Friday, September 12, 2014

Storm-Surge Ready Dwellings

Project designs by Arch Marvin Mijares.
To inquire or contact him, please use the Contact Form
on the sidebar.
Storm surge in Metro Manila? In coastal towns probably but not in the middle of this metropolis. Right? In cities near the bay probably, like Navotas and Malabon, but not in Quezon City or Makati. But we forget that once upon a time, Marikina was severely hit by deadly floods during Ondoy--and Marikina is far from any sea or bay.

The Philippines is an archipelago, and as such, being surrounded by large bodies of water, it's not hard to imagine how even its central plains lying far from bodies of water are prone to storm surges. Crisscrossing the central plains are rivers and creeks which can swell incredibly in extreme rains and drown entire towns, districts and even cities, catching us all by surprise.

Multi-Level Dwellings

In light of recent catastrophic events affecting even inland cities, it is high time to seriously consider storm-surge factors in building design. Preventive measures are always lots better than remedial measures. Let's not wait till it's too late. Often, safety measures are formulated only when mass destruction and death have occurred. Before the worse happens to you, your family or your property assets, re-think about the structure of your residence.

Multi-level dwellings are highly recommended to render dwellings storm-surge ready. Two to three level houses--better if 4 floors or 3 with a rooftop--provide escape to higher levels easily possible during a rapid storm surge. Occupants can seek quick refuge on the upper floors while buying time for rescue to arrive in time. Take one residential area right in the middle of Quezon City, for instance--Parkway Village.

During Ondoy, the residents were too confident that no flood of incredible proportions would hit them. After all, they were in the inner land where no huge body of water was close by. But the unimaginable happened. At 10 am, flood waters suddenly rose from the streets at a very rapid pace, taking only a few seconds before the ground floors of residences were submerged under water.

Soon, the waters were reaching the second floors, and then the roof tops--all within minutes. One-storey residences didn't stand a chance. When we inspected the area after the typhoon, the most horrifying stories were from residences with one-storey height.

As relevant today in construction design as seismic analysis is, should be storm-surge consideration. And the best option here is multi-level houses which are storm-surge ready dwellings, without compromising aesthetics and economics.

The multi-level residences above were done by our friend Arch Marvin Mijares. For similar designs and construction or price estimates, please use the Contact Form on the sidebar.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Modern Concept of Shelter

House designs by Arch Marvin Mijares.
A concept of shelter today is protection, derived from the root word "shell." Before anything else, residences as shelters should provide safety and protection, not just posh design. First of all, there are the elements to protect inhabitants from, like sunlight, rain, wind, storm, and pollution, to name some. Second, protection from criminal elements. Third, privacy protection. And fourth, protection from social discrimination. Complete aesthetics, after all, is protected beauty.

Protection from the Elements

The Philippines, being along the equator, is a frequent path of tropical depressions and storms, and more recently, super typhoons. Moreover, being in the tropics, we are often hit by severe sunlight plus dryness in summer which often result to drought. In addition, recently we saw how severe flooding and earthquake can likewise devastate structures  Architectural shelter design should then give allowances for these factors to provide a concept of shelter.

Protection from Criminality

Houses, big and small, should consider criminality factor in design. And we should bear in mind that the bigger and more attractive the design, the more prone it is to criminality--robbery, intrusion, kidnapping, abduction, hostage-taking, and the like. This is not anymore something outrageously unlikely in our times. These things happen and building planning have a hand in their prevention. Aside from securing openings with sturdy covers, locks, and decorative steel grills, planners should also start considering "inhabitant orientation."

You want a video presentation like this? Please contact us!

Inhabitant orientation is the system of positioning inhabitants inside a structure in such a way that they find themselves often facing approaches and accesses to where they are instead of having their backs on them. For instance, residents washing dishes in the kitchen or washing clothes in the laundry area should always have a good view of people coming into their area instead of having their backs turned and not knowing what's happening behind them.

Privacy Protection

Inhabitants should always feel secure and safe from public view or scrutiny when doing something of utmost private in nature. Walls, roofs, and closing options on openings should take care of this need, as well as CCTV cams and hidden security gadgets, which can also help secure residents from criminal elements.

