Friday, January 31, 2014

DOST, Ortigas, Habitat for Humanity join forces to build climate-adaptive houses

Manila, Philippines—Property developer Ortigas & Co., in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Habitat for Humanity, launches a landmark campaign post-Yolanda that is deemed to lead the future of climate-adaptive housing in the Philippines.

The project dubbed Build Forward was born out of the tripartite agreement to design a house and school building prototype that will stand the test of time and of the elements for the resettlement sites of Habitat for Humanity. With Ortigas & Co. lending its resources and the technical guidance of DOST, this design would be sourced from no less than the country’s young talents. 

“Ortigas is an 83-year old property developer. We have seen the trends in construction and architecture. We have seen the needs of the people change from the day we started developing some of our subdivisions back in the 1970s until today. And today, as seen in the devastating effects of Typhoon Yolanda, Filipinos need something radically different, which is climate adaptive infrastructure,” says Joey Santos, General Manager of the Real Estate Division, Ortigas & Co.

Engaging young talent

Build Forward activates a nationwide design competition for architecture students enrolled in a Philippine college or university. Their challenge is to work on a house and school design with three considerations: durability, cost, and construction time, using locally sourced and readily available materials. The proposed design should be strong enough to withstand an intensity eight earthquake and wind gusts of up to 250 kilometers per hour.

Ortigas highlights the parameters of the design: The house should be at least 36 square meters with two bedrooms, one toilet and bath, kitchen, and living space. Construction time should be a month and a half within a budget of P200,000.00. The school building should have four classrooms and one toilet and bath with a minimum area of 63 square meters per classroom. Construction time should just be two months with a budget of P1,200,000.00, with the design allowing versatility for the school to become an evacuation center in times of crisis situations.

From the entries culled between January to March 28, five designs would be chosen to undergo a wind tunnel test, supervised by DOST, that imitates the conditions during Yolanda. This January, Ortigas has officially opened an online registration facility ( for the full set of mechanics.

Prototype usage

Habitat for Humanity will be using the winning design for the construction of the houses in Yolanda-ravaged areas. It has a target to build 30,000 core houses and distribute 30,000 shelter repair kits in the next three years.

“Suppose each core house would cost about P200,000, Habitat would be needing at least P6-billion to meet the construction target. It’s a tough mission for us, but we are glad to have some corporate partners like Ortigas & Co. who are willing to lend their resources and expertise,” says Charlie Ayco, CEO and General Manager of Habitat for Humanity.

“We are determined to make a lasting commitment in this program and the rebuild initiatives because apart from helping our countrymen, we are also investing in the future of design,” concludes Santos.

Ortigas & Co. is the developer behind some of the country’s well-loved residential and retail destinations such as Greenhills Shopping Center, Tiendesitas, Capitol Commons, Frontera Verde, Circulo Verde, Greenmeadows, and the Greenhills Subdivisions.

For more information, visit, like Build Forward on Facebook, or follow its twitter handle @BuildForwardPH

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