Philippine Daily Inquirer
CAGBALETE AND NUVALI PROJECTS WIN INT’L ARCHITECTURE AWARDS
Carlo Calma’s firm bags two out of 12 special prizes at 2021 World Architecture Festival Awards
Known for avant-garde projects, architectural firm Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. won two out of the 12 special prizes in this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAFX) Awards.
The 2021 WAFX Awards acknowledges international project proposals that address such global issues as food and water supplies, aging populations, climate energy and carbon, etc.
The WAFX winners are chosen from entries in the Future Projects category for their purpose and scope. The overall winner will be named at the 2021 World Architectural Festival, a live event that will be held from Dec. 1 to 3 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Carlo Calma Consultancy’s ecotourism and farm development, whose structures were inspired by the corals in Cagbalete, Quezon, merited an award in the food category while a museum/residential condominium with terraced floors and a vertical forest in Nuvali won in the construction technology category. The target completion date for both projects is 2023.
The other winners include the Zayed National Museum which will showcase Abu Dhabi’s heritage and growth (cultural identity), Shenzhen Qianhai Telecommunication Centre, cited as the world’s first highrise data center (digital technology) and a quick installation, modular hospital/isolation center to address surges in viral outbreaks (health) in Shanghai, to name a few.
A third entry from the Philippines, titled “Horizon Manila” by architect William Ti Jr., won in the water category. Designed to accommodate urban growth, the 419-hectare master plan for a new district includes a 4-kilometer canal park in Manila.
Some architectural e-news platforms have cited the uniqueness of the ecotourism project in Cagbalete, dubbed as an island paradise in Quezon. Pandemic fears and the claustrophobia of restrictions have forced a client to build a second home in the province.
Calma’s client acquired a 3.8ha property which is envisioned as a mixed-use development, called the Cagbalete Sand Clusters. It will consist of a private home, a farm-to-table restaurant (with Gallery by Chele, Calma’s restaurant, as consultant), a garden for seasonal vegetables, multilevel galleries, a lighthouse and wellness pods with swimming pools.
Developer Calma Properties Inc. will build houses on 12 farm lots, ranging from 3,000- to 3,500-square meters and a private boatyard.
Pegged on ecotourism, the development aims to preserve the natural environment and bring livelihood to the community.
“Since this is an agricultural land, the project has to be built in an ethical way with a faster and less wasteful construction method,” says Carlo Calma, London-trained creative director of Calma Consultancy Inc. “Looking at the site, we set up a mud crab farm to prevent soil erosion. The mud crabs will eventually be part of the restaurant’s menu.”
The design—a nod to the scalloped shell and corals—is a series of prefabricated modular units shaped as hyperbolas (an open curve with two branches).
“The units can be
stacked like Lego blocks or pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. One unit consists of five modules that you can rotate, flip or move it around in different ways. You can make different spatial arrangements out of them. Every unit will be unique,” says Calma.
Depending on the assembly, the final structure will either look like a cluster of sand castles or a coral colony, he adds.
The hapa net, a fine mesh which contains the fish in a pond, becomes a design element that adds texture and lends a sense of place. At this writing, the prototypes of the modules are being tested, and mud crabs have been planted on site.
To prevent the effects of salt air, the modules will be made of a combination of noncorrosive materials—glass fiber reinforced concrete and glass fiber reinforced polymer rebar—for longevity and lightness.
One of Calma’s design innovations is elevating the plain solar panels, which generate power for the house, into solar umbrella pods. “There are things in market that don’t have quality in design. We are turning these panels into sculptural pieces that are functional and sustainable even on small a scale. Its application of technology starts with the house,” he says.
The first phase of construction, the private home with four bedrooms, is targeted for completion in December.
The Museum for Architecture + Residences (MFAR) in Nuvali, Laguna, is a 100-meter luxury condominium tower and an exhibit and performance space. Developed by Calma Properties, it was designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto with Carlo Calma Consultancy and Lor Calma and Partners as the local counterparts.
Fujimoto is famous for making spaces where inhabitants feel is if they are close to the sky or in a grove.
Asked how it won the construction technology, Calma replied, “It pushes the typology of a residential tower. There are deep cantilevers which act like extended branches. It’s a feat of engineering that’s why we have international consultants.”
To take advantage of the views of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Mt. Makiling and lake of Nuvali, the building will be transparent. The exterior will be a series of cantilevers that double as canopies for weather protection and wraparound balconies. These have a minimum grid of five meters that serve as lawns in the sky.
“Trees will be planted in individual pots for efficient maintenance. Some 200 trees in varying heights and weights will be scattered around the tower to emulate a vertical forest. These also require engineering calculation. We are looking for flower-bearing plants so that the building can evoke that ‘cherry blossom feeling.’”
The design follows the basic modular grid system, a method that facilitates structural integrity and efficient space planning.
Calma explains that MFAR has similarities with Fujimoto’s Serpentine Pavilion, a translucent, latticed structure with stepped terraces in London’s Hyde Park. The building in Nuvali will be wide at the bottom and gradually slims down towards the penthouse.
“I see Fujimoto’s language of architecture in the Philippine context. This style is transparent and light. He calls it the cloud tower. The grid, likewise, is suggestive of the bahay kubo’s bamboo grid,” says Calma.
He explains that the structure will be a typology or new classification of a tower with a vertical forest and wellness components.
The 32 luxury units have wide cuts ranging from 90-sq m for a one-bedroom condo to 440-sq m penthouse. Instead of the usual swimming pool for the residents, each unit will have an onsen, a Japanese-style hot spring and bathing facility, sauna and steam room.
“Beside the building is an open garden/park which will make the entrance to the museum. This part will be submerged into an arena where we can hold performances, movie screenings and special events,” Calma says.
“In all, the tower will offer a different way of living when the structure is completed in three years. You won’t feel isolated or claustrophobic in your apartment during another lockdown because you connect with nature.”