Silong Architecture & Design aims to create comfortable and livable spaces while reflecting their clients’ distinctive personality and making sure they stand the test of time. Principal Architect Danielle Jay Aleido shares with BluPrint that the Oroña Residence was the biggest lot he has designed to date, making it a notable project for him.

What was the inspiration behind the design? Are there any unique or innovative features?

To be completely honest, I didn’t have a particular peg for the house than adopting tropical architecture as its main theme. My goal was to come up with a cohesive and contemporary design while having every room speak for itself.

For the house to have a seamless flow, I incorporated multi-door access and cross ventilation systems. I also wanted to maximize the abundance of natural light. So I studied the lot’s sun path to figure out the best position and orientation of each room. I made sure to install floor-to-ceiling windows. Moreover, I made it a point to have sun shades built-in to curb the heat outdoors, and provide an extra layer of privacy without blocking sightlines.

To satisfy the aesthetics of the house, I instructed the master plumber to find a way to hide the downspouts and risers from view. To make this happen, we had to hatch a plan that would direct rainwater to move through the gutters and down the pipe chase at the right side of the house.

My clients’ convenience and peace of mind is always a priority especially for properties with a substantial floor area. I introduced automation throughout the house, such as integrated light switches, motorized curtains, and garage door openers. I also set up CCTV cameras around the premises and an alarm system for security. The cherry on top would be having remote access and control of these devices through the owner’s smartphone.

How does the project integrate with its surroundings and environment?

The residential lot is in a gated village in Sta. Rosa, Laguna with unrivaled views of [a popular Theme Park] on one side and Mt. Makiling on the other. With that in mind, I pitched the idea of having panoramic windows in the entertainment room on the third floor. This allows the client to enjoy the theme park’s fireworks display every Sunday night. I also lobbied for a roof deck where the client can host guests or simply unwind with a cup of coffee while gazing at Mt. Makiling.

Nature surrounded the property. I wanted the occupants to see it from inside the house too. Because of that, I made room for indoor plants and pocket gardens in my design. I envisioned the pool to be the focal point of the property where people can relax and get together. To achieve symmetry and functionality, I planned to nestle the pool in the middle of three structures: the main house, gazebo, and two-storey amenity building.

What are the main goals and objectives of the project?

My main goal will always be to meet, if not surpass client expectations with a structural plan. To achieve this, I drafted a project proposal that marries my signature design with the clients’ personality while being accountable to building requirements.

This project was the client’s dream home and it was my job to turn that dream into reality. The objective was for this property to reflect the client’s journey to success from their humble beginnings. Living in this home should be able to spark happiness and ignite a sense of fulfillment within them. Therefore, it must convey modern luxury, timeless elegance, and stand as the client’s little piece of paradise.

What were the challenges you faced during the design process? How did you address them?

While it took time to conceptualize the design and layout, the challenge was not in churning out creative ideas, rather in its execution. For instance, the client specifically requested a picture window in a common area and insisted on having endless floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

As much as I wanted to accommodate the client’s preferences, we had to make compromises. Knowing that picture windows are best appreciated in the presence of unparalleled scenery, it wasn’t an option to have it installed in the ground floor. So I suggested that we have the picture window on the second floor and arrange for another lounge area. In the case of the glass panel’s dimensions, my concern was about the structural integrity of just one large floor-to-ceiling pane of glass. Eventually, the client and I settled on having the supplier fabricate three glass panels and asking the contractor to incorporate the framing into the slabs.

Since we began construction during the pandemic, we also encountered some difficulties in the sourcing and shipment of materials. I pushed myself to be resourceful in presenting worthy alternatives that were readily available to meet deadlines. But there were still unavoidable delays with imported items.

To keep the entire house cool, we had to mount 24 air-conditioners. While we figured out how to augment energy efficiency with solar panels, we still had to find optimal placements for the air-conditioners’ electrical wiring and condenser units. Thankfully, I was able to draw up a design that met the contractor’s requirements while being able to conceal unsightly cords and outdoor units so as not to be visible through the property’s facade.

What materials were chosen for the project, and what influenced those choices?

I have always been drawn to neutrals and I’m happy to have shared this fondness with the client. I believe that the colors within the black, white, and brown spectrum will never go out of style. These shades are never constrained by an era or trend. Neutrals possess understated charm that complements a variety of textures, finishes and patterns.

One of the goals for this project was to create a stunning visual contrast with a neutral color scheme and vibrant pops of color. We certainly achieved this through the entirety of the house with the emergence of black, white, and brown (wood) in every room which touches of green, orange, and gold enlivened.

Different cuts of acacia wood adorn the ground floor all around from floor to ceiling including tables. Taupe walls, seating, and fixtures, along with black framing and pin lights subdued the acacia wood.

The main kitchen which was adjacent to the dining area was mostly black from cabinetry and shelves to appliances. I lightened up the area with a white synthetic quartz stone countertop. And topped it off with metallic accents such as chrome, copper, and gold.

We painted most of the walls taupe for consistency and interlaced it with either glass or wooden panels. Black was mainly in the railings, framing, beams, and lighting fixtures of the house.

