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Forms and Functions

Forms and Functions

did you find something interesting (buildings). don't hesitate to share

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herzog and de meuron: vitrahaus exterior

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe03.jpg
in january 2004, vitra launched its home collection, which includes design classics as well as re-editions and products by contemporary designers. it was created in order to target individual customers with an interest in design. as there was no interior space available for the presentation of the home collection on the vitra campus in weil am rhein, between the border of switzerland and germany, the company commissioned the basel-based architects herzog & de meuron in 2006 to design the 'vitrahaus'.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe02.jpg

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe12.jpg
it has been 16 years since the last building - the vitra design museum - by architect frank gehry was built on the vitra campus. now, on time and on budget, the 'vitrahaus' has opened, becoming the newest addition to the site at weil am rhein.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe18.jpg
the concept of the 'vitrahaus' connects two themes which are occurring in the architectural practice of herzog & de meuron: the theme of the archetypal house and that of stacked volumes.  the five-storey structure is comprised of 12 'houses' - five houses are set at the base in which seven other houses are stacked upon one another. each of the structural volumes appear as if they have been shaped by an extrusion press and are cantilevered up to 15 metres in some places.  the floor slabs intersect the underlying gables, resulting in a three-dimensional assemblage or 'pile of houses'.

the 'vitrahaus' has a daytime view of the surrounding landscape, while in the evening the perspective is reversed. during the day, one gazes out of the house, and when darkness falls, the 'vitrahaus' interior glows, the rooms open up and the physical structure of the house seems to dissipate. the glazed gable ends turn into display cases that shine across the vitra campus and the surrounding countryside.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe01.jpg
the maximum dimensions of the structure are: 57 metres in length, 54 metres in width and 21.3 metres in height, rising above the other buildings on the vitra campus.  the design intention was not to create a horizontal building, but a vertically oriented structure, which provides an overview of the surrounding landscape and the vitra factory premises.

the volume which houses the vitrine - an exhibition space for the chair collection of the vitra design museum - does not have typical shape of a house. instead, herzog & de meuron use the vitrine to express their 'mocking' response to the static building.  it appears as if it is being pushed down by the heavy load of houses from above.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe08.jpg
the courtyard was one of the first things the architects thought about when they started the project.
like a small vertically layered city, the 'vitrahaus' functions as an entryway to the campus, although not really an entrance as you are already in the building before entering it.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe30.jpg
wooden plank floors made from the local larch wood, define the open area in which the five base houses are grouped. these spaces function as: a conference area, an exhibition space for the chair collection of the vitra design museum (the vitrine), along with a conglomerate which contains the vitra design museum shop, lobby with a reception area, cloakroom and café with an outdoor terrace for summer use.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe28.jpg
http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe29.jpg
http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe44.jpg
http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea05/vhe31.jpg
http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/ … erior.html

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Homes of the Billionaires
Sunday, March 14, 2010 provided by Forbes

Where the world's richest people unwind after a long day.

Warren Buffett epitomizes living modestly in today's tough economic climate. Despite a $47 billion fortune, the legendary investor -- and the world's third-richest man -- lives in the same five-bedroom, gray stucco house he bought in Omaha, Neb.'s Happy Hollow suburb in 1958 for $31,500.

This folksiness is in line with his famous investing philosophy. "If you don't feel comfortable owning something for 10 years," he once told a reporter, "then don't own it for 10 minutes."

But Buffet, who also professes a love for pub fare like burgers and Cherry Coke, is the exception. Few billionaires are as frugal. Even in these tough times, modesty is a relative term among the superrich.

Computer mogul Michael Dell is a prime example. Dell claims to live simply, yet his Austin, Texas, residence built in 1997 is a 33,000-square-foot manse -- a home that locals call "the castle" because of its high walls and tight security that guard the 20-acre estate.

Megamansions

With an estimated billion-dollar cost, Mukesh Ambani's under-construction 27-story Mumbai skyscraper eclipses previous records for the world's most expensive homes.

No two floor plans for the inside of the lavish tower -- known as Antilla--are alike and each space uses different materials, such as one bathroom's Gingko-leaf sinks with stems guiding the running water into their leaf basins.

