"Cloudscape" designed by WTA Architecture & Design


5 unbuilt hospitality and recreational spaces we wish existed

In an alternate universe, we would have enjoyed one of these places over the long weekend

  • April 5, 2018

We may be crazy hopeful, but here are five visions of hospitality and recreational spaces in the Philippines that we wish we were realized sooner rather than later.

1 Bamboo Tells by Jayson Mata and Jelda Cabardo

Our plan was inspired by Maria Makiling folklore. We wanted guests to experience the feeling of getting lost, exploring, finding and being found. The idea is to make the guests feel they are exploring places they never had been. The lush bamboo forest promenade on the main interior curve road feels almost tunnel-like, suggesting mystery at first, followed by discovery upon reaching different arrival points within the development.

bamboo tells jayson mata jelda cabardo
The villa, as a living structure where the ground landscape grows and becomes the roof. The innovation lies between combining bamboo technology and green roof system.

The Public Cluster Pavilions housing the hotel reception, lounge and restaurant are in the middle of the site. They form the resort’s hub where people arrive, depart and converge again. Curving decks and roads connect these structures to others in the resort, encouraging guests to wander around and experience the place.

Guests today look for unique experiences in their hotel stay. We are convinced that we offer a unique solution via form and function. The architecture and materials feel local and familiar, yet are world-class, interesting and fresh. Guests will find their own story in their own way during their stay at Bamboo Tells.

bamboo tells jayson mata jelda cabardo
The Bamboo hotel (with majestic Mt. Makiling in the background) is conceived to be an architectural and engineering feat, using innovative bamboo construction technologies. The modular units are stacked facing north-east to avail of breezes from that direction, and enjoy views of Laguna de Bay. The built-up portions occupy only 15,114 sqm of the 10.8-hectare property.
bamboo tells jayson mata jelda cabardo
Pavilions on water. A series of pavilions interconnected by a “spine” access, fronted by the two tiered infinity pools inspired by rice fields.

Bamboo Tells is an entry to the Metrobank Arts and Design Excellence (MADE) 2015 competition, architecture category, where it received a special citation.

2 Celebrity Hotel by Ed Ledesma

This project gave us the opportunity to create something unique to the place. We adhered to LVLP’s principle of designing contemporary tropical architecture, and utilized long, sharp eaves for the design of the hotel. Because of the site’s slope and topography, we used cut and fill to layout the guest rooms efficiently.

Viewed from above, the rooms look like terraces of concrete, water and grass. The structure’s raw concrete finish is framed and softened by landscaping, making the whole development appear as if it were made out of monolithic stone.

celebrity house ed ledesma leandro v. locsin partners
The area of the site is 9,559 sqm, with the hotel taking up 8,250 sqm—an 80% site occupancy that led to our decision to “bury” the events hall. The casitas are terraced to follow the existing slope of the site. There are only two rooms for each floor, to lessen foot traffic and provide exclusivity.
celebrity house ed ledesma leandro v. locsin partners
Each casita has an infinity pool that opens to the view and is buffered by a canopy of greenery that provides privacy to the casita below.

While the client was blown away by our schematic presentation, there were a lot of loose ends that prevented the project from rolling. The project required efficiency programs and feasibility studies, as well as technical consultants, project managers and construction supervisors who we were unable to get on board because of budgetary constraints. Several months after our presentation, there was no further instruction from the client so the project was eventually shelved.

READ MORE: Leandro V. Locsin Partners’ Ed Ledesma on Protégés

This project is a story of how man-made materials (concrete and glass) and natural elements (water, greenery) can bring out each other’s beauty when used together. In several instances during the design process, we treated architecture as the landscape, and vice versa. I believe good architecture is about striking a good balance between the two.

celebrity house ed ledesma leandro v. locsin partners
The walls of the hotel lobby are made of cast-in-place concrete finished to resemble stone. A giant concave swoop embraces the round drop-off while a simple cantilevered canopy offsets the curves of the structure.
celebrity house ed ledesma leandro v. locsin partners
The interiors of the casitas are generous and have several lounge areas. A spacious living area greets guests as they enter their casita and an outdoor dining area subtly floats above the infinity pool. Frameless glass doors add to the openness of each casita.

3 Cloudscape by WTA Architecture & Design

The owners presented WTA with a lot located on the less busy side of Tagaytay, and asked us to do a concept study for a hospitality project. The site was quite challenging given the sloping terrain, not to mention the stretch of zigzag road that cuts through the middle of the property.

Our concept was derived from the climate of Tagaytay, specifically the fog  that cloaks the area from time to time. We believe that the people who regularly visit Tagaytay are after the chilly weather, not only the view of Taal Lake and the volcano. This gave us an interesting starting point for developing the character of the project.

READ MORE: William Ti Jr on WAF and the global design conversation

cloudscape william ti, jr. wta architecture & design
Terraces will be carved out on the sloping site, for hotel rooms and condo units. Because of the cascading landscape of the development, the walkways and public areas will open up opportunities for social interaction among guests.
cloudscape william ti, jr. wta architecture & design
View from the residential area of Cloudscape
cloudscape william ti, jr. wta architecture & design
Cloudscape is to be built on 14 hectares of sloping terrain in Tagaytay, with a building footprint of 12,500 sqm. On the west side of the development is the residential area, with prime units on top of the best views. The hotel and clubhouse are situated on the east. The existing dirt road will be kept for vehicles to shuttle guests to different areas.

