Architecture can reflect the culture of the area and showcase sustainable design. The Cagbalete Sand Clusters, located in Taguig, Philippines, is a multi-use development designed with respect for the surrounding ecology and history of farming and fishing in the area. 

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Graph of the architecture showing how it could be stacked and have natural ventilation during different seasons/months

Cagbalete Sand Clusters is made of prefabricated sections that can be placed and added on to in a horizontal or vertical direction. Each of the units, individually or placed together, showcase the coral design inspired by the local marine ecology

Related: GOMMAdesign’s Coral City is a Self-Sustaining Eco-Village for the Philippines

Interior of the architecture with people walking about

Lead architect Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. and client C Ideation envisioned a community they described as “farm leisure.” They are developing a self-sustaining group of clusters that rely on electricity produced from solar umbrella pods and passive design techniques such as natural ventilation. 

A mud crab pond right by a dining area

The structures include a private family home and a restaurant that offers farm-to-table endemic plant species and seasonal mud crabs from nearby farms. This not only speaks to healthy living and local industry, but mud crab farming is also credited with preventing soil erosion and protection of vital mangroves.

Hapa nets strewn about with a person lounging inside the structure

Hapa nets throughout the structure offer protection from the weather and insects while reflecting the historic use of the nets.

Hapa nets used outside with dining tables about

“They have elevated the humble hapa net into something beyond its utilitarian origins,” stated the press release. “It is now both part of the structure’s construction membrane, a tool for food production, and a web that facilitates the daily activities of the structure’s inhabitants, enmeshing time, culture and space.”

A saltwater grotto with people soaking in it

For residents and visitors, the design includes a saltwater grotto, along with mud pools and soaking pools. The designers hope the multi-focused design elements cater to tourists, specifically eco-tourism, while honoring the Filipino culture — which spans 7,641 islands made up of varying natural and community elements. 

Aerial view of the coral-like structure

Cagbalete Sand Clusters won the Food Category of the WAFX Awards this year. The project is also a finalist in the “Experimental” Category of the World Architecture Festival, which will be held this December 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal.

+ Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. 

Images via Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.