Social Discrimination

Finally, a concept of shelter in the modern sense should also talk about creating an apt or relevant design quality for the shelter that makes its inhabitants safe from social prejudice or ostracism. A house or office design incongruous to the context of its neighborhood will expose its inhabitants to possible criticism and banishment. Thus, shelter should be presentable enough to the community it belongs to.

To have your house or office designed aptly and relevantly to its immediate milieu and to the times, inside and out, consult our friend Arch Marvin Mijares using the Contact Form on the sidebar. Please see his projects via the video above, which is also a sample of the video service we offer for your special events.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Getting an Architect is Cheaper in the Long Run than Merely Dealing with Foremen

Actual dream house projects by our friend
Arch. Marvin Mijares. If you want his services, just
use our Contact Form on the sidebar.
Architects are Trained to Help You Get What You Want with Your Budget

A lot of folks planning on building their dream houses or business places think they're getting cheaper deals when they do without an architect. They prefer talking with foremen who act as contractors, and getting the architect's fee out of the way feels like big savings, right? Wrong.

Most of us often don't get to hold big-enough money to build dream houses with, so we better make use of it the smartest way we can. I mean, it's often a once in a lifetime thing to earn money that big--and then you waste it all away by getting a bad deal with small-time contractors who make a mess of your dream house or business place. And often, we get this amount through bank or PAG-IBIG lending which we'll have to pay dearly for after.

In the end, you spend more money dealing with mere foremen than if you dealt with a professional architect. Your building cost often ends up higher when you hire cheap labor to build your dream house. Take this lady I know, for instance. She hired a foreman-carpenter to do her small 5X5-meter studio-type residence, thinking it would cost her less. However, the small project took 1 year to finish (no kidding) and cost her almost a fortune.

She learned a most valuable lesson she'd never forget in her life--never cut down too much on your dream house.

After all, if it's a "dream house" or "dream business place" you want, you have to shell out some. And it's the wisest investment actually, saving you not just money and time but a lot of headaches and heart aches after.

The small architect's fee you'd be paying actually is a good investment in the end. The fee is small compared to what you'd spend with the mess foremen-carpenters are apt to make out of your dream house. I've had a lot of friends and acquaintances make complaints about how some bunch of carpenters turned their dream houses into huge frustrations, to no avail. Once the structure is up, no amount of complaining will change it except that you pour in new cash for a new contract to repair the mess.

And what if you have limited budget? You will have to make do with a "dream" house or business place that makes you sick each time you see it. So, if say, your fixed budget is P1.2 million, you should make sure you entrust that budget to a smart and initiated professional who knows the right system for your requirement and budget and who'd be professionally honest to recommend an alternative in case something is really not feasible.

Here are the advantages of hiring a licensed Architect for your small or big dream project:

1. Backed by educated procedures and schedules that make the project systematic and cost-effective.
2. Architects are answerable to their signed commitments. They have a license, title, and career to protect.
3. Architects can not run away from responsibilities because they are easily traceable from their PRC license and United Architects of the Philippines membership.
4. Everything is agreed on and signed on the architectural and working drawings plus the official cost estimates and specifications.
5. Every construction system used is backed with engineering estimates for structural sturdiness and approved by the city engineer's office. Every phase of the construction is inspected with a professional eye for details.

Foremen and carpenters can always just disappear or deny or ignore client's complaints after the project is done and the contract is paid for. They have no license or title to protect. And I have seen how some of them simply abandoned projects in the middle of everything in search of another more lucrative project. I know a couple who, after giving a huge amount of money to their contractor, one day just found their unfinished dream house abandoned by the contractor for whatever reason.

Because they didn't want any hassle or didn't want to attend court proceedings if they filed charges (and that's additional expense), they just forgot about the contractor and hired a new one--and paid new contract money.

And I know of stories where the contractor-foreman was even a close relative of the client, but the same anomalies prospered, just the same. Well, not all contractor-foremen are probably like that, but why risk your hard-earned money for your dream house or business place?

So, get a licensed and professional architect. They are trained and mandated by law to give their clients nothing but the best the project budget could make out. It's good investment in the end and more cost-effective.

If you need an architect for your dream house--like the ones on the picture above made by our friend Arch. Marvin Mijares--simply use the HOUSEpinoy Contact Form on the sidebar for inquiries or project estimates.

