Filipino design firm HANDS frames serene views of Mt. Makiling in Casa Tropica
Casa Tropica by Habúlan and Ngo Design Studio is a tropical hot spring resort situated within the rolling terrains of Calamba, Laguna
December 11, 2020
Submitted by Habúlan and Ngo Design Studio
Images courtesy of Casa Tropica
With a stunning view of Mt. Makiling, Casa Tropica, a hot spring resort development, serves as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the metro.
Situated on a 1000 square meter property within the rolling terrains of Calamba, the architecture responded to its context. Dictated by climate-sensitive strategies, the design created a tropical design aesthetic through careful space planning and material explorations.
The resort is comprised of two villas, the completed Diwata Villa and the Lambana Villa that are currently under construction. The two villas are juxtaposed in a single envelope: a gesture that pays tribute to the tropical thatch roof prevalent in the Southeast Asian region. The roofscape was cleverly manipulated to open up to its vicinity. Informed by the spaces underneath, and the vistas to the surrounding natural landscapes, the roof plane is folded and tapered to become an expressive canopy that covers the structure and gives identity to the façade. This captures the elegance of the Makiling while creating a transformative roof form defined by architectural programmatic initiatives.
Seamlessness and segregation were equally considered in the planning and design of the two villas. A secluded hallway leads guests from the main entrance of the resort to a central plaza granting access to either villa. The concealment is immediately contrasted upon entering the foyer in which guests are greeted by an open layout where interior and exterior transitions are blurred. Dining and entertainment spaces are covered by the upper floors yet flow continuously outward to the pool deck and playground.
Multi-level atriums provide a spatial and visual connection for the ground and second levels of the villas. They also bring in daylight and facilitate natural ventilation throughout the building. Woven pendant lights at the atrium accentuate the ceiling height, and further add to the resort’s tropical feel. Family rooms and bedroom suites are oriented around the atrium, each offering a different vista to Mt. Makiling beyond, or to the pool deck below.
One permeates the spaces unobstructed—generating a feeling of openness and continuity, both visually and experientially.
Finished with wood, concrete, steel, and glass, the resort maintains an aesthetic of simplicity and privacy. Structural steel frames were deliberately exposed to break the notion of the typical resort aesthetic. Along with the steel frames, concrete was used as the main material finish to create a muted background against the lush surroundings of the development. The perimeter walls are lined generously with plants, softening the rigidness of their boundaries. The architecture thus becomes a venue for experiencing verdant context.
Murals akin to its location were creatively executed at strategic areas within the development—the lady Makiling at the pool area of the Diwata Pavilion, and a bird in flight at the roof deck area—whose unobstructed view of the Mt. Makiling leaves guests in awe.
In all its simplicity, albeit a guided formal exploration, Casa Tropica thus creates a venue for sensory immersion – achieving a sense of place through an architecture of sensitivity.
Project Name: Casa Tropica
Completion Year: 2016
Lot Area: 891 square meters
Gross Built Area: 1, 152 square meters
Project Location: Calamba, Laguna, Philippines
Architecture Firm: Habulan and Ngo Design Studio
Firm Address: 1206 Cityland 10 Tower 2, 154 H.V. Dela Costa St., Ayala North, Makati City, Philippines 1227
Lead Architect: Architect Yonni Habulan, Architect Maricris Ngo-Habulan
Design Team: Arch. Yonni Habulan. Arch. Maricris Ngo-Habulan, Arch. Cyrus Javellana, Arch. Nicole Omac
Clients: Ms. Reese Tirona Rojas, Mr. Carlo Rojas
Landscape: Vermar Leaves and Landscapes
Contractor: Max-xie Enterprises
Consultants/Collaborators: C.A. Rojas Construction Services, Trasbuilt, Inc.