Sustainability & Resilience: WTA's Siargao Resettlement Project -

The threat of more natural disasters, such as typhoons, looms in the background due to climate change. There have been numerous proactive calls for collective action to help mitigate the alarming effects of global warming. Additionally, organizations left and right have been active in providing aid to heavily affected regions. A category 5 typhoon struck the island of Siargao in 2021, causing damage to the country’s surfing capital. Since then, foreign and local NGOs have assisted the island in rebuilding more typhoon-resilient structures.

The Proposed Siargao Resettlement Project

The Siargao Resettlement Project, proposed by WTA Architecture & Design Studio, was created in response to the need to rebuild localities and to encourage the families who had been displaced by Typhoon Odette to relocate to better-planned areas on the island of Siargao, Surigao Del Norte. The goal of the project, which falls under the studio’s CSR initiative, is to build 1,000 homes for the local families. To that end, three master plans for the selected sites had to be created, as well as a prototype home design that could be quickly constructed using locally accessible materials.

The identified Siargao sites for resettlement include a 10 hectare site in Barangay Mabuhay, an 8.5 hectare site in Barangay Del Carmen, and a 3 hectare site in Barangay Bitoon. 

In order to foster close ties between families, homes were grouped together for each site plan to create smaller communities. The plan then included open spaces, a road network, and interconnected pedestrian pathways. The studio prioritized integrating social spaces into each area of each development, resulting in an abundance of open spaces with various uses and amenities for residents to enjoy. All residential clusters have access to thoughtfully designed spaces that allow farming and gardening, outdoor games and activities, and other uses.

Additionally, spaces in between the rear ends of houses were made to be wide in order to act as an outdoor extension of the home as well as a lively backyard shared by neighbors. The studio hopes to promote food security through backyard farming.

The prototype house was designed with construction speed and scalability in mind. Having to work with a 10m x 5m lot size and a 30 sqm buildable space, a simple structure was made to include two bedrooms, a living area, a dining area, a shared toilet and bath, and an outdoor kitchen. Materials used include amakan sheets for protection and ventilation, fiber cement boards, bamboo flooring, marine plywood, and GI sheets for roofing. The design also includes a rain catchment basin for every home.

Through the Siargao Resettlement project, WTA aims to provide immediate assistance to the families affected by Typhoon Odette and also aims to educate them on ways in which they can build a more sustainable and resilient community.

Photos are provided by WTA Architecture & Design Studio.

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