By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.NET MANILA, Philippines -- In an effort to promote excellence among the country's budding architects and design engineers, Environments Global Foundation (EGF) launched two programs aimed at the country's architecture and engineering educational institutions. EGF is a corporate social responsibility group of the architectural and construction group Environments Global. The two programs are the Lines to Lives Academic Excellence Award in Architecture and the Red Point Award. The Lines to Lives is a planned annual search for the most outstanding student of architecture. Participating students must have a grade point average of 1.25, with no failure or incomplete grades. EGF has partnered with the University of the Philippines, University of Sto. Tomas, and the Mapua Institute of Technology as part of the pilot program of the Lines to Lives, which would run from 2008 to 2009. There would be three final winners for Lines to Lives and each will receive P150,000. Meanwhile, the Red Point Award is an undertaking between AGF and the Council of Deans and Heads of Architecture Schools in the Philippines. Its purpose is to find the best thesis from architecture students in the country. Similar to Lines for Lives, there will also be three final winners for Red Point Award and each will win P100,000 each. Winners will be announced and awarded in June 2009. In an interview, EGF President Antony Zubiri said the two programs aim to encourage budding architecture students to excel in their chosen course. He said the Philippines' architectural schools produce among the best architects who work in major design companies abroad. "By providing students with a venue to develop their skills, we will create an environment for excellence among future Filipino architects," Zubiri said.
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By Fung Yu, Contributor INQUIRER.net Author's note: This article uses Apple’s QuickTime technology in providing an immersive experience by means of virtual reality panoramas. QuickTime is required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.0Mb each. THE PHILIPPINE School of Interior Design (PSID) in cooperation with The Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP) celebrates 40 years of excellence in interior design education through its graduation exhibit "Forty, Filipino, & Fabulous," also dubbed as F3. The exhibit showcases masterfully designed and executed interior spaces that center on Philippine furniture as its focus. The exhibit aims to promote the ingenuity and creativity of Filipino designed furniture pieces in fabulous interior settings. F3 guarantees the fusion of furniture and interior design as a formidable tandem in creating livable, functional, and aesthetic spaces. The exhibit center on 19 fabulous interior design settings executed by the graduates of PSID’s advance class of 2007. Each group was paired off with a manufacturer from the CFIP, working together to bring to life these wonderful interior settings. It took each group around three months for design conceptualization and 3 weeks of simultaneous construction at the exhibit venue to finally realized this milestone. Below are the 360-degree VRs of each booth in order of their original arrangement. The exhibit is still ongoing until October 31st at the basement of the Paseo Center along Paseo de Roxas in Makati City. Dalisay (Click here for VR) Korona (Click here for VR) Dekada ’40 (Click here for VR) Ang Unggoy? (Click here for VR) Entrada (Click here for VR) Bunso (Click here for VR) Suwabe (Click here for VR) Rikado (Click here for VR) Serbesa (Click here for VR) Silong (Click here for VR) Taw Hay (Click here for VR) Silid ni Malakas (Click here for VR) Sanktuaryo (Click here for VR) Tengopono (Click here for VR) Pelikula (Click here for VR) Diwata (Click here for VR) Lilok (Click here for VR) Salapid (Click here for VR) Sampaguita (Click here for VR) Text and graphical sketches taken from the press kit of F3. For full descriptions and other details, please visit their website. All VRs produced in October 2007. This writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.firefly.ph.
