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AECOM and Harvard Graduate School of Design envision Manila's future in newly completed study

2018-09-28 12:26

MANILA, Philippines, Sept. 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- AECOM, a premier, fully integrated global infrastructure firm, together with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), hosted a public forum to launch the exhibition of Manila: Future Habitations at the San Ignacio Church and Mission House. Centered on envisioning Manila's future, the forum and exhibition are the culmination of Harvard GSD's research of the 2018 Design Research Studio, launched in February with the Philippines' capital as its subject.

One of the innovative concepts proposed. Computer modelling allowed the nuanced assemblages of built form and open spaces to be realized and tested for both authenticity and desired effect.
One of the innovative concepts proposed. Computer modelling allowed the nuanced assemblages of built form and open spaces to be realized and tested for both authenticity and desired effect.

The public forum engaged more than 300 key stakeholders in discussions on how Manila can overcome and address challenges to sustainable development and renewal, with a particular focus on the design of its human settlements, new types of dwellings, the connective tissue, common ground of cities and the challenge of designing for human conditions against future tensions. It also highlighted the need to future proof and establish sustainable development in the identified areas in Manila.

"The aspiration for a more livable city was palpable when we were here in February for the first public forum. What this six-part studio collaboration has reiterated is that while each city has a unique history and character, the aspirations of its citizens and the challenges of its policymakers are universal and representative of so many of the world's urban-centric issues, such as the economic drain of traffic congestion and homogeneity," said Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design, Harvard GSD.

"The Southeast Asia Studio project has been a very successful and meaningful collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Design because we are shaping the mindsets of new and existing generations, through the students' design research and public forums. It is imperative that we consider the future through new eyes and from fresh perspectives. We hope that the insights and proposals gained from the bright minds in this design exercise will be beneficial to Manila," said Sean Chiao, President, Asia Pacific, AECOM.

The Manila design studio illustrated urban design as jigsaw puzzle solving and demonstrated how local coherence across four sites was achieved by considering beyond the challenges of individual sites.

"The four sites of Intramuros, Manila's historic core, offer a series of unique opportunities for examining contemporary topics in Manila urban development. From re-programming the Port Area, to developing a construction framework for future housing expansion in Baseco, to addressing the wall at Intramuros, to rethinking connectivity across the Pasig River, the urban issues this studio focused are current pressing needs for Manila. However, many of these are also common," said Spela Videcnik, Design Critic in Architecture, Harvard GSD.

The Intramuros Administration, the Philippine government agency with responsibility for administering the historic district, partnered with AECOM and the Harvard Graduate School of Design to sponsor and support the Manila Studio research project.

"We are excited to be part of the study, and to unveil what AECOM and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design are proposing as a different and enhanced future for Manila under this program. The research proposals provide valuable insights and practical solutions which can be considered for implementation. We hope to increase livability and improve the quality of life of the Manila citizens through design," said Guiller Asido, Administrator, Intramuros Administration.

Manila: Future Habitations is the final part of the three-year series on Southeast Asian megacities, following Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, and the sixth year of the AECOM-Harvard GSD collaboration aimed at providing some of the GSD's top students with exposure to the urban design challenges & opportunities resulting from the hyper-growth across Asia's cities. The programme provides a platform for policy makers, urban planners, architects and business leaders in the subject city to engage with each other and with new generations of talent on future development. 

Manila: Future Habitations will be open to the public from 28 September at the San Ignacio Church in Intramuros. It features proposals for four adjacent sites in Manila, covering the Port of Manila; the Baseco compound; the Pasig Riverfront; and the Intramuros. It also showcase actual size housing prototype structures, scale models and graphic plans reflecting the studio research outcomes.


AECOM is built to deliver a better world. We design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organizations in more than 150 countries. As a fully integrated firm, we connect knowledge and experience across our global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, our work is transformative, differentiated and vital. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM had revenue of approximately $18.2 billion during fiscal year 2017. See how we deliver what others can only imagine at and @AECOM.

AECOM Media Contacts:

Esther Chew
+65 6580 2723

Jeffrey Siang
+603 7863 7800

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Source: AECOM
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