Build Your Dream House the Way You Want It

Dream houses are only so if they're built according to how you want them. I've heard a lot of people complain about the contractors they had who built their own version of their clients' "dream" houses. Then I pondered--yeah, why is it that most small contractors today cannot stick to the plans you give them? Instead, they implement their own plans--how they see your "dream house" fit into their agenda.

And that's pretty frustrating for clients.

Imagine spending your hard-earned money only to see your contractors's dream house rise up from the property you bought? It's not your dream house he built--it's his. And this business has got to stop now. Clients should start seeing their very dream houses rise up from their lots. And contractors should be servants to that ideal, not the other way around.

Well, I have met big-time builders who really do what they clients want to the letter. But they're already big-time. If you're planning on having your small dream house built, contracting them is definitely out of the question. They won't take building projects below P50M. I mean, they're big-time. So, what happens to those of us who just want to have our small dream houses come true? Are there any more good contractors around catering to small projects like ours?

Well, I have this architect-friend who has been in the building business for years and have built several good projects and made clients satisfied and happy. He builds dream houses and offices and business places according to his clients' wishes, visions, and purposes. In short, according to the clients' dreams. And that's real service.

Architect Marvin Mijares can help you realize your dream family house. The Aspiras and Zotomayor Residences in the images above are just some of his finished projects for happy clients. The Aspiras is a classic rendition of traditional modern villas or mansions typical for most posh subdivisions. The Zotomayor is a multi-level townhouse type with a Zen character ideal for edifices built within limited spaces but with glamour and elegance.

Make every cent of your hard-earned money count when building your dream house. A key here is to get the best builder to entrust your dream house with and who would understand your needs and wishes.

For inquiries on similar dream house projects to be done for you by Arch. Mijares, simply comment below and we'll get to you as soon as possible. Absolutely no obligation on your part during inquiries.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Psychological Effects of Zen Houses


At one glance, zen houses give you tranquility. The unusual symmetry creates an impression of orderliness that puts your mind at ease. Some ask, is it just psychological or does the design really have a mental relaxation effect, the way Japanese traditional houses and gardens do? Some observers are convinced it's both. The psychological effects of Zen houses are evident in Metro Manila as more and more people prefer to have the design trait on their dwellings, seeing its mind-calming and mind-health value.

Incidentally, some mind experts have aired their concern on the growing incidence of mental disorders due to mental stress. Hence, the increasingly rampant cases of dementia, strokes, hallucination, paranoia, and abnormal feats of anger. And they aver that these are due partly to environmental stress factors--what people see and feel around them that affect their mental disposition.

And talking of environmental, what else contributes to this factor than the house we stay in? The home we make as our daily  sanctuary and refuge from the outside world is sheltered in a physical structure we see and experience daily. How its appearance and atmosphere [along with its functions] affect us emotionally has some reverberation on our inner health condition.

For instance, tired and stressed from work, you go home to your refuge sanctuary--your house. And once you set foot on your property and see it, some emotional stimulation trigger in you, affecting your relaxation or stressed-up mode. Of course, in this regard, a happy familial relationship does powerfully well. But aside from it, the physical structure of your dwelling has lots to contribute.


Some house designs have chaotic first impressions. You see every design available in the world lumped into it and the result is simply mind boggling, or sometimes even disturbing, and your emotions are stirred negatively even before you enter the house. Emotions stirred up like that has the house design to blame to some degree. So, design your house well.


The psychological effects of Zen houses are evident as one time during a site visit, prospective buyers changed mood on seeing the Zen character of the projects for sale. You could see the calming effect on their faces. They stopped awhile to regard the house from a distance, appreciated the whole thing in a contemplative mood, and that set their mood to appreciate the houses further as they went in to check the interiors. And the projects were sold!

Indeed, the psychological effects of Zen houses inspire a quiet spirit, mediation, and appreciation for the small details in life--and sales as well.

Interested to buy the Zen houses above? Please contact me: 0916-386-5251.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Symbolic Bahay Kubo

People have got to change their traditional view of what the Philippines is, which is often associated with the rustic and underdeveloped bahay kubo. While at the same time, it isn't timely yet to get rid of the symbolic bahay kubo totally because in truth, we are yet underdeveloped as a nation. 