By Alex Vergara Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--When Butch Nayona and Sylvia Bautista hired the services of architect Dante Aguirre to design their respective condo units sometime ago, the two accomplished singles had a number of requirements that were quite similar. Nayona and Bautista have yet to meet each other, but like thousands of nameless, faceless executives based in Metro Manila, they work long hours in the office. Since both live alone most of the time, they have precious little time to spare fussing over minute details. In short, they each wanted a practical and functional place to come home to at the end of a long, hard working day. Yet their tastes and personalities couldn’t have been more different. “Both units can be classified as modern fusion,” says Aguirre. “I opted for modern bedrooms and resorted to a mixture of themes in other spaces based on what they like.” Nayona asked Aguirre to design a bedroom that could lull him to sleep even during the day. “As a call center manager, I used to work odd hours,” Nayona explains. “I wanted a room that’s dark and minimalist enough to help me quickly fall asleep.” Nayona has since left the call-center industry to strike out on his own as a human resources training consultant. But he retained the look of his Pasig unit, including the master bedroom with its “walk-in bathroom” and ash-gray walls. He converted a second, much smaller room into a library. “Since the bathroom came with a shower stall, I asked Dante to do away with the door,” he says. Low bed When there are visitors, Nayona merely locks the door leading to his bedroom-cum-office to get some privacy while doing his morning rituals. Apart from a series of built-in shelves, he opted for a low bed covered in dark sheets to set it off from the bleached narra floor. “A low bed is quite practical,” he says. “I can sit on it, work on it and even tie my shoes [while sitting on it] without me completely bending my back or lifting my legs.” To keep the wooden shelves from “moving” with the temperature, Aguirre had them sealed “to the last grain” with light gray automotive paint, which also imparts them with a matte sheen that contrasts nicely with the dark bedroom walls. If the mood in Nayona’s bedroom is a bit wintry, the opposite is evident in the unit’s public areas. In lieu of gray, Aguirre opted for homey summer shades such as brick red, beige and mocha. He also did away with hardwood floors in favor of shiny granite. The living room’s entertainment center is set off by a portion of the wall rendered in chiseled terra cotta, making the flat-screen TV and other high-tech gadgets focal points in themselves. A series of built-in compartments and wall-mounted shelves mirrors a similar set-up in the dining area. In lieu of compartments, Nayona opted for a long, L-shaped wooden seat that rests permanently on the wall. “The dining table also doubles as my work table because I now work half of the time at home,” he says. “I have no intention of moving any of my chairs.” A series of built-in wooden shelves in the dining area features various accent pieces Nayona acquired from his travels to Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The Oriental theme is repeated in an indoor Japanese rock garden complete with faux bamboo shoots that sits by the unit’s window. Mood “I find Japanese and Korean pieces very subtle,” he says. “I prefer them over ornate pieces usually associated with the Chinese.” It’s a good thing Nayona had the foresight to buy two adjacent units. He asked Aguirre to knock down the wall separating the two units before he had him redesign the entire space. Apart from a mood corridor complete with ecclesiastical symbols and a small indoor fountain set on a pedestal and illuminated by cove lighting, the additional space afforded Nayona, who loves to cook, a bigger-than-usual kitchen. Cabinets and sliding drawers made of kiln-dried wood and opaque glass betray their owner’s penchant for organization. For a more modern touch, he settled for an ochre backsplash made of tempered glass paired with shiny granite countertops. Bautista, on the other hand, wanted a bedroom that’s bright and easy to maintain. She also requested Aguirre to design a number of built-in cabinets for storage as well as aesthetic purposes. “Short of asking Dante to remove all those unsightly indoor plumbing,” says the customer services manager of an American multinational company, “I asked him to cover them with functional as well as faux cabinets.” Aguirre did that and more. Since not all pipes can be concealed under cabinets, he resorted to such devices as beams and cove lighting, evident in Bautista’s grayish green master bedroom with a padded leather headboard. Geomancy Bautista consulted a feng shui master in Manila before she moved into her two-story, two-bedroom Mandaluyong unit a couple of years ago. Fortunately, Aguirre didn’t have to do major rework to conform to the geomancer’s recommendations. “I had my headboard padded so that my head won’t be directly under a beam when I sleep,” she explains. “I also had Dante wrap sharp edges in my room with leather pads.” Since it’s not often one encounters a high-ceilinged stairwell in a condo unit (if there’s one at all!), Aguirre didn’t let the space go to waste. He had a blown-up picture of a sunflower framed and nailed to the ceiling as a focal point. A round light diffuser (or, in this case, enhancer) made of countless strings of shiny fiberglass dangles from the ceiling-mounted photo and casts its irregular shadow on the wall. Aguirre also did a wall installation made of dried plants, including fragrant eucalyptus leaves, by the stairs. The sunflower’s color, actually, ties in with the first floor’s color scheme, which ranges from dusty orange to rich ochre. The color scheme gradually changes from orange to lime green, warm to cool, fall to spring, as one climbs the naturally varnished stairs and into the two bedrooms on the second floor. To add an illusion of space in the dining room, which also doubles as a sitting area, Bautista had a huge mirror installed beside the four-seat dining table. “The mirror also doubles the amount of blessings that have come my way,” she says. Unlike Nayona, however, Bautista has very little time to cook so she settled for a smaller kitchen. Even