In the U.K., Russian-Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev owns the Palladio, an extravagant 17,000-square-foot manor outside London, which he bought for $65 million in January 2008. (That works out to $3,824 per square foot.) The home has a bulletproof front door, a gold-plated pool, an indoor cinema and a hair salon for good measure.

Nifty amenities like these drive up a home's price, something steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal knows all about. In 2004 he shelled out $124 million to buy his 12-bedroom spread in London's posh Kensington neighborhood, replete with extravagant Turkish baths and garage space for 20 cars.

American Estates

On this side of the Atlantic, Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison built a 23-acre, 10-building, Japanese-inspired imperial villa in Woodside, Calif.

But he didn't stop there. In recent years Ellison has spent an estimated $200 million more snapping up a dozen commercial and residential properties to create his own compound in the ritzy beachside enclave of Malibu, Calif.

The West Cost is also home to Bill Gates' 66,000-square-foot compound in Medina, Wash. Visitors to this estate have the option of climbing 84 stairs to get to the ground floor or simply riding the personal elevator.

Some billionaires, such as Star Wars director George Lucas, put their mansions to good use by both living in and working from them. Lucas' 5,156-acre Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, Calif. houses his personal residence as well as Skywalker Sound, a postproduction outfit that even has its own fire brigade.

Star sightings are the norm here. In 2000 Tom Hanks taped sound effects for Cast Away and Sean Penn paid a visit before releasing Into the Wild in 2007. Hollywood memorabilia, such as Charlie Chaplin's cane, a prop whip used by Rudolph Valentino and Indiana Jones' Holy Grail, can also be found in the main house.

Of course, no list of billionaire homes would be complete without mention of real estate magnate Donald Trump. His penthouse apartment in Manhattan's Trump Tower is a monument to marble and gold and has an entire floor designated to Trump's fifth child, Barron. This floor's decor is inspired by -- who else? -- Louis XIV.

Despite the costly details, Trump might say his apartment's best feature is its location, which allows him to ride the elevator to his offices in the same skyscraper. That's the true luxury of being a billionaire: an extravagant home and a short commute.

Warren Buffett
http://l.yimg.com/a/p/fi/28/04/80.jpg
Omaha, Neb.
Net Worth: $47 billion
Rank: 3


The world's third-richest man still resides in the 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom gray stucco home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. The home has everything the 79-year-old needs, including his very own handball court that he uses to keep fit. An intruder armed with a fake gun tried to break into the modest, ungated property in 2007 but was ultimately thwarted by security.

Bill Gates
http://l.yimg.com/a/p/fi/28/04/86.jpg
Medina, Wash.
Net Worth: $53 billion
Rank: 2


Gates' 66,000-square-foot compound is built into a hillside on the edge of Lake Washington, near Seattle. Its enviable amenities include: a 60-foot swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 2,500-square-foot gym and a 1,000-square-foot dining room, which seats 24. For a personal touch, out-of-shape visitors can skip the 84-step hike to the ground floor and opt for an elevator ride instead.

Lakshmi Mittal
http://l.yimg.com/a/p/fi/28/04/87.jpg
London, England
Net Worth: $28.7 billion
Rank: 5

In 2004 Mittal paid $128 million for his 12-bedroom townhouse in London's luxe Kensington district. Mittal's mansion, tucked between Kensington Palace and the Sultan of Brunei's spread, has an indoor pool, Turkish baths and garage space for 20 cars. The super-home is also embellished with marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal.

Larry Ellison

http://l.yimg.com/a/p/fi/28/04/89.jpg
Woodside, Calif.
Net Worth: $28 billion
Rank: 6


Over the last few years the Oracle co-founder has dropped $200 million by some estimates on near a dozen properties in Malibu to create a custom compound. His 23-acre estate in Woodside, pictured here, is inspired by the Japanese city of Kyoto and is reminiscent of a 16th-century imperial Japanese palace. It reportedly cost upward of $200 million to build.

