In November 2013, super-typhoon Haiyan battered the central Philippines and destroyed over four million households—including the NGO Streetlight’s orphanage, office, and study center. A collaborative community effort led by Eriksson Furunes Architecture and Leandro V. Locsin Partners & Boase sprang to life to redesign and build post-disaster structures for Streetlight that were better equipped to weather storms. The design process helped the community heal in the aftermath of Haiyan and took cues from locally available materials and construction techniques.
Located on a four-hectare site in the center of Tagpuro, the new Streetlight Tagpuro is set 16 kilometers north of and further inland than their previous seaside site. The architects collaborated with the community through a series of workshops to develop the design, which was informed by community-chosen concepts of “open & light” and “closed & safe.” Heavy concrete volumes make up the structural base and provide refuge during typhoons. In contrast, lightweight timber frames installed on top promote natural ventilation and allow strong winds to pass through without damaging the building.
The architects wrote: “The architecture explores the values of honest materiality, craftsmanship, expressive tectonics, and vernacular sensitivity. Through the deliberate selection of materials and construction methods based on their potential for adaptation by local workers, the construction process serves as a mode of capacity building and livelihood training. Finally, through a participatory and community-based design process that affords a framework for local expression, the project becomes opportunity not only to build architecture, but also to build a representation of shared values and shared meanings.”
Streetlight Tagpuro currently consists of an office, study center, and orphanage. There are plans of adding a clinic in the future. Community members were employed and trained on the construction site and many became licensed carpenters and masons by the end of the project. Streetlight Tagpuro won the Civic and Community Category and the Small Project of The Year Award at the World Architecture Festival 2017.
Photo credit: Alexander Eriksson Furunes