The upcoming CamSur Capitol is characterized by its translucent Pili-shaped volumes, lush public park, and viewing deck facing Mt. Isarog. | Image courtesy of CAZA

CAZA’s new CamSur Capitol inspired by Pili and Mt. Isarog

The iconic CamSur Capitol building is "nut" your usual government edifice

  • June 20, 2018

CamSur governor Migz Villafuerte welcomed guests today at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City with a rundown of memorable images from our history and different landscapes of the world’s key cities. “Experience has taught us to never underestimate the power of a symbol, image, or iconic structure,” he stressed. It was this in mind when the provincial government of Camarines Sur undertook the building of a new CamSur Capitol with CAZA as their lead architect.

“When we started this project, we were inspired by what can a building be for a government: a symbol, a machine for efficiency, a showcase of transparency, and, in a way, a mirror of what a community can be. It is no secret that the Philippines is having a wonderful economic moment. So how can a building help us pivot and represent who we are?” CAZA principal Carlos Arnaiz shared.

The design is a spiraling assembly of Pili-nut-shaped volumes that appear like a mountain from the horizon and a starburst from the sky. Pili, a tear-shaped buttery nut indigenous to the Bicol region, is a key product of CamSur and the name of its capital city.

READ MORE: CAZA relates earth and sky in the Home of Many Moons

An aerial view of the CamSur Capitol | Image courtesy of CAZA

The “husk” of each volume is a metal sunscreen protecting the building interior from the intense tropical sun. This skin will be a combination of metal mesh and bronze aluminium louvers. The encased volumes create as series of shaded terraces.

The spiral organization of masses produces an open-air atrium at the center of the building with a dramatic helicoid ramp terminating at the Mt. Isarog viewing deck.

The CamSur Capitol will have four levels. The first has a covered parking, drop-off and service areas with connections to the building through a system of vertical circulation cores. The second is a multi-purpose lobby plinth crowned by an open-air atrium. Administrative offices will be on the third floor. Lastly, the fourth floor will have the governor’s quarters as well as a viewing deck with a panorama of Mt. Isarog, as the capitol is on axis with the mountain.

READ MORE: Vernacularization in Philippine Modern Architecture

The Northeast elevation of the Camsur Capitol scaled model with the viewing deck on the top floor. | Photo by Angel Yulo
The network of paths through the public park fronting the Northwest elevation of the Camsur Capitol scaled model | Photo by Angel Yulo

The new capitol will sit in the middle of a public park with palm tree promenades, fountains, and a Pili grove. A network of paths and roads will provide entry points into the building for different users: a grand staircase for the public, a lobby plinth for staff, and smaller ramps that lead out to the park.

READ MORE: This is what the new MMDA complex will look like

The CamSur Capitol builds on what is endemic in order to propel the province into a future of technological advancement, environmental sustainability, and civic engagement.  With a footprint of a little over 2500 square meters, it will be located between the Pan-Philippine Highway and the CamSur Watersports Complex. “We wanted to edifice to reflect our commitment to sustainable development, passion to be world-class, and our desire to stay true to the roots of the province,” Villafuerte added. 


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