The bahay kubo is reflective of the rustic Filipino simple dream of home convenience and amenities. It is of light materials readily available in his milieu, easy to construct, easy to move around, and refreshingly cool even in the fierce heat of summer. These Filipino housing principles should never be left aside even in modern day Pinoy architecture ideas. 

Light Materials

I know we have the propensity to borrow foreign architecture ideas, and it's good to explore as many possibilities, but we should never forget to go realistically back home and remember that we're building in the Philippines. Light materials are always the best for our context because of the fact that our geographical reality is complicated with thousands of crisscrossing seismic faults which experts say could trigger major earthquakes anytime. 

We are in the so-called pacific ream of fire which is dotted with a systematic lineage of major volcanic activities. The symbolic bahay kubo is powerfully resistant against major tremors, with its tensile strength ever an effective anti-earthquake feature. Not only so, but the light material is also the best counter measure against tropical weather disturbances. The light materials may be easily swayed and destroyed by gusty winds but they are as easily re-constructed after. Unlike heavy concrete materials which are costly to re-construct and dangerous during destruction.

Light materials with due consideration for durability should be designed for the modern Filipino dwelling, still holding fast to the symbolic bahay kubo principles while exploring more possibilities with modern construction technology. 

Easy to Construct

Let's not forget that majority of Filipinos still live within the poverty line. We should conceptualize a kind of modern Philippine architecture that is easy to construct with locally available materials. And I'm not referring to the squatter-shanty type that was once adapted by the housing authority that was later trashed due to its impracticality. And this easy-to-construct Pinoy architecture ideas should be closely tied up with a much more affordable government financing like PAGIBIG to be affordable to the largest segment of the populace. A bahay kubo is easy to construct. We should take hints from that and develop construction principles from the same.

Easy to Move Around

The symbolic bahay kubo principle of being easily moved around is this: it should be easy to re-design or re-model and extend. Filipino families are naturally extendable, and in fact most families are extended. That's how we are. We should develop Pinoy architecture ideas that make it easy for people to adjust their dwellings for future expansion, preferably, vertically. Steel construction coupled with wooden finishes is a welcome development here.

Refreshingly Cool

Without resorting to air-conditioning, we should develop a tropical design that maximizes on what natural ventilating refreshment is afforded by our climate. We should develop more our open space designs and principles of building openings. For instance, how can we let in more air into our rooms without compromising security? 

If only we can devise an effective community security system that can considerably reduce burglary and create more open spaces (like interspersing mini gardens) for making more windows and openings possible, we can create refreshingly cool abodes with the symbolic bahay kubo concept, and make homes more Filipino, and the Philippines more Filipinistic.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Modern Pinoy Architecture Ideas

I'm always amazed by the striking designs of my batchmate, Arch. Vener Quizon. I'm featuring him here as a design guru and see for yourself why. His unique designs are generally aesthetically tropical with a touch of Asian modernism and practical conservatism. But what I really love are his zen designs which radiate with an aura of contemplative spirit making inhabitants easily adapt to a relaxing ambiance, among modern Pinoy architecture ideas I love espousing here.

I love zen designs because they are relevant to our world's fast-pace and stressed out lifestyle. Stress is really a mental issue and can trigger lots of deadly and debilitating diseases. Treatments are made for stress, but the real cure is a relaxing atmosphere in the office and home. And this is why I appreciate modern Pinoy architecture ideas with zen modernism features like the works of my FB friend and batchmate, Arch. Vener Quizon.

Modern Pinoy architecture ideas, I feel, should veer more to a refreshing and relaxing design more than anything else. This is the need of the times. More than aesthetic considerations--which are also vital, mind you--designers and builders ought to put more time and effort on coming up with looks, features, and conveniences that afford and promote relaxation. A relaxing atmosphere equals good work bearing and mood. That equates to good human relations, good working atmosphere, and therefore, good performance and good business.

And what better defines a relaxing ambiance than modern tropical designs with a touch of the zen character? And what better designers on this than creative Pinoy architects creating a subtle architectural blend of nature, modernism, art, and function. Just look at the HousePinoy designs here that exude unassuming elegance, value, and a slight whiff of Filipinism.

On the other hand, full building edifices are rendered with a desirable mix of zenism and modern western architecture. Enjoy other modern Pinoy architecture ideas in the following images:



Thanks to the kindness of Arch. Vener Quizon for letting me post his works of art here.