Fragments: Uncertainties and Character

Our installation in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale presents the various cultural, social, and political influences that mold the urban character of Manila. Dissecting Manila's urban fabric, it seeks to elaborate how uncertainty and informality allow for a greater growth and creativity. It Illustrates how Manila as a city has fragmented through time and how these fragments have collected into individual communities that demonstrate distinct identities.

The city is our playground. It is that which nourishes and shelters us. The city of Manila has given us the opportunity to create. It is our dreamscape and our reality of boundless possibilities. As architects, we tend to have fantastical visions and unrelenting hops for our city. This table map shows the city of Metro Manila in 1:15,000M scale along with blown up models of our select projects and their neighborhoods in 1:1,000M and 1:2,000M scale.

The map presents a grand view of Metro Manila as seen through our eyes. It illustrates the richness and diversity of typologies and character, which has given us a beloved and enticing setting. The map shows how each neighborhood is perceived and notes peculiar characteristics and flavors that influence and reflect our work and ideas. This city of 12 million souls is bursting at its seams yet continues to provide succor and remains a Camelot for the rest of the Philippines. As a polycentric and sprawling metropolis, Manila has quite a few distinct areas and a wide range of characteristics. The chaos of Manila is evident and yet we find this quite challenging and exciting. It allows us to adapt and shape, to insert and extract. From the CBD’s of Makati and Bonifacio Global City to the old quarters of Chinatown and Intramuros, from the gated subdivisions of Makati and San Juan to the limitless shanties of Tondo and Payatas, from towering skyscrapers to sprawling suburban projects, Manila has it all. It has always been and will always be a rich and diverse backdrop for every architect and designer.

The neighborhood models, lit up here in different colors, show the select projects with which we have contributed to and shaped the city’s growth and development. It is a sampling of the directions and extent which we, as a firm, can evolve the city. The select projects are in white, 3d printed from a Makerbot replicator, while the translucent massings are surrounding sites that we hope to influence and grow our ideas on. These models represent a collection of planning tools and ideas that our firm has employed to bring about, not change, but evolution and development in our built environment.

Metropolitan Manila, fragmented, from an administrative scale of 16 cities and 1 municipality to distinct character neighborhoods and a collection of contrasting typologies and programs, is a city of faith and hope. It is the collective map of the history, politics, and culture of the Filipino people. It is the physical embodiment aspect of the Filipino character. A bewildering mix of contradictions rooted by faith. Faith that tomorrow will be better, that we will always find a way, that a smile can always be found. It is a city of hope, a city we would like to share with you, a city where ideas can grow and prosper.