Michael Dell
http://l.yimg.com/a/p/fi/28/04/90.jpg
Austin, Texas
Net Worth: $13.5 billion
Rank: 37


Built in 1997, Dell's 33,000-square-foot hilltop manse sits on a 20-acre spread close to where he founded his eponymous computer company. The eight-bedroom house equipped with a conference room and both indoor and outdoor pools is known locally as "the castle" thanks to its high walls and tight security.

http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/ar … llionaires

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Here's something worth watching.  It's an apartment transformer!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg9qnWg9 … r_embedded

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Unique Public Restrooms Design Absolute Arrows by Future Studio

http://www.architecturesdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/architecture-design/2010/03/Unique-Public-Restrooms-Design-Arrow-Style-and-Design.jpg

http://www.architecturesdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/architecture-design/2010/03/Unique-Public-Restrooms-Design-pink-color.jpg

Unique public restrooms design found in various parks around Hiroshima, Japan. This unique public restrooms named Absolute Arrows cause of building style and design designed by Japanese architectural firm Future Studio. In Japan there are two style of toilets, The oldest type is a simple squat toilet and the other one modern Western-type flush toilets and urinals. In this public restrooms building design available toilet ion unique design. an unique public restrooms design as project of Japanese government to serve their citizen to feel comfortable in public area.

http://www.architecturesdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/architecture-design/2010/03/Unique-Public-Restrooms-Design-white-toilet-768x1024.jpg

http://www.architecturesdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/architecture-design/2010/03/Unique-Public-Restrooms-Design-clean-toilets-557x1024.jpg

http://www.architecturesdesign.com/2010 … re-studio/

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Versailles Pavilion by Explorations Architecture

http://news.architecture.sk/uploaded_images/2010/03/versailles-01.jpg
Paris-based Explorations Architecture have designed a temporary entrance-pavilion for the Chateau de Versailles in France.It is located right in the middle of the Cour d’honneur du Château de Versailles. The 350 square metre structure provides crowd regulation, a visitors’ centre, security checks and cloakroom. Capacity is approx. 15 000 visitors a day (summer season).Building was completed this summer; the pavilion will remain in place until 2011.
http://news.architecture.sk/uploaded_images/2010/03/versailles-02.jpg

http://news.architecture.sk/uploaded_images/2010/03/versailles-03.jpg

http://news.architecture.sk/2010/03/ver … ecture.php

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From the merely unpleasant to the borderline criminal, ugly buildings somehow manage to pop up in even the prettiest cities. With this in mind, VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com ) has announced its 2nd Annual List of the “World’s Top 10 Ugly Buildings,” as decided by its members and editors. VirtualTourist.com general manager, Giampiero Ambrosi discusses the list’s significance: “Many of these buildings don’t have the warmth of an ice cube while others don’t even seem completed. Either way, they make for very interesting conversation.”

1) Morris A. Mechanic Theater; Baltimore, Maryland   
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/937.jpg
Looking at the grim, impersonal façade of this once-thriving theater, it’s hard to believe its stage once hosted the likes of Katherine Hepburn and George C. Scott. Although it would be ugly without them, the windows boarded up with wood certainly don’t help matters. Its doors now closed, the structure still incites debate among locals, many of whom feel the final curtain should have come down on this building long ago.

2) Zizkov TV Tower; Prague, Czech Republic    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/928.jpg
While its ugliness could easily stand on its own, the installation of small, climbing babies by the artist David Cerny transformed this tower from an eyesore to a head-shaker. Originally meant to be temporary, the unusual infant sculptures were re-installed due to popularity!!!

3) Parliament Building; Wellington,New Zealand    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/929.jpg
A slide projector that fell on a wedding cake that fell on a waterwheel is one description of this building known as “The Beehive.” Built primarily during the ‘70s, its proximity to the neighboring Edwardian neo-classical Parliament House only accentuates its unattractiveness.

4) Centre Pompidou; Paris, France    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/930.jpg
When looking at the primary color-coded ducts constructed on the outside of this world-famous museum, one quickly sees why these elements are usually hidden. The result of a world-wide competition, this design makes one afraid to fathom what the losing sketches looked like.

5) Federation Square; Melbourne, Australia    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/931.jpg
Billed as “Melbourne’s Meeting Place,” we’re guessing that this is where city residents meet…to go somewhere else. Frenzied and overly complicated, the chaotic feel of the complex is made worse by a web of unsightly wires from which overhead lights dangle.

6) Petrobras Headquarters; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/932.jpg
A cross between a penitentiary and an unfinished Lego creation is one member’s description of this dreary, block-like structure which occupies a regrettably prominent place in the city’s downtown area. To make matters worse, exterior slats give the illusion that the building is actually falling apart.