Taking inspiration from the experience of walking through Tagaytay fog, we came up with a design that begs to be explored and discovered. The structures are supposed to act as part of the landscape, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space.

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The whole development will be sculpted out of the mountainside, and terraces containing the hotel rooms and residential units will be created. By integrating the structures with the topography, users will be unable to quickly grasp the development’s scale and complexity, prodding them to further explore and discover more of it.

4 Viewfinder Clubhouse by L.A. Poco Architects and Associates

The project is a clubhouse and amenity park for Avida’s Woodhill Settings landed development in Canlubang, Laguna. It’s a 500-square meter clubhouse with a social hall that can accommodate table service for 100-plus persons, a kitchen, event storage and spillover spaces, administration and security offices, and male/female restrooms and bathhouses.

It is sited in a 3-hectare park, set on the side of a hill overlooking a wooded natural bowl, thus the name, Woodhill Settings. The hillside has views of the Metro Manila skyline, which is why we took to naming the scheme, “Viewfinder.” The park was landscaped with Land Design One of Singapore, and amenities include a 5-lane lap-pool, kiddie pool, view deck, basketball court, storm shelters and walkways spanning the park’s landscape.

viewfinder clubhouse l.a. poco architects & associates
The view of the approach to the clubhouse from the village. The angles berms and opaque walls with slit-like openings allude to hillside defensive fortifications. The entry portal behaves like a scene viewfinder used by artists to define the extent of their painted scenes.
viewfinder clubhouse l.a. poco architects & associates
The clubhouse overlooks a wooded hillside that forms a natural bowl, which serves as the park and open space amenity for the village development. The amenity park area is approximately three hectares, and the clubhouse footprint, 500 sqm.

The design is driven by the site’s unique context. Architects will seldom get the chance to work on such a picturesque site and we wanted to use the clubhouse structure as a means of heightening the experience of seeing the views. The idea is to “constrict” views by creating walled berms that don’t directly show the view of the skyline and hillside.

READ MORE: Grading Green: The case for BERDE over LEED

viewfinder clubhouse l.a. poco architects & associates
The lobby serves as the village’s living room, overlooking the pool deck and park.
viewfinder clubhouse l.a. poco architects & associates
The lobby or village living room with a screen wall to filter views of the pool and skyline from the drop off

The walled berms are similar to walled hillside forts, which are usually located with great vistas for defensive purposes. We created a portal at the arrival area to frame the views to the metro skyline and to eventually lead people to the pool deck and amenities below. Berming or the use of sloping soil creates a diagonal plane on which you could lift the planting palette of a landscape. It’s like angling a dish of food so that it can be appreciated better.

5. South Laguna Prime by 1/0 design collective

A query about merging the geologic and the architectural into a cohesive entity resulted in a structure that blurs the boundaries between nature and man-made, with a volcano as the organic point of inspiration and a hotel structure as spouse.

The development consists of three volcanic crater-inspired themes reflecting the site’s geologic profile: the Maar Crater Lakes of San Pablo City, the lush tropical valleys of eroded calderas, and the cinder cones of Laguna’s volcanic fields, which dominate the rugged topography of the province.

READ MORE: The progressive and evolutionary minds behind 1/0 Design Collective

In the northern section of the resort, the lowest in topography, is a crater lake that serves as catchment basin. In the middle section is a large bermed caldera park, a communal area. In the south is a cinder cone crater enveloped by the hotel structure.

south laguna prime angelo ray serrano jc san luis 1/0 design collective
The hotel is shielded on the south by soil and vegetation, negating the need for insulating against 8-12 hours of sun. Hotel rooms are all oriented to the north where there is little direct sun exposure, and a 270-degree view of Laguna de Bay and Mt. Makiling.
south laguna prime angelo ray serrano jc san luis 1/0 design collective
Orientation plays the most vital role in building an energy-efficient, green building. Developing the plan to avoid exposure to the sun, and benefit from cooling breezes minimizes energy consumption for air conditioning.
south laguna prime angelo ray serrano jc san luis 1/0 design collective
South Laguna Prime aerial from the west. The property is 10.8 hectares, and the built up portions, including pools and landscaping, occupy one hectare. The resort complex forks into two, with the hotel on the bermed southern section, and the villas along a loop around the crater lake, tropical park, and the caldera park.

The hotel is an arc that cups the main water park. It is a single loaded plan with the units facing the park, and its corridor bound by a loaded retaining wall that cools the hotel structure. The hotel proper tapers on both ends, crests on the midsection, and is capped with a sweeping green roof that sinuously connects the hotel with the main resort complex and the cultural center, creating green pockets in areas where it bends.

Original articles first appeared in BluPrint Special Issue 3 2015. Edits were made for Bluprint.ph.
1. Written by Jayson Mata
2. Written by Crystal Ventura
3. Written by William Ti, Jr.
4. Written by Leandro Nicholas Rañoa Poco
5. Written by JC San Luis


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