The Original Green

Article excerpt

Alarmed by the irreversible impact of climate change, many Filipino architects and engineers are taking a second look at traditional, native designs and techniques which were, for centuries, in tune with a tropical environment.Last Saturday, the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) launched the “Green Building Initiative.” In her introductory speech, erstwhile UAP president, Arch. Prosperidad C. Luis, saluted a precursor of “green architecture” – Arch. Geronimo V. Manahan – whose book on passive cooling and sustainable ventilation for tropical Filipino houses is an irreplaceable fount of knowledge for students and practitioners alike.Significantly Arch. P. Luis pointed out the vital and inevitable connection with heritage: “Our forefathers knew how to ‘green’ and early testaments of their wisdom in designing with nature are the bahay kubo and bahay na bato...” She continued to say, “...but the Americans who introduced air-conditioning almost succeeded in making us forget all that.”However, Arch. P. Luis ended her talk with an optimistic note when she showed her faith in our historians, archaeologists, advocates and action people of heritage conservation societies who will make sure that our remaining heritage resources and the “green” wisdom and skills with which these were constructed will not be obliterated. …