7) Markel Building; Richmond, Virginia    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/933.jpg
Although it sounds like urban legend, this futuristic building was in fact inspired by a baked potato served to the architect during a dinner for the American Institute of Architects. If only he’d been served fries instead.

8) Royal Ontario Museum; Toronto, Canada    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/934.jpg
What I.M. Pei’s pyramid is to the Louvre, so is the relatively new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal to the Royal Ontario Museum. While many praise the glass structure, just as many are troubled by the incongruity to the original, more traditional museum that still sits directly beside it.

9) National Library; Pristina, Kosovo    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/935.jpg
It’s hard to know whether the honeycomb-pattern mesh that coats the outside of this library enhances or worsens this bizarre structure. It’s been said that when the building first opened, some thought the giant net-like feature was actually scaffolding.

10) Ryugyong Hotel; Pyongyang, North Korea    
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/c/1/936.jpg
Riddled with issues that range from lack of money to poor construction to rumored collapse, this still unfinished nightmare has been under some form of construction for over 20 years. Started in 1987, construction was halted a few years later and left untouched until fairly recently.

http://members.virtualtourist.com/vt/t/354

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http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/in … d_id=12524

http://static.worldarchitecturenews.com/project/uploaded_files/12524_solta1main.JPG
A rotating hotel is to form the centrepiece of a new resort near Split in Croatia. Designed by Richard Hywel Evans of Studio RHE, specialists in holiday resort design, the concept was proposed from a desire to provide sea views from each room.

While most of the fine details of the hotel remain under wraps WAN can reveal "the 3 storey building is a 61 metre diameter very slow moving continuous turntable rotating 1.3 times per day, and will be built of steel in sections at the huge Split shipyards which are directly opposite the Island," says Evans. "The building is entered from below at Lower Ground Level which does not rotate with the 22 metre diameter centre hub of the building which is also static containing the Reception, circulation stairs and lifts," he adds.

The full development is comprised a new build marina and resort which will include the hotel, guest pavilions and villas.

The new 170 berth marina will be accompanied by a performance stage, yacht club and marine village along the water's edge.

The development is to be built on Šolta Island on a hillside olive grove allowing views across the bay, 35 minutes boat ride from Split. The project spreads across the water with villas facing the marina from across the water.

Guest Pavilions made from the surrounding grove slate walls create private spaces for guests with glass fronted pavilions and swimming pools roofed with reflective aluminium wings.

Four Bedroom Residences are interconnected and created from the perimeter ‘stone contour’ walls in the olive tree fields with trees rising from the swimming pools encased in glazed tubes.

The centrepiece hotel itself is set in an infinity edged swimming lake which spills over into a hillside spa below. The views worthy of a rotating hotel spread across the Adriatic Sea and over to the Roman remains of a Diocletian fish farm and dramatic countryside.

Edited By: psyche
October 20, 2009 02:34 pm

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How do we prepare for floods?  Could this design by landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren he emailed me be a start of a design solution?  What do you think?  Any other ideas out there?

http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/arch80/Arkicentral/postondoybgayctr.jpg

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Another sketch from Paulo Alcazaren.  Whimsical but timely, creative & thought-provoking.

http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/arch80/Arkicentral/postondoysudventrance.jpg

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Here is what the great leader of our nation proposed as a solution:

Arroyo offers ‘bahay kubo’ for homeless
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:57:00 10/02/2009


MANILA, Philippines—You can huff and puff but nothing will blow down President Macapagal-Arroyo’s “bahay kubo” idea for people left homeless by Storm “Ondoy.”

The President has made a strong pitch for the use of the ready-made “nipa and bamboo huts” to shelter thousands of families left homeless by Storm “Ondoy.”

At the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting in Cainta, Rizal Friday, Ms Arroyo recalled that the hut—the kind sold on national highways at P25,000—has worked for residents of a slum community in Baseco, Manila.

“You know these bamboo and nipa huts that are being sold on the highways at P25,000 each? We were able to put the houses in Baseco, and then put one toilet for every two homes,” she said at the two-hour meeting at the Cainta municipal hall. “This is one quick way, and it’s only P25,000.”

In contrast, the government’s “core shelter” costs P75,000 each, she said.

Vice President Noli de Castro, chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), however, maintained that a house made of hollow blocks, steel and tin roof was sturdier.

