Anthology Festival 2021: Adapting Architecture That Brings Us Together In A Time of Separation

March 30, 2021



Shan Arcega

Here are just some of the highlights that summarize Anthology Festival 2021, which was anchored on the theme: Our City.

Like nature and people, design in architecture changes and thrives in it. In Anthology Festival 2021’s online event, Our City, the world of architecture and design spotlights over 30 speakers, four lectures, three competitions, six panel discussions, five interviews, and three exhibits from March 19 to 21. All of which focus on how architecture redefines itself in cities that challenge experts to explore different fields in the pursuit of creating more cohesive and collaborative communities. 

This idea is highlighted in one of the event’s highlight segments: anthology sessions where architects, designers, and educators exchange ideas about architecture in cities. The first anthology session was opened by the principal architect of WTA Architecture and Design Studio and festival founder, William Ti Jr. who points out that architecture must always adapt to connect everyone as a foundation for building collaborative communities. 

We look at planning not just as a master plan. We look at it as, every individual building counts. Especially social infrastructure because that’s what really brings us all together,” he shares as an outlook on WTA’s view on social architecture. 

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Ti also adds in this session that architecture must go beyond building structures. Whether an architectural piece is set in bustling mega cities like Metro Manila or in intimate rural provinces, architecture must also adapt a social aspect that doesn’t alienate anyone. 

A great example of this outlook on social architecture is the firm’s award-winning work on the St. Scholastica Chapel in Northern Samar. Set in the courtyard of a missionary hospital, the structure is an uninterrupted mass of wall planes made of treated abaca fibers called almacan wrapped around a lightweight steel frame that takes on an abstract form of hands folded up in prayer. Alongside its stained glass windows, the structure is made of local materials (even the beautiful stained glass windows).

We try to create social intimacy by building hyperlocal spaces. Spaces the belong to the community,” says Ti. “And so, that’s why we built this chapel. It serves that fishing village particularly. and the other idea is about building barrier-free spaces, opening spaces up because often, architecture actually discriminates against so many people.” 

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Meanwhile, Sou Fujimoto who is famous for his work on the contemporary Serpentine Gallery in London concludes the three-day event by highlighting projects that not only successfully and ingeniously interacts with human communities but also embraces nature in holistic designs. In this session, Fujimoto highlights the fundamental importance of architecture that can be flexible enough to protect and bring us closer to nature which is primarily an unpredictable element. 

These two anthology sessions and architects are just some of the event’s highlights. If you missed the three-day event and would love to experience the entire event yourself, here are links to the recorded three days:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

That, and look forward to next year’s anthology fest which hopefully can be enjoyed on site like the past festivals. All in all, “Our City” shows that architecture can be, in a way, its own organism evolving alongside people and nature.

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