Sustainability to be new standard for design - Saldana

December 1, 2020 | By: Faye Almazan (as published in The Manila Times last December 1, 2020)

SUSTAINABILITY should be the new standard and environment should be the priority in design, PDP Architects Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Architect Cathy Saldaña said.

Arch. Cathy SaldaIña, managing director and chief executive officer of PDP Architects.

During The Manila Times’ virtual forum “Maximizing and monetizing: Structures and spaces” on Thursday, Saldaña highlighted the design provisions and new responses of masterplanning, architecture and interiors in a post-pandemic setting.

She emphasized that one must “build upon the earth, not subdue it.”

“Sustainability should never be anymore a feature, it should always be a standard now in all our work and our environment is a priority and all of our communities should cradle the #SDG17,” she said.

Saldaña was referring to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which aims to develop a more sustainable future.

The architect also said that a number of government and regulatory laws and rules have to be rewritten, along with the revisitation of the National Building Code, and manage them towards sustainable design.

She also took note of the green building framework which involves the management of development, the use of land and ecology, the importance of energy and water efficiency and conservation, waste management, usage of green materials, transportation, indoor environment quality and measuring emissions.

Saldaña likewise reiterated the importance of preserving the provincial areas of the country, especially amid the government’s Balik-Probinsya program.

She believes provinces can be developed to have the same amenities one enjoys in the city without having to totally alter the landscape by tearing down old structures and putting up modern ones in their place.

The architect emphasized that developers or planners should not make cities out of provinces, that there should be a harmonious co-existence with cultural and traditional icons.

“It’s great for a province to be a city…but preserve, preserve as much as you can. Create strong environmental preservation standards [and] understand that the views and the character of provincial life could really be maintained even if you put in digitalization [and] modern engineering, it is possible,” she said.

Saldaña stressed the need to preserve the heritage of the provinces. They must not be sacrificed for the sake of modernity and urbanization. Heritage sites like old buildings should be preserved as they could become tourist attractions as well as provide residents a link to their past. She even suggested “adaptive reuse” of these structures.

Meanwhile, Saldaña said there are currently real estate opportunities in residential enclaves, luxury escapes, island developments and food sustenance and markets.

While the pandemic may have crippled many businesses, the real estate industry remained resilient and the above-mentioned industries have stepped up to the challenge as people seek places to feel safe and these enclaves provide that security they need.

With regards to communities and townships, extra precautions should be taken into consideration during planning. There needs to be emphasis on isolation, creation of open spaces such as parks and food gardens; areas for delivery and pick-up of goods, security to check on the entry of people, and empowerment of the barangay and community leadership.

Saldaña pointed out the surge in real estate in coastal provinces like Batangas, Bataan, Quezon, Pangasinan, La Union and Zambales, which prompted an improvement of construction standards in these areas, which are in harmony to the surroundings.

The continuing operation of markets, grocery stores and other establishments that sell essential goods add to that sense of security as people need not worry on where to buy food or other essentials.

She added that hubs and spaces like industrial, warehousing, food production, logistics, food storage and delivery depots are also essential amid the change in market demand.
These industries too have risen to the occasion and provided vital services not only to keep the economy afloat, but make sure people will continue to be provided of their basic needs amid the health crisis.


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