But Ms Arroyo countered: “I’m sure P25,000 will not meet all their needs. But the residents of Baseco who use this type of shelter are still alive.”

De Castro eventually agreed, saying: “If we can supply thousands.”

There are some 648,500 families or 3.1 million individuals who were affected by the destruction wrought by storm “Ondoy,” in Metro Manila and over 20 provinces, according to officials.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde later said in Malacañang that Ms Arroyo was serious about purchasing the huts for families who have requested shelter instead of staying in crowded evacuation centers.

“We’ll buy those huts for those who have immediate need for shelter,” Remonde told reporters in a Malacañang briefing.

Meanwhile, De Castro mentioned several possible relocation sites in Pasig City, Montalban in Rizal, a former Manila Bank property in San Miguel, Bulacan, and Towerville in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, as well as Southville in Biñan, Laguna. Most of the sites are still owned by developers.

De Castro offered a site in Bulacan to homeless Marikina residents, but Chair Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority, speaking on behalf of his wife Mayor Marides Fernando, preferred a nearer site.

The government is also offering a “Balik Probinsiya” program for the flood victims who wish to go back to their home province, complete with a cash assistance equivalent to 60 days minimum wage.

“As I said, you only have to buy the nipa huts being sold on the highway,” Ms Arroyo said.

Ms Arroyo recalled that residents of Montalban, Rizal displaced by the flood and landslides were willing to be relocated anywhere.

“One of the women I talked to said they were willing to be relocated anywhere as long as there’s ready shelter for them,” she said. She directed De Castro to take care of the relocation for the homeless residents.

Remonde said De Castro’s long list of possible relocation sites should allay fears of the lack of relocation sites for the homeless.

“What’s wonderful in his inventory is that it would seem that we have enough relocation sites,” he said.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingne … r_homeless

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Floating houses for flood-prone areas?  Why not?  Was done before.

http://www.archdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/425431029_acrombasis01-2-125x125.jpg

Architects: MOS – Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample
Location: Ontario, Canada
Design Team: Fred Holt, Chad Burke, Ryan Bollom, Forest Fulton, Temple Simpson, Martin Kredizor, Jimenez Lai
Project year: 2005
Constructed Area: 186 sqm


http://www.archdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/216385310_acrombasis02-2-528x349.jpg
This project intersects a vernacular house typology with the site-specific conditions of this unique place: an island on Lake Huron. The location on the Great Lakes imposed complexities to the house’s fabrication and construction, as well as its relationship to site. Annual cyclical change related to the change of seasons, compounded with escalating global environmental trends, cause Lake Huron’s water levels to vary drastically from month-to-month, year-to-year. To adapt to this constant, dynamic change, the house floats atop a structure of steel pontoons, allowing it to fluctuate along with the lake.

Locating the house on a remote island posed another set of constraints. Using traditional construction processes would have been prohibitively expensive; the majority of costs would have been applied toward transporting building materials to the remote island. Instead, we worked with the contractor to devise a prefabrication and construction process that maximized the use of thee unique character of the site:

Lake Huron as a waterway. Construction materials were instead delivered to the contractor’s fabrication shop, located on t he lake shore. The steel platform structure with incorporated pontoons was built first and towed to the lake outside the workshop. On the frozen lake, near the shore, the fabricators constructed the house.

The structure was then towed to the site and anchored. In total, between the various construction stages, the house traveled a total distance of approximately 80 km on the lake.

The formal envelope of the house experiments with the cedar siding of the vernacular home. This familiar form not only encloses the interior living space, but also enclosed exterior space as well as open voids for direct engagement with the lake. A “rainscreen” envelope of cedar strips condense to shelter interior space and expand to either filter light entering interior spaces or screen and enclose exterior spaces giving a modulated yet singular character to the house, while performing pragmatically in reducing win d load and heat gain.

http://www.archdaily.com/10842/floating-house-mos/

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Excerpts from: If Singapore and Hong Kong can do it, why can't we?
AS A MATTER OF FACT By Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) October 12, 2009

Singapore is situated 137 km north of the equator and is subject to heavy tropical rainstorms between the months of November and January. Flooding in Singapore was prevalent in the past as the older parts of the city were built relatively on low-lying areas. The drainage systems were not adequate to convey storm water runoff effectively. Rapid urbanization in the 1970’s and 1980’s brought about drastic transformations of the hydrological characteristics of the drainage catchments in the country. The Singapore government adopted strategies to keep the flood situation under control despite the vast extent of new land developments that are continuously taking place. Drainage control policies pursued by the Drainage Department were implemented over the years for flood alleviation and prevention.

In 2008, after decades of planning and hard work, the Marina Barrage was completed. It is an important milestone in the Singapore water story. This barrage creates Singapore’s 15th reservoir and the first in the heart of the city. It collects rainwater from the largest catchment in Singapore, about one-sixth of the land area, in the most densely built-up part of the island. It also alleviates flooding in the low-lying areas in the city such as Chinatown, Boat Quay, Jalan Besar and Geylang. During heavy rains, the series of nine crest gates at the dam are activated to release excess storm water into the sea when the tide is low. During high tide, the giant pumps which are capable of pumping an Olympic-size swimming pool per minute, drain excess storm water into the sea. In addition, the barrage ensures a constant water level and calm waters all year round, making the Marina reservoir a beautiful and convenient venue for recreation activities such as boating, windsurfing, kayaking and dragon boating.

To sum it up, the Marina Barrage has been designed to achieve three aims: to act as a tidal barrier for flood control, to create a new reservoir to augment water supply and to maintain a new body of fresh water at constant level as a major lifestyle attraction. What a vision!

In Hong Kong, seven Drainage Master Plan Studies to cover all flood-prone areas were conducted from 1997 to 1999. The condition and performance of existing storm water drainage systems were evaluated. Long-term and short-term measures to upgrade the systems to cope with current and future development pressures were devised. Upon the completion of the studies, major flood control projects have been completed in the Northern New Territories since 2001. Drainage channels were constructed as well as floodwater pumping stations. More drainage projects are to be completed in the next three years.

The drainage and flood control projects of Singapore and Hong Kong were done with creativity and visionary thinking. Instead of being constrained by their natural disadvantages, their governments believed that solutions were possible with the right commitment, an open mind towards innovation and investing in research and development. It was a Herculean task. But with the strong commitment of their governments, they succeeded.

Do our officials have this kind of commitment and will? Can they elevate and develop higher thinking skills? Or will they continue to blubber and express their big plans with no solid action? This is how our story goes! This is why we have become the laughing stock of Asia.

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=513401

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Arroyo creates reconstruction body
ABS-CBN - Tuesday, October 13

http://d.yimg.com/hb/xp/abs/20091013/13/2251198530-arroyo-creates-reconstruction-body.jpg?x=213&y=159&sig=jHrwCOXZs6w6aw.v2QsLjg--
MANILA - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Tuesday signed an executive order forming a special commission for the infrastructure rehabilitation in areas devastated by landslides and floods caused by tropical storms Pepeng (international codename Parma) and Ondoy (Ketsana).

Mrs. Arroyo announced the approval of the executive order during a Cabinet meeting at the West Central Elementary School in Dagupan City, Pangasinan province, which was badly hit by floods during Pepeng's onslaught.

The new body, called Special National Public-Private Reconstruction Commission, will be headed by PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan, with Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Vidal as co-chairs.

Members of the special commission will come from various government agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways, business groups and other non-government organizations.

The executive order mandates the new commission as a "clearing house" for all international assistance coming in for the victims of Ondoy and Pepeng.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the creation of the commission will ensure transparency on the international aid received by the government for the typhoon victims.

The two storms devastated a large part of Luzon, particularly Metro Manila and northern provinces.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council said more than 6 million people were affected by the two storms, with hundreds of thousands still displaced.

The two storms' combined cost of damage to infrastructure has been pegged at P4.78 billion and P12.86 billion to agriculture.

The NDCC's latest report showed that 56 roads and 9 bridges were destroyed during Pepeng's onslaught, and the combined number of houses damaged by the two typhoons has reached more than 68,000. Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

http://ph.news.yahoo.com/abs/20091013/t … c5a6c.html

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Well it's about time!  This is years too late in implementation!

Arroyo orders Metro plan implemented

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer, First Posted 05:18:00 10/28/2009


SAN FERNANDO CITY, PAMPANGA—Convinced by its relevance today, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Tuesday ordered the implementation of a Marcos-era urban plan for Metro Manila, including the sandbagging of flooded areas and the construction of a spillway.

