International green architecture experts in 2010 symposium

International green architecture experts in symposium 
By Walter Ang
January 11, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Two international authorities in environmental urban design will speak at a national architecture symposium at the University of Santo Tomas, tackling the topic "Asian Green Cities: Visions of the Modern World."

Ken Yeang, urban planner and director of London-based firm Llewelyn Davies Yeang, and Darko Radovic, academic scholar from Keio University and Tokyo University in Japan and University of Melbourne in Australia, will discuss global concerns and practices related to sustainability and eco- masterplanning and how these can be applied in an Asian context.

The conference is organized by Architecture Network (Archinet), the UST College of Architecture's student organization, and will be held at the university's Medicine Auditorium.

"Asia is poised to host a generation of green cities that will correct the mistakes of industrial-era planning," says John Nicholas Ramos, head of Ramos Architecture Studio and faculty adviser of Archinet. "Our Asian neighbors are already embracing sustainable features in their design process. However, the Philippines still espouses design and planning principles influenced by the old ways of the western world that are now considered obsolete."

Relevance The symposium will address issues and challenges that face a developing nation like the Philippines in light of the current state of the global environment; and how architects, designers and planners play crucial roles in offering solutions to these problems facing the nation.

"In the aftermath of the recent typhoon disasters, the debate and discussion on the need for sound urban planning and environmental architecture takes on a new spark," says John Joseph Fernandez, college dean and chairman of the Council of Deans and Heads of Architecture Schools in the Philippines.

"This one-day symposium aims to go further than merely generating awareness. Our goal is to think together, develop a good comprehension of what constitutes sustainable practice today, and come up with concrete actions that are not only globally relevant but also locally applicable."

Dan Lichauco, managing partner of Archion Architects and one of the college's associate professors, says, "There are many professors who teach as well as practice green architecture in UST. Green architecture for the country is possible and is making strong inroads. Archion Architects is designing the third LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System)-registered building in the country.

"Although a US rating system, it adds credibility to the idea of green architecture. Eco-masterplanning is possible but it has to be worked together with other things like population control, mass transit systems and decentralization of the primary cities, namely Manila, Cebu and Davao, in order to be fully exploited as a movement and design philosophy."

Yeang will share insights from his state-of-the-art approach to masterplanning based on environmental principles. He will also present research studies and examples of his projects in Asia and other parts of the world that highlight green design.

Yeang is regarded as one of the foremost designers and noted authorities on ecologically-responsive architecture and planning. He has pioneered the passive low-energy design of tall buildings that he terms "bioclimatic skyscrapers."

Radovic argues that neither the path of ecological nor that of cultural sustainability can be undertaken separately and that there is no viable future without their harmonious synthesis. His theory of eco-urbanity is based on his investigations on concepts of urbanity and sustainable development.

Radovic will discuss examples of best planning and design practices from various parts of the world. He will also give a background of research projects that promote environmentally and culturally responsible urban futures.

Both Yeang and Radovic have doctorates in their fields of expertise, have held faculty positions in universities all over the world, authored numerous books, and are multi-awarded for their designs.

"We want this event to serve as a catalyst to jumpstart future academic collaborations and linkages with leading institutions in Asia as the College of Architecture marks its 80th foundation and as the University of Santo Tomas celebrates its quadricentennial," says fourth year student Mark Marcelino, president of Archinet.

This symposium follows through on a similar conference pioneered by Archinet last year featuring Chicago-based architect Lira Luis. Inviting and coordinating with the speakers was initiated and done completely by the students through email.

"We invited both speakers as early as 2008," says Marcelino. "We weren't very hopeful since we're just students and we didn't expect them to take us seriously. We were surprised when they agreed but their schedules didn't clear up until this year. Both graciously waived their speaker's fee and honorarium while Sofitel Hotel agreed to provide accommodations. We only need to shoulder their travel expenses, thus the seminar fee."

He adds, "The student participants will be able to share their critical appraisal and their own ideas in an open forum about the future of urban sustainability which, hopefully, will be pitched to the decision makers and the prime movers and shakers in the industry."

"Asian Green Cities: Visions of the Modern World" is on January 30, 2010. For details, email or call 0915-443-12-02 or 0917-918-18-07.

Also published online: