For someone who has joined one of the world’s most high-profile architecture competitions, JR Santos of John Ryan Santos + Partners is surprisingly self-effacing and reticent. When asked how he would like his work to be described or remembered, Santos says, “I actually do not wish to be remembered. I prefer the comfort of obscurity and anonymity. “I want our work to be remembered as reliable infrastructure.”

John Ryan Santos + Partners

The firm is one of four Filipino design teams that have made it as finalists at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2019. This year, the WAF has 534 projects from 70 countries competing in 33 categories. The annual festival gives out three grand prizes: World Building of the Year, Future Project of the Year, and Small Project of the Year.

Santos’ entry, shortlisted in the Future Projects – Health category, is a “resilient and self-sustaining” compact hospital,  Sagip-Kanlungan, currently under construction in Pangasinan, Philippines.

The five-year-old firm, John Ryan Santos + Partners, works exclusively on healthcare projects, a specialty Santos has focused on as a solo practitioner since 2004. He decided to join the WAF to share the ideas he and his team have been developing on hospital design, particularly in response to the economic realities in disaster-prone Philippines.

Other Filipino finalists:

The competition process for John Ryan Santos + Partners

Since Sagip Kanlungan is not yet a completed project, the grand prize John Ryan Santos + Partners is vying for is Future Project of the Year.

To qualify for the grand prize, Santos must first win in his category, Future Projects – Health, where he is competing against six other finalists: Beijing Archinest, Mochly-Eldar Architects, New Wave Architecture Studio, P Landscape, TPO Reserve, and White Arkitekter AB/DIFK Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche / ÅF Engineering AS (see their projects below).

Each finalist gets 10 minutes to present their project before a live jury and audience, including their competitors. After that, they have eight minutes to answer questions from the panel of judges.

With over 500 finalists competing in 33 categories, about 10 or more live crit sessions take place simultaneously every half-hour on the first two days of the festival. At the end of each day, festival organizers announce the names of the category winners.

Should John Ryan Santos + Partners win the Future Project – Health category, they will then compete on the third day of the WAF against the winners of the 12 other Future Project categories: Civic, Commercial Mixed-Use, Competition Entries, Culture, Education, Experimental, House, Infrastructure, Leisure-Led Development, Masterplanning, Office, and Residential.

They go through the same process, presenting their project to a “Super Jury,” and answering the judges’ questions. The grand prize winners are revealed at a gala dinner at the end of the third and last day of the WAF.

Future Project – Health Finalists:

John Ryan Santos + Partners

Sagip-Kanlungan A Compact Hospital Model for Disaster-Prone Rural Philippines in Pangasinan, Philippines. For the design concept, read the article here.

Beijing Archinect International Architectural:

THE KEY Health and Well-being for Alzheimer’s Patients Through Architecture in Providence, USA

Mochly-Eldar Architects:

International Medical Cluster in Skolkovo, Moscow



P Landscape:

Pink Park Village in Bangkok, Thailand


Kommunarka Hospital with Maternity Center in Moscow, Russia

White Arkitekter AB / DIFK Dipl. -Ing. Florian Kosche / AF Engineering AS:

Psychiatric clinic in Nuuk, Greenland

Previous winners from the Philippines are:

In 2017, BAAD Studio’s The Sunken Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes of Cabetican, Bacolor, won the Future Project – Civic category. In addition, it was acknowledged as Highly Commended for Future Project of the Year.

In 2016, Leandro V. Locsin Partners and Furunes’ Streetlight Tagpuro, won Small Project of the Year. Streetlight Tagpuro is an orphanage and community center in Tacloban for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

In 2013, Students of the University of San Carlos, won the grand prize in the Student Charlette Competition against teams from Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Singapore, and India.

Images courtesy of World Architecture Festival

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]