Instant Domestic Enclosure

Date 2012–Ongoing
Client Liquid Earth
Value n.a.
Location Sagada, Philippines

sustainability temporary structures

I.D.E. Construction progress in July 2016 - Credits AP

IDE is the design of portable house combining sustainable concepts with high standards of domestic design to provide for a camp experience surpassing the idea of provisional housing.

Artist impression. Credits AP Valletta.

The IDE project forms part of a larger commission; the preparing of a masterplan and designing of a sustainable-resort in the mountain province of Sagada, central Luzon, one of the main islands of the Philippines Archipelago. The resort will be located at the top of a mountain range and will overlook the surrounding valleys that house small villages.

Artist impression. Credits AP Valletta.

The delicate nature of the surroundings, both environmental and social, dictated and informed all of the architectural decisions.

Credits AP

With tourism to the area increasing, the local communities endeavored to develop their land to better accommodate the growing interest. Yet because of the nature of the site, conservation laws all but rule out conventional development. It is the local culture and environment that attracts tourism to the area. Low impact architecture is necessary to contribute function while respecting the local aesthetic. In addition, all structures will be required to sustain and improve the current environmental and social conditions. To do so the architects utilised indigenous building principles and construction methodologies, lacing them with contemporary materials and ideals.

The IDE is a tent-like enclosure, designed to modularly populate, individually or in clusters, the sensitive resort. Based on the Philippines vernacular Nipa Huts, the IDE is raised off the ground using adjustable, cloven-hoofed-like stilts. The outer membrane houses three interior tensile structures (bathroom/lounge-area/double-bedroom) around a central interior fireplace. The light aerodynamic structure uses a pitched roof as both a chimney and natural ventilation system, cooling and heating according to climatic needs. The lightweight floors of the IDE hold the necessary infrastructure; electricity source, water storage, boiler, ventilation intake, and sanitary pipes.

The delicate site parameters conditioned the IDE’s design into being the least intrusive, and the most sustainable possible. Research and design development made it apparent that the IDE had clear humanitarian potential.

Designed to be very lightweight in structure, IDE is rapidly deployable, and creates spacious enclosures that can serve as encampments. It is easily transportable to remote areas via a large number of routes and is suitable for situations such as natural disaster, or conflict.

Also, the project has been developed keeping in mind potential uses for a new camp experience, a central problem in our contemporary world. Camps are often the result of exceptional circumstances; from conflict, natural disaster, exploration or tourism with increasing frequency and ever greater facility. The constructions of camps reveal problems and possibilities associated with our built environment as it is radically transformed by globalization, mobility and political flux. IDE's design can be developed as a semi permanent camp module able to accommodate high standards of living.

World Architecture Festival, Singapore, Experimental category, shortlisted (2014)

All credits
AP Valletta