Sustainable skylines: The future of green architecture in Metro Manila

Therese Reyes
Sustainable skylines: The future of green architecture in Metro Manila


Can Metro Manila be a truly sustainable city in the near future?

MANILA, Philippines – The real estate industry in Metro Manila is currently experiencing a major surge in development. Scaffolding is now a constant element on city streets while new structures are seemingly being built on every corner.

But behind the rising skylines, the big question looms: can all this progress also translate to a greener future for the city?

During a recent press conference, ArthaLand shed light on the importance of sustainable growth for urbanized cities such as Metro Manila. The boutique developer brought in Jonathan Stein and Ame Engelhart,  Hong Kong- and USA-based architects from the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM).

Over breakfast, Stein and Engelhart shared their design vision behind ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower, Arthaland’s latest development in Bonifacio Global City.

Metro Manila is ready to ‘go green’ 

For Engelhart, the goal in designing ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower was to create healthier cities that provide a high quality of urban life. She cited Singapore and San Francisco as examples of places that encourage sustainability, not just in their buildings but in transportation and city planning as well.

Is Metro Manila ready for more sustainable architecture? Stein said: “I really don’t think that there’s anything inherent in Manila that inhibits its ability to have sustainable design. Manila is a very highly developed, sophisticated market place that has a substantial design and construction industry.”

Stein added that by even by simply adhering to updated industry standards, developers can already be much more sustainable compared to 20 years ago. Concerns on rising costs are resolved by the long-term savings, which energy-efficient buildings will provide. 

A SERENE ENVIRONMENT. The ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower incorporates modern architecture with nature

Why build sustainably?

Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, a green building also creates a better working atmosphere and attracts more companies.

Stein explained that there is an emerging demand for office spaces in sustainable buildings. “There are more and more companies, especially international companies, that have corporate sustainability requirements,” she said. “They adopt that into their own workplace relative to how they want to operate as a company and as a corporation across the globe.” 

The most progressive CEOs understand that in championing conservation, their companies directly benefit from an increase in productivity. Comfortable employees make for happy employees, and happy employees mean creative, innovative ones. 

“If you create a working environment that offers this high level of comfort, then that fosters creativity and entrepreneurship and a better quality of day to day life,” shared Engelhart. 

NATURAL LIGHT. The ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower was built to maximize sunlight and reduce energy consumption

Functionality first 

When it comes to green buildings, it’s usually construction materials and methods that come to mind. However, the way a structure is designed is just as important – in fact, it’s the crucial first step.

For example, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) looks into how a building is designed, constructed, and maintained before granting a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification to a developer. Factors like the quantity and quality of materials used, indoor environment, use of locally sourced timber, and total building water consumption are all taken into consideration. 

Engelhart said: “When we talk about high-performance design, it’s a building that’s going to be energy efficient, it’s going to be water efficient, it’s going to be resource efficient. And so the overall performance of the building is a longer term life cycle discussion.”

Sustainable design is all about efficiency. Figuring out how the space is going to be used and imagining the experience of those who will be frequenting the building are very important. It’s all about using design to create a comfortable space that will stand the test of time. 

LEED, BERDE CERTIFIED. A graphic rendition of the ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower

The ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower 

ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower’s design is founded on efficiency and aesthetics. Described as a jade or a gem, it aims to be a striking addition to the Bonifacio Global City skyline with its overlapping 3D glass design. It is also the first and only office building that is on target to achieve dual green building certification from LEED and the Philippine Green Building Council’s BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence).

Features like motion sensor lights, bicycle spaces, and a weatherproof arcade at the bottom of the building contribute not only in energy conservation and dealing with erratic weather, but also in providing a better overall experience for tenants.

Even its location at the corner of 5th avenue and 30th street in BGC is fit to encourage a more pedestrian lifestyle and environmental stewardship.

“We’re very excited about it and we’ve had a wonderful relationship with ArthaLand who’s really been a leader in trying to bring the highest and best quality projects to Manila,” shared Stein. “We’re looking forward to adding another jewel in the Manila crown.”

ArthaLand is a focused real estate company bringing together a brain trust of experts in property development and management. It’s an entrepreneurial, world-class, boutique developer of unique, enduring, and sustainable projects in the residential, office, and leisure segments. Learn more on the ArthaLand website

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