Ned Carlos on changing Dumaguete’s Landscape
March 31, 2021
Written by Shan Arcega
Photos Courtesy of Ned Carlos
Architect Ned Carlos and his view on green building for The City of Gentle People
“Today, sustainability is as important as the air we breathe. But sustainability should go beyond architecture and should contain all areas of engineering, town planning, city planning, urban planning, and even transportation.”
With every passing year, we further notice the drastic changes global warming has brought to us. There are various alternatives that can help slow down the effects of this climate crisis. One of them is through fostering green and eco-friendly building techniques on a larger scale involving not just residential homes and commercial buildings, but also urban planning. This has been an approach advocated by Dumaguete architect Ned Carlos of Carlos & Antique Architects. Known in Dumaguete for crafting simple yet alluring designs for a number of commercial and institutional spaces, Carlos and his firm have been proposing plans to make Dumaguete city into a walkable, functional, and healthy city for many years. Among these is the LUNGS Urban Plan which highlights using and regarding trees as infrastructure.
“In the 20th Century, cities were designed for the automobile. In the 21st Century, however, cities are already being designed for the Foot Traveler. We see these in many cities right now, except the cities in the Philippines. And for us to walk or ride a bike, we need a cooler environment. Trees are the greenest “material” that can provide shade and, if regarded as an infrastructure much like roads, bridges, line canals, etc., much budget can be allocated for the culture, planting, re-planting, and maintenance of these (as an infrastructure).” says architect Ned, highlighting the fact that trees are already treated as infrastructure in first-world countries like Singapore.
“It’s time we regard trees not as a luxury in design or as an afterthought, but as an infrastructure.”
As the hub of culture in Negros, Dumaguete has many spaces where green building approaches that highlight walkability can be incorporated. The boulevard between the sea and Perdices Street (which stretches from Siliman University to the downtown area) namely are preferable spaces that architect Carlos recommends using for this green initiative. By implementing such an eco-friendly approach to this stretch, Dumaguete can be one step closer to being a walkable city that mirrors Singapore.
According to architect Carlos, “That means vertical farming in an urban setting. More open spaces in buildings and along structures, less air-conditioning, more well-designed sidewalks and bike lanes, more trees to provide shade, more greenery to combat the heat, a vehicle-free community, more parks and pocket gardens, and green design for houses and buildings.”
Currently, architect Ned Carlos and his firm are collaborating with The Bank of the Philippine Islands-Bayanihan para sa Inang Bayan advocacy project to build dry toilets in Apo Island. A project that uses bamboo overall and cement as its foundation, it was designed with an X-brace to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. With bamboo walls, the structure utilizes natural ventilation and has a solar panel for night illumination. As a sustainable project, it can be a model for community-based coastal resources management.
Ned Carlos is a modernist architect who has worked with local corporations and schools like St. Paul University, Don Bosco, and RUSI.
These days, he consistently works as an advocate for green building and is inspired by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia, Japan’s architect Kengo Kuma, and Malaysian architect Ken Yeang–three experts who are currently changing the approach to designing buildings and spaces through their belief in ecology and sustainability. Infamous American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright is also another inspiring figure for pioneering Organic Architecture. Follow Ned Carlos on his Facebook and Instagram to get more updates.