics, but also for environmental conditions conducive to the well-being of its inhabitants. The accommodation of modern amenities cannot be discounted. While some of these amenities will lend to it, the harmonious relationship with the immediate environment will very much depend on green and vernacular architectural values applied. Lastly, if possible, this hybrid method of designing should avoid significant increases in building costs that can discourage its adoption.

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