SUSTAINABLE architecture is a product of careful observation and a manifestation of creativity and innovation. Harnessing a commitment to championing this idea every step of the way entails a proactive attitude in promoting social relevance and responsive design.
Such has always been the virtue that drives renowned design firm WTA Architecture and Design Studio toward redefining the idea of community building anchored on promoting flexible, comprehensive, and forward-thinking urban and structural designs. “Architecture, in the first place, should already be sustainable, because failure to do so will affect the effectiveness of the design,” said WTA Architecture and Design Studio founder, Arch. William Ti Jr., in a recent media event. “Sustainability, therefore, is no longer a movement but mandatory in an industry which involves the society and the environment.”
WTA Architecture and Design Studio breeds a new generation of design professionals who are curators and proponents of the urban sphere. Founded in 2007 by Ti—who recently marked a milestone with the launch of his first book on architecture monographs, Human Scale—the firm has grown in number to over 50 individuals and has worked as design consultants in a wide range of projects such as retail shops, residential interiors, master planning, commercial, and institutional developments. “WTA team members are humanists. We create places that are critical to people’s lives and play a vital role in defining their sense of self and community,” Ti added.
Socially responsive designs
WTA takes pride in standing firm behind their idea of championing socially relevant architecture—designs that coexist in harmony with community elements, aesthetics that help create a more vibrant depiction of urban life and strengthen the idea of a functional society.
This vision comes to fruition by making sure the firm’s projects are built with foresight, taking into careful consideration how a development would spur growth in its locality and how it would work for people in defining their sense of individuality and community.
This thrust toward innovation becomes even more pronounced through the details of the blueprint for the 240,000-square-meter city-center in Balanga City, Bataan, that WTA has recently crafted. The development’s overall design mirrors a sense of an all-encompassing district by thoughtfully combining spaces for cultural, education and healthy activities in the city, and thus, clearly fosters lifestyle growth in the area. A 500-sq-m single-tower residential block, meanwhile, will be put in place to provide a coveted address for choice living spaces in the said district.
Nurturing a sustainable community
To help this design model become a more interactive living space for its future residents, Ti explains that communal areas like halls or garden porches should not be restricted to a single floor, but should be spread out on different levels to encourage interaction.
In fact, the firm believes density in high-rise structures may be more effective and more environment-friendly, when done properly, as it requires fewer resources and less roads, resulting in less of a carbon footprint.
Locations, on the other hand, may be reliant on clients but the firm’s part as architect and designers comes in responding to the environmental, social and economic requirements of the area.
“What we envision for projects like these are more than just having a grand façade or first-rate amenities. We try to imagine how we can bring in the elements of a vibrant, sprawling village in, say, a 34-story development, and we clearly see the possibility of turning it into a fully functional, vertical community,” Ti shared.
Promoting this virtue eyes to spark a more progressive movement toward making sustainability an organically embedded element in every design endeavor, instead of acting like a mere cherry on top of the pudding. “We are entering the perfect storm—the combined impact of resource depletion and a changing climate,” said Simon Wild in his op-ed piece for Shelter, a quarterly design glossy published by WTA.
“We need the next evolution or transformation in our businesses, in our industry, and in our society…every building, every building product, and every building supplier can create positive social and ecological change beyond its own boundaries by reevaluating the creation of value. The question remains: What will you do?”
As I have said in the past, designs that respond to an urgent need should be in the heart of every strategic business plan.
The idea of intelligent design is not only to provide architectures and developments with sound aesthetics but, more important, to lead us toward a more sustainable future.
“You cannot alter what’s organic to the setting, but what you can do is you can further the existing lifestyle in its provenance,” Ti concluded.