Out of 32 participants in the MMDA Design Competition for the new MMDA Complex in Ortigas, the number narrowed down to 10. The top 10 were displayed in an exhibit that ran from April 20-24, and were deliberated and finalized on the 25th. The winning conceptual design was by the lone individual entry, number 2018102, by architect Daryl Van D. Abaygar.

The collaboration between the Metro Manila Development Authority and the United Architects of the Philippines Makati Chapter revolved around the theme: “MMDA moving towards a sustainable, resilient, dynamic and people-centered Metropolis.”

Building the concept from the theme, Abaygar created the “Solihiya Moderno.” The design concept emphasizes Filipino imagery and tradition, reimagined and used in a modern setting which the MMDA is moving towards.

Abaygar writes in his proposal, “The proposal, is for the building to not only cater the spatial needs of this organization but to also consider the improvement of 1) the building users, 2) the organization as a whole, and lastly 3) the spatial experience. To achieve this, the Filipino imagery and tradition is re-evaluated, assessed and used as a main tool for design inspiration.”

The design considers the fondness of Filipinos of the shaded outdoor experience that is homey and relaxing. Abaygar creates a gradient between the public and private spaces by making the environs more transparent, spacious, and airy supplemented with green spaces bleeding in between the volumes in the complex.

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The front of the façade incorporates a public plaza, creating a “welcoming open park” fronting the road, also serving as a buffer for the buildings from the hustle and bustle of the road. Abaygar writes, “This assembly grounds and park extends in front and within the buildings to achieve a pedestrian-friendly development that is both convenient and safe. The plaza also marks the starting point of which the development is explored and experienced.”

Abaygar adds, “The idea is that this development should be a model of pedestrianized development in Metro Manila. The design entirely seperates the pedestrian and vehicular circulation in such a way that there is a minimal or almost no intersection between these two.” He also hid the vehicular parking space from public view: private parking at the basement and public parking at the back of the retail. A fire lane is also provided around the site for emergency and fire truck accessibility.

Aside from the spatial experience and the organization of the buildings, the building design also boasts of its silhouette that roots from the traditional forms of the Philippines’ historical structures through a hint of roof apex shaping form. “Upon approach, the building looks very modern and elegant because of its simple form yet very Filipino and memorable because of its iconic silhouette.”

Abaygar made use of solihiya weave pattern, commonly used with rattan material, which he interpreted as a “modern shading material.” He writes, “It is intended that this sunshade pattern blends with the underside glass so that it will look contemporary from afar, while looking very traditionally and culturally detailed from within. This also gives the development a feel of the past while experiencing the modernity of the present.”

The grid layout of the proposed MMDA Complex by Abaygar gives the building the advantage of ease in constructibility and manageable structural impacts, and with its separated volumes, the construction can be divided into phases. “These strategies are budget sensitive so that the design can come into fruition,” Abaygar says.

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Aside from the main offices, the MMDA Complex will also have other facilities. According to the parameters of the design competition, “the project must include the MMDA Main Building, a steel parking building, a hospital, a two-storey commercial building, and other facilities including a sewerage treatment plant, a material recovery facility (MRF), an area for the generator sets, civic areas, parks, and other outdoor spaces as well.”

Hence, Abaygar also designed areas that are publicly available for use: auditorium, sports center, function rooms, multipurpose-area and learning resource center/library. He also included a retail/commercial building that is placed across the pedestrian crossing connecting it with the city golf retail development in front.

Abaygar writes, “The proposal intends to depict a truly unique building that is modern but very Filipino—conveying an imagery of MMDA’s future aspirations but also reflecting our own culture & traditions. It is the belief of the proponent that every Filipino architect should contribute in the strengthening of our national identity, for if we build too much of global architecture, we might miss our chance to build and define our own architecture.” 

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