then, Aguirre designed a small, but charming space for her to prepare breakfast and cook the occasional pasta. The pink kitchen, as Aguirre describes it, is infused with shots of silver and gray in the form of accent tiles to give the area a modern feel. Instead of brooms and other cleaning implements, Bautista keeps her dozens upon dozens of shoes (it seems no woman can have enough of ’em) in a “secret” compartment in the kitchen, right underneath the stairs. Rather than do it alone, Aguirre believes in collaborating with his clients. There’s no other way to do it, he says, if you both want to produce a finished product that’s mutually acceptable. For instance, he asked Bautista to source for curtains and various accent pieces, including Oriental-inspired tableware. “A designer can’t do it alone,” says Aguirre, who is scheduled to leave for Canada to work on several design projects. “I always encourage my clients to improve on their respective units so their personalities would eventually come out through their homes.” Photo courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
By Marcos de Guzman Jr. Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--Do you believe that the design of a house can affect the relationships between family members? Most definitely. While it is true that the basic function of a house is shelter, proper design can actually bring families closer and enhance relationships. The size of the house is not as important as its functionality. When planning to build or improve your home, consider these tips, which have been known to inspire family interaction. Living room The living room, which I would rather call the family room, is the place wherein the members can stay, play or even pray together. In designer houses, it is not fashionable to have a TV set in the living room. However, in the average house, this is where the entertainment center is found. Just ensure that the TV set is not the sole focal point of the room and that other activities can take place there simultaneously. Dining room The dining room must be situated in one of the most comfortable spots in the house. Do not put TV sets in this area. Mealtime is the best opportunity to hold family discussion, so keep this family time focused. Try to include a place for a breakfast caddy where oven toasters, microwave ovens, coffee makers and water dispensers can be stored, near the actual dining area. This will teach the children to help themselves, instead of relying on other persons to do things for them. Kitchen The kitchen must be properly planned for time and motion efficiency. If planned well, this may be the best area in the house where the kids can learn how to organize. A neat and functional kitchen may also arouse the children’s interest in cooking. It would be great to have a double bowl kitchen sink that two people can use simultaneously. Instead of having one kitchen faucet that swivels, install two separate faucets. This type of sink will enable siblings to share the responsibility of washing dishes, which could make the task more enjoyable. Bedroom Do not put a TV set inside your bedroom. This will allow the couple more time to talk to each other and more time for intimacy. Although many people have workstations inside the bedroom, it is advisable to have this in a separate area or tucked away in a corner where it will not distinctly remind you of daily activities and problems, thus affecting your sleep or your attention to your spouse. However, it is all right to have a small writing desk for your journal or short reminders. Some people like to put a refrigerator inside their bedroom, just like in hotels, but this is not always a good idea. It is much better to share meals with the other members of the family rather than eating by yourself. Having food so close at hand can be too much temptation. It is nice to have positive mental attitude triggering mechanisms inside your room. It could be in the form of your family pictures, children’s photos, or pleasant souvenirs from your trips. It can be a picture of religious devotion or a holy icon. It is not necessary to give each of your children his own room. It is important, however, to give each one of them his own space. Siblings of the same gender can share one big room with their own area defined with a divider of sorts for a little privacy. This enables them to interact even while keeping their own space. The bigger room also allows for better ventilation and can be more economical to cool. On the other hand, giving them their own rooms would create too much individualism and will rob them of the opportunity to mingle and communicate. Make sure that lighting is designed carefully, such that each person can get as much or as little as he needs. Bathroom A good time to plan your day could be in the toilet, since it is often the first place you go in the morning. Make enough room in front of the mirror for the couple to use it simultaneously. You do not need two washbasins; one will do, as long as there is sufficient space for a second person. This translates to approximately an additional 15 minutes of available time for spouses to communicate, which is vital if the spouses are always in a hurry every morning. Common spaces If possible, it is better to have a common study area that is comfortable and free of distractions, meaning no TV and no PlayStation. A computer may be placed but strict guidelines when it comes to games and entertainment must be imposed. It is ideal to have only one TV set per home. This ensures that the family members can watch shows together. It likewise allows the family to learn the art of negotiation and reciprocity. Later in life, this skill could prove useful, especially if they decide to go into business together. It would be nice to have a space in the house to store your books and reading materials, with well-lit corners to sit and read. This is one activity that must be encouraged in kids early on. Children’s books should be placed within the child’s reach, while any adult books should be kept away or on higher shelves. These are just a few points that can be considered in designing or renovating a home with family togetherness as the main objective in mind. With careful thought, you can come up with other clever ways to help turn your house into a home with a soul.