“To avoid the massive nature of large building typologies such as office buildings, voids puncture the mass of the proposed structure, achieving a more human scale to the otherwise massive building while also allowing light and ventilation to reach the lower floors and even the ground plane below,” Buensalido+Architects writes in their design narrative, explaining how a massive volume of the firm’s proposed government office building would be integrated into the contrasting neighborhoods where it would be built.

Buensalido+Architects designed the building with the idea of weaving as the main strategy, from spatial organization, zoning, massing, and its visual manifestation. To mesh the building into the dense and very urban landscape of Ortigas on one side and the low-slung residential subdivisions on the other, they broke the mass into “a relatable human scale, a series of two-storey, L-shaped volumes stacked and interwoven to each other around three central plazas, terraced according to the direction of the slope of the property.”

bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
A linear park lines up the entire perimeter of the building, acting as an additional breathing area not only for the building users but also the immediate community. This could be used to encourage a range of physical activities such as biking and running.

READ MORE: Jason Buensalido’s four points of Philippine culture for architecture

The two-storey volumes’ massing borrow the concept of the traditional bahay na bato, the configuration ensuring access to the ground plane and the outdoor spaces. The second level of each volumes is cantilevered over the one below, shading the lower floor, while its interiors are kept from direct sunlight and heat with brise-soleil, a woven lattice of aluminum slats that densify and loosen up according to orientation and levels of privacy that the interiors require.

bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
A provision for a multi-bay PUV pick-up and drop-off point was integrated into the development, preventing long lines of PUVS that are usually caused by the slow process of boarding and alighting.

Deviant from the typical rigid and imposing character of government buildings, the stacked bahay na bato volumes of the firm’s proposed design evoke “approachability, familiarity, and nostalgia—feelings typically felt in places where we live.” According to Buensalido+Architects, this “encourages the community to actually use the building, and enables the government office to send a message of welcome and openness to the people they serve.”

bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
To reinforce the message of being a pedestrian-centric development, a grand staircase (with integrated ramps) dominates the façade of the building’s base, allowing further access to the elevated public grand plaza.

With the people-centric design of the office complex, access to all the spaces is made easy, which stays true to the bahay na bato module. From the access road, pedestrians are given utmost importance. Covered walkways, circulation lobbies, and a grand staircase with integrated ramps allow access into the development, the commercial areas, the offices in the upper levels, and the elevated public grand plaza. Commuters are also provided a multi-bay PUV pick-up and drop-off points, which aims to prevent long lines of PUVs.

Private and office vehicles are clearly separated, positioned at the rear part of the property, behind the commercial spaces, and tucked under the elevated plaza. The drop-off area is brought into the site, allowing for vehicle queues without disrupting the traffic flow on the main road.

bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
Commercial Spaces are positioned at the front face of the building, terracing progressively along with a grand staircase and al-fresco spaces until the elevated plaza at the 3rd floor. These public spaces are allowed to penetrate select semi-public spaces to ensure that the structure will always be alive with people and activity before, during, and even after office operations of the MMDA.
bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
The amphitheater, thereby allowing a myriad of events to be held – from concerts, to exhibitions, and even the MMDA’s flag ceremony.

Aside from ease of access, the building users are offered with vibrant public spaces, complemented by a network of terracing al-fresco dining spaces, an amphitheater, and sky parks. Dining and other commercial spaces, positioned in front of the building, allow the building to always be alive with people and activity, while the amphitheater allows events to be held in the site, from flag-raising ceremony, exhibitions, to concerts. The sky parks, on the other hand, allow for fitness events, edible gardens, waiting areas, or for expansion in the future.

READ MORE: God, Man, Nature: Amara Chapel by Buensalido+Architects

Buensalido+Architects writes, “Given the lack of commons in the metropolis, the proposed building’s lower open spaces allow the general public, MMDA employees, and guests to mix, co-exist, and interact. A spacious elevated Grand Plaza at the second floor dominates the base of the building; it is accessed through a Grand flight of steps, as if announcing that the complex was built for the public and is welcome to be used by all. By giving the public ownership over this space, the building communicates a spirit of service, a value that the agency aims to uphold.”

The resultant mass of the building is porous, ensuring that ample light and ventilation go through it, and are fairly distributed not only to the lower floors within the site, but also to the neighboring properties. Planting is positioned at every opportunity, limiting the amount of heat that the building absorbs and emits, managing the temperature levels within and around the site.
bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
Spacious open spaces, or sky parks, are distributed at almost every level of the building, allowing multiplicity of uses ranging from parks, fitness areas, edible gardens, and even waiting areas for guests.

Co-existence and interaction among the building users as well as the neighborhood in which it stands, echo the concept of weaving, which, according to Buensalido+Architects, “represents the Filipino culture both tangibly and intangibly.”

“Intangibly, it represents our deep connection with others—weaving is a representation that our idea of a single unit is beyond the self and extends to others,” Buensalido+Architects write in their narrative. While upholding Philippine culture in designing the building, the firm is also rooted in creating an efficient, structurally strong, resilient, and holistically coherent fabric.

Edible and organic gardens and nurseries, as well as provisions for alternative energy (solar and wind) are integrated into the design. All these enable the building to not only act as a government office, but also as a dependable source of energy, food, and other by-products, as well as a shelter or an evacuation center in times of man-made and natural disasters. The building is also enabled to be adapted into multiple functions in the future like a hotel or a condominium building. 

bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
Offices start from the elevated plaza, and are vertically and evenly distributed above, ensuring privacy from the rest of the public spaces. Ease of access to and from the offices are attained by strategically positioning lobbies and vertical circulation spaces all over the development. Depicted here is the Metro Base.
bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
The Library.
bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
The chairman’s office, overlooking one of the many sky parks in the building, unobstructed by the brise-soleil woven into
This project is an entry to the design competition by MMDA and the UAP for the new MMDA Complex in Ortigas. The entry was shortlisted for the semi-finals.


John Patrick Anthony Lumawig Buensalido
Marie Veronique Dayrit Boncan-Buensalido
Emereauldine Teñido Eliseo
Jerome Christian Baylon Bautista
Marcelo Philippe Zotomayor Ramirez
Bayani Cutamora Dela Pasion
Project Team:
Lead Project Architect – Bautista, Jerome Christian Baylon
Project Architects –
Camille Isabel Baens Boncan
Frances Nikko Lavandero Bumanglag
Allan Deeno Montalla Singson
Gerome Gonzales Pacete
Christian Noel David Perez
bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office
bluprint architecture buensalido architects mmda complex government office

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