Philippine-based architecture firm Cali Avant-garde Architects presents tropical brutalism through Grey Area

September 12, 2021



Shan Arcega

In another light, however, brutalism is a style that seems to combine the past and the future, pressing them into a box that explodes into smaller geometric branches that can be soothing to the eye for its simple and honest design. At first glance, some brutalist pieces may even seem too cold. But put in an environment that tames the grey and dark tones with the natural green human eyes automatically relax against, then brutalism just looks like a natural sculpture accompanied with nature. This is what the architectural pieces from Philippine-based architectural firm, Cali Avant-garde Architects seem to highlight in its residential and commercial designs. 

Grey Area is a contemporary co-working space. Considered an oasis in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, it is a neutral space that can provide different experiences. 

It can be a multifunctional event space, studio, art gallery, wellness center, and café. It can even be a “tiny house” where owners live a minimalist lifestyle, focusing on only the essentials. 

The Grey Area was inspired by Ancient Babylon’s iconic Hanging Gardens and has a green roof, creating the concept of “neo-Babylon”. 

Though it takes inspiration from an ancient wonder, the Grey Area promotes sustainability–a much-needed concept considering the current climate crisis, and takes the step towards being more aware of architecture and construction’s impact on the environment. This approach also trickles down to the idea of sustainability and energy efficiency as an approach to helping lift the country’s poverty and scarcity issues. 

Tropical brutalism was a movement that bloomed from equatorial nations. At its foundations, tropical brutalism still uses concrete, stiff geometric shapes, and spacious interiors that are almost bare. But unlike European brutalism which seemed cold and unsympathetic, tropical brutalism coexists with the softness of nature and allows its concrete exterior to be dominated by moss. Some designs have even resigned from using extensive glass windows and simply removed or lessened them to present a greater sense of openness while encouraging natural ventilation. 

Photos courtesy of Cali Avant-garde Architects Facebook page

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