Designing for Democracy: transparency and sustainability inspire a new Senate for the Philippines

Hua Lv
General Manager
Shenzhen Centralcon Properties And Investment Co., LTD, Shenzhen

The presentation will explore the challenges and strategy used to design a modern democratic institution while adhering to local culture and climatic conditions of the Philippines.

The architectural response to a democratic institution is typically a secure box . The proposal for the senate borrows some of the traditional formal elements, hierarchy and symmetry, but turns the institution upside down, opening up the site and bringing the public realm to the heart of the building. Security is approached through transparency and protection offered through openess. Passive security elements are integrated into the landscape while cameras and AI powered digital awareness systems provide an active response. These strategies ensure the senators receive the highest level of protection while allowing the project to focus on access to the public realm.

Filipinos pride themselves on their multi-cultural heritage and the wealth of their natural environment. Our goal for the Senate was to minimize the towers carbon footprint so it could serve as a case study to future generations. Using sustainable strategies inspired by local solutions we create a building that is built for the future and in harmony with its local surroundings. Inspired by the local clothing 'Barong Tagalog', the building façade breathes and protects its inhabitants through control of daylight, solar gain, natural ventilation and visual privacy. The façade systems is additionally optimized to generate PV power.