The President agreed with the recommendations on flood prevention made by architect and urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. who gave a PowerPoint presentation of the 1976-77 study, “Metro Manila Transport Land Use Development and Planning Project” (Metro Plan), at a Cabinet meeting here.

Chief among the recommendations were the pumping out of floodwaters and sandbagging in flood-prone areas, and construction of the P20-billion Parañaque spillway linking Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay.

“We can ask BF to begin the master plan of Metro Manila, and then again back to the spillway option,” Ms Arroyo said after the presentation, referring to Bayani Fernando, chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The World Bank-funded study conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways was a comprehensive plan on land use development in the metropolis, but it was never implemented.

“This administration should not take all the blame because there was a Metro Plan in 1976, 1977,” the world-renowned Palafox said as he began his 30-minute presentation at the residence of Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales.

Ms Arroyo said that sandbagging could immediately be implemented.

“We have what we can do between now and the end of the year. In the immediate, sandbagging is very good and practical,” she said.

Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (international codename: Ketsana) dumped unusually heavy rains that inundated a vast swath of the metropolis on Sept. 26. After a week, another storm, “Pepeng” (international codename: Parma), pummeled northern Luzon, triggering heavy flooding and landslides.

But Ms Arroyo sounded most excited about the Parañaque spillway, another means to divert water from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay in addition to the Pasig River.

“And we should already ask the DPWH to work on the spillway,” she said.

In his presentation, Palafox noted that there were 20 rivers that flow into Laguna de Bay, and the Manggahan Floodway was added to this, but without constructing a spillway.

“It’s like having a toilet without a flush,” he said.

The spillway can be a canal, a tunnel or an aqueduct like those of the Roman Empire, he said. “Even DPWH engineers say that with the spillway, the worst scenario is it will be 20 days flooding. Without it at least, 65 days of flooding.”

Ms Arroyo proposed that the 8-km long spillway be built alongside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on a property owned by the government to save money.

“The plan calls for the use of the entire length of the Naia runway along the fence toward the Parañaque River. On the end of the runway along C-5 or Taguig the drain can pass through the Food Terminal then on toward Laguna de Bay. That will use government lots and less relocation of homes,” she said.

But Palafox aired his reservations because the runway was longer than the spillway, and would pass through a bigger land mass, but he said that this was an option that could be studied.

On the Metro Plan, Palafox said the team that conducted the study, which included himself, encouraged the urban extension of the metropolis northeastward toward Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City and some portions of Bulacan, and southward toward Parañaque and Canlubang, Laguna.

As for the flood-prone areas, such as the Marikina Valley and the western shores of Laguna lake, they recommended “controlled development” but with the installation of sewerage, drainage and flood control systems.

“Development happened, but the infrastructure was not put in place,” he said, referring to the non-implementation of building codes and zoning, among other things. “There was a big disconnect in regulatory problem between the ones giving permits, and the ones developing.”

He also said that the plan would have covered 40 towns and cities taking into account the people commuting from outside the metropolis, but this was overtaken by the Metro Manila Commission which created 17 cities.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerhe … mplemented

artie
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Re: Forms and Functions

One way to prevent or minimize the scale of disasters is by simply implementing the relevant laws already in place as this article implies:

Implement 1989 Rainwater-collection Law
By Tony Oposa Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, First Posted 22:34:00 10/31/2009

MANILA, Philippines—Flooding is excess water that does not have a receptacle. If so, find a receptacle.

It is a simple matter of allocating small (from 100-200 square meters to 1,000 sqm) parcels of land in every barangay (village). Then dig a deep hole to catch the excess water.

The benefits from the receptacle are as follows:

• Prevents or at least significantly minimizes flooding.

• Creates a pond for storing fish and thus becoming a source of food, especially for the poor. (This prevents the pond from being stagnant and turning into a breeding ground for mosquitoes.)

• Establishes a mini park.

• Provides an area on the banks for vegetation (especially vegetables and fruits).

• Improves the micro-climatic conditions by cooling the place.

• Recharges the badly depleted ground water.

• Stores water in preparation for drought. With climate change kicking us in the teeth, droughts are coming and will be more severe, believe me.