Since the majority of the materials were wood and glass, we made sure to brighten each space with a variety of stone tiles, textiles, and finishes. For instance, fixtures could either have a matte finish or glossy sheen while seating could be leather with embroidered cushions. As for the sintered stone tiles, I had to make a custom order for the dimensions I needed. I wanted full slabs of 1500mm x 3000mm to minimize the appearance of terminations and grouts when the biggest size available in the market was 600mm x 1200mm. I also made it a point to put in furniture in low heights. This draws the eyes to different areas of the room.

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How does the project address sustainability and energy efficiency?

Cross ventilation systems and sun shades are in place to regulate indoor temperature and facilitate air flow. Users can observe daylighting throughout the space. It is also apparent in the high window-to-wall area ratio, room orientation, and even in the choice of fixtures. To reduce the dependence on surface water sources, the property has its own deep well that serves as the pool’s water source.

How does the project enhance user experience and functionality?

This property was considerably large for a house. Since my team was designing this for a family, we wanted to emphasize the essence of interconnectedness in our open plan concept. The last thing I wanted was for the people living in my design to feel confined to or isolated in an area. I did my best to minimize anything that may obstruct someone’s line of sight.

Windows surrounds the house which offers a glimpse of the outside world. The home lift and stairs are in the center of the main house. It equally grants access to all three floors. This concentrates the foot traffic in this area and dispersed throughout the hallways and rooms.

The home lift has glass sides, allowing you to have a full view of the house. It is surrounded by a pocket garden on the ground floor. On the other hand, the stairs are wooden acacia planks supported by tubular steel rods. You can see through the slats across the room.

There are no walls separating the common areas, meaning you can see the dining room and living room from the kitchen. While there are three separate structures, they all converge in the pool area and stand for different purposes. The main house is where the family lives, the gazebo is where they can hang by the pool, and the amenity building is for recreation and hosting guests.

The property was a through-lot with carport access on two parallel streets. I designed two distinct facades, only to create a visual impression of these houses being separate from each other, but it is connected once you enter.

What role did the client play in shaping the design?

The client was very hands-on throughout the duration of the project. They had a clear picture of how their dream home would look like. It made it easy for me to come up with a design that aligned with what they wanted. They were also involved in the planning as well as selection of materials, and present during construction. As an up-and coming architect, I appreciated the trust and respect they extended to me. The exchange of ideas between us also fueled my passion and creativity for this profession. I can say that this was truly a successful Client-Architect collaboration.

What is the estimated timeline for the project, and has it evolved during the design process?

I am glad to say that we started and finished this project according to plan which was around 2 years. The design process went relatively smoothly since the clients were very clear with what they wanted from the beginning. After agreeing on the architectural plans for the property’s exterior and interiors, we just had to process the building permits. That took about a month. We only had to adjust our timelines when we encountered a delay in the shipment of materials or when we had to replace an item that suddenly went out of stock.

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Can you explain the layout and flow of the building or space?

The layout for this residential complex follows the principles of an open plan concept. That said, we kept the physical barriers to a minimum. With the exception of the bedrooms, you can see everything from across the room regardless of where you are.

I designed the flow of traffic to be concentrated in the middle of the main house where the stairs and home lift are for everyone’s convenience. I also planned for the hallways to be spacious enough to fit two people side by side. In the second and third floor hallways, I conceptualized it to be a gallery-like experience within their home. The client has a collection of paintings. I wanted to incorporate them in the house to give it more personality, and turn these hallways into an experience. They have works of the likes of Arturo Luz, Fernando Amorsolo, Ang Kiukok, Teresita Duldulao, HR Ocampo, and many more.

The pool being in the middle of all three structures, the main house, gazebo, and amenity deck is accessible from multiple entry points without compromise to the client’s security.

Are there any specific architectural styles or historical references incorporated into the design?

I acquired this project in December 2020 and this was a time when I was engrossed in Indonesian and Thai architecture. How these two architectural styles were able to unite opposing attributes with symmetry and contrast inspired me. I wanted this house to stand out from typical residential designs. I also wanted to bring elements from the outdoor elements inside, and exude both luxury and minimalism.

As for historical reference, I wanted to manifest the significance of Filipino culture deeply rooted in hard work and family. I aimed to embody the resourcefulness, resilience, and superior craftsmanship of Filipinos by using natural and repurposed materials.

How does the project address natural light and ventilation?

Since I was working with a bare lot, I had the freedom to design a home that was in the best interests of my client. To account for natural light and air circulation, I did my due diligence to study the site’s sun and wind path. By doing so, I’ll be able to determine the optimal orientations and locations for the rooms, windows, and ventilation systems.

What sustainable features or green technologies did you integrate into the design?

We install solar panels to help reduce electric consumption. Meanwhile, we filled the pool with water from a deep well so as not to draw from the municipal water resource. We also minimized our carbon footprint the best we could by using low-emitting materials in construction. Moreover, the appliances purchased are mostly energy-efficient inverters and the block out curtains provide insulation to help maintain indoor temperature. 

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Photos from Silong Architecture and Design

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