1.1 Climate Change-Adaptive Architectural Design

Philippine Architectural Design Paradigms
Copyright 2013 Architecture Advocacy International Foundation (AAIF), Inc.
Climate Change-Adaptive Architectural Design
Climate change is brought about by global warming through the
unchecked use of fossil fuels (chiefly coal) by industrialized
countries. These have warmed our oceans and have given rise to
supertyphoons (with some also saying that foreign military
activities have something to do with it). The Philippines (PH) is the
wall that protects Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia as the PH
is the first landfall of Pacific Ocean-bred supertyphoons i.e. which
grow weaker only after passing the PH, thereby protecting the
rest of Asia. Given this reality, climate change adaptation and
disaster preparedness/ resiliency for buildings should now be the
norm for PH buildings and structures.
For exposed sites/ buildings/ structures/ projects i.e. those located
along low-lying coastal areas, sited at mountain/ hill slopes or
bases, sites constantly battered by strong monsoon and storm
winds and similar locations, these new architectural design
paradigms could start by modifying portions of conventional
architectural designs into the following (but not limited to the
following), viz:
1. Sites/ Grounds
a) less paving around the building to help retard surface water
flow i.e. through percolation into the ground, inasmuch as
the collected surface water contribute to flash flooding at
lower elevations within a community; and
b) proper setbacks and compliance with mandated legal
easements (MLEs) along waterways to maintain floodwater
at a low level i.e. narrower waterways translate into higher
flood levels;
2. Buildings/ Structures
a) use of concrete deck roofs instead of sloped metal roofs;
however, while this assures that the building/ structure is
considerations such as the capital expenditure for
waterproofing and maintenance as well as considerations
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Philippine Architectural Design Paradigms
Copyright 2013 Architecture Advocacy International Foundation (AAIF), Inc.
of the amounts of the reflected light and heat of lightcolored finishes for the concrete deck roof i.e. dark colors
cannot be used as these shall absorb considerable
amounts of heat, thereby affecting the operation and
comfort levels inside the building;
b) if the use of metal roofs cannot be avoided, provide much
steeper roof slopes for metal roofs (because flatter slopes
are easily penetrated by strong winds);
c) use of roof that is sloped at all four (4) sides (since typhoon
winds come from all directions) i.e. cuatro aguas;
d) use of very short eaves i.e. the roof extension outside the
exterior wall of the building or residence, usually provided
for shade and aesthetics (inasmuch as long eaves cause
uplift which open up the roof cavity to more/ extensive wind
damage); the short eaves could be paired with medias
agua (shed roofs) over windows and doors;
e) gutterless roofs (as leaves and debris clog up the drains,
downspouts and catch basins and the accumulated water
cause the undrained roof to collapse; this has to be
partnered with a trench drain, sand pit or a sand and gravel
bed at the ground below to absorb the falling water;
f) controlled roof cavity and/or ceiling cavity openings to
relieve or equalize pressure inside and outside the building
during strong winds i.e. a certain amount of wind has to be
let in the building/ structure to relieve and/or equalize air
g) for flood-prone or flood-risk areas, the use of the lower
level as a multi-use, flexible use space (that can be
flooded), and which can be connected to the upper level/s
of the building through stairs or ramps (for use by PWDs or
large domesticated/ farm animals); and
h) use of stilted or floating building technologies, if technically
and financially feasible, if safe and if locally available.
Nothing follows.
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