Defining Sustainability: Casas+Architects discusses why it matters in design and construction
As the call for more initiatives to combat climate change has become more urgent, sustainable and ‘green’ real estate is seen to be one of the most effective efforts from the building and construction sector to take part in.
Casas+Architects is one of the country’s pioneers in designing better buildings. Committed to integrating the architectural design with their natural environment, the firm utilizes the company values of imagination, creativity, and skill from the creation of concept down to the most minute construction of sustainable structures in the Philippines.
Designing Better Buildings
“Beyond our commitment to distinction, our goal is to work for a positive impact on individual lives, the environment, and communities through sustainable design,” Architect Meloy Casas, founder and president of Casas+Architects said. “The goal of every sustainable building is to reduce the carbon footprint during its construction and lessen its negative impacts to the environment throughout its lifecycle,” he added.
Being one of the multi-awarded architectural firms in the country, their thrust towards promoting sustainability with their projects is what defines their work and differentiates them from the rest. Since 2008, they helped in forming the Manila skyline, completing notable structures such as the Grand Hyatt/Metrobank Center, Pacific Plaza, Icon Residences, and Maybank Performing Arts Center, among others.
Cebu’s Frontrunners of Sustainable Real Estate
Today, they are expanding their operations to the Visayas with the design of one of its newest premium ‘green’ buildings, JEG Tower @ One Acacia. Architect Meloy has translated JEG Development Corporation (JDC)’s vision of making Cebu City more livable.
“After a serious bidding process with other well–known architectural firms, the board selected Casas, not only because of his expertise but also because it was felt that he best knew how to turn JDC’s long–term dreams into a reality,” Stefan Garcia, the company’s Estate and Business Development Manager said.
Driven to push forward this initiative to become the new standard, JDC specifically partnered with Casas+Architects to design this 22-floor tower towards sustainability, using environment-friendly materials and would operationalize as energy-efficient as possible. It is also one of the first buildings in the Cebu business park to be LEED pre-certified.
“Architect Meloy was very active in the initial design stages of the building and has continued to be very present throughout the whole process,” Garcia added.
“The building design is the most important factor in achieving points for LEED certification,” Michael Glindro, Senior Manager for Landlord Representation of KMC said. “It is critical to have all stakeholders and design team members to plan and coordinate the design properly to build a truly green and sustainable building,” he added.
KMC handles all the sale and leasing transactions for JEG Tower @ One Acacia, which is set to be completed early next year.
Why Go ‘Green’?
‘Green’ buildings are more costly to build and operate, however, this is Casas+Architects and JDC’s investment to a better future for the environment.
“We’re doing this not with the cost in mind,” Marko Sarmiento, JDC’s COO stated. “The ‘green’ movement in the real estate industry has so much potential, and I think the Cebuanos can benefit from it,” he said.
From the design perspective, Architect Casas said that going ‘green’ benefits both landlords and tenants in the long run.
“’Green’ operations and management can reduce operating costs, enhance building marketability, increase workers’ productivity and reduce potential liability resulting from indoor air quality problems,” he enumerated. “On the other hand, the indoor environmental quality of ‘green’ buildings can have a significant effect on the health and well–being of its occupiers.”
“If we are building something, we are doing it the best way possible,” Ayla Gomez, JDC’s brand manager added.
“Early on in the design phase, he encouraged us to dream big and not to think too much of the financial impact,” Sarmiento shared. “Some of the early designs were contrasting with what we eventually decided on, which made the process fun and engaging.”
The Identifiers of Success
Designing and building a ‘green’ building in the Philippines, especially in Cebu, comes with a challenge, however, Architect Casas saw this as an opportunity to excel even more.
“The building orientation and location was a great challenge since its located on a prominent corner lot and bounded by two busy streets,” he said, citing one of the many technical difficulties in bringing his design to life.
“The design would make the most of the unusual shape of the corner lot on Archbishop Reyes which is sure to become an icon of the Cebu skyline,” Garcia said.
Architect Meloy Casas made a name for himself in the industry as a man with boundless passion and dedication for his craft. His eye for architecture and his ability to see beyond the essence of his design is what makes him one of the most trusted names in the industry.
“JDC always desires to work with people at the forefront of the industry, matching the visionary ideals we hold to make Cebu a better place in which to live,” Garcia stated. “With Casas+Architects’ high–skilled workforce and use of technology, married well with our vision, and it hard for us to imagine what it would be like with a less expert firm.”
“Considering the stature and reputation as one of the country’s leading Architects, working with Architect Casas has been as much a learning experience as it has been a great pleasure,” Sarmiento said. “Despite his many projects, he took the time to personally guide us through the process of selecting the design that was right for us,” he added.