And oh, by the way, this is not wishful thinking on the part of an environmental advocate. It is actually contained in a law that not even those who are tasked with implementing it know about—Republic Act No. 6716 (1989). It states that:

“The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shall, within thirty (30) days after the approval of this Act, undertake construction of ... rainwater collectors in all barangays in the Philippines in such number as may be needed and feasible, taking into consideration the population, hydrologic conditions …” (SEC. 2, March 1989).

This was reiterated by Executive Order No. 774, which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued in December 2008. How many has the DPWH done? About seven or so, and only very recently. How many barangays are there? More than 42,000. Very good.

The first objection one would immediately hear is land is expensive. Well, how much is the one-time cost of land compared with the benefits that flow from it and the recurring cost of floods? In that context, the cost of the land is literally nothing. Besides, one should not look at it as an item of cost, rather as a low-cost infrastructure investment.

But then, the government, particularly the DPWH, is not reputed to like low-cost but effective alternatives. Its attitude seems to be that the bigger the cost, the better and the faster it will be done.

I call on interested lawyers to join me in a proactive legal action to compel the implementation of a law that has languished in the sickbed of noncompliance ... for 20 years! I also call on Congress to inquire why this far-sighted law passed more than two decades ago has not been implemented.

The time for talk is over. It is time for action, and in this case, for legal action!

(Tony Oposa Jr., an environmental lawyer, is a 2009 Ramon Magsaysay awardee. He is the president of the Law of Nature Foundation.)

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropi … ection-law

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Re: Forms and Functions

Some 2 decades ago, Arch. Jun Palafox presented a Master Plan to DPWH on how to prevent floods, by doing something to the already obvious-looking catch basins, pinpointing to some probable places.  I won't detail it anymore. DPWH ignored the plan. Who is this, only an architect, who knows better to do the jobs of the CEs?  They not only defy the plan, but instead, allowed the construction of residences and other structures on the basins.  And it happened, worse than is expected. Arch. Palafox represented the plan and it became a big news. I think DPHW is renewing the studies, engineering-wise, as the plan of Arch. Palafox do not fit anymore.

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Here's a few words from Arch. Palafox himself that came out in newspapers.

Urban planner gives 60 tips on mitigating disaster
By Alcuin Papa, Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines
--The government should convert open spaces like parks into “disaster prevention sites” where disaster-stricken citizens could be evacuated, an urban planner has proposed.

This was one of 60 measures for disaster preparedness architect Jun Palafox presented to President Macapagal-Arroyo recently.

Palafox’s proposal, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer, would also mandate the immediate distribution of geohazard maps to communities, the spread of a culture of disaster-preparedness down to the barangay level, and the institution of close coordination between the private and public sectors in preparing for disasters.

“I don’t want to talk about preparation for disasters after they’ve happened. We need good urban planning, architecture and engineering, funding and, most of all, political will to mitigate the effects of disasters,” Palafox said.

10-year plan

In his proposal, Palafox said government should carry out a 10-year plan of programs and projects to mitigate disasters.

First on the list are efforts to fight fires. He proposed the designation and identification on the barangay level of escape routes and evacuation sites which can be schools, parks and other open spaces. This is particularly important in urban poor communities where wooden structures are built close together.

Ideally, he said, each barangay should have an open space that is at least 10 hectares in size, or one square meter per evacuee. There, the injured could be given medical attention.

He said living zones should be restricted to the size of a school district. These zones, Palafox said, should have “fire breaks” like roads, rivers, creeks and canals to serve as boundaries and prevent the spread of fire. Roads should also be improved to allow fire trucks access to the living zones.

Improve spaces

Barangays and homeowner associations should be used to improve living spaces against disasters, implement a disaster plan, consolidate disaster-fighting resources like fire-fighting equipment, and conduct education drives to inform residents of what to do in case disaster strikes.

Steps should also be taken to conduct a structural audit of all buildings. Focus should be on government-built structures like schools, hospitals and bridges. Building regulations and standards should be tightened.

To mitigate flooding, waterways should be cleared and sewage systems should be unclogged and improved.

Priority should be given to securing safe drinking water, thus, water supply stations should not be more than 1.5 to 2 km from every household in a community and should be able to provide three liters of drinking water per person per day.

The government must learn from the lessons of events like the recent Haiti earthquake and adopt best practices in disaster mitigation and response from developed countries like Japan, Taiwan and the United States.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerhe … g_disaster

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