Green Architecture Sparks Environmental Interest

Dec 17th 2007

C FA’s Coffeehouse Forum came up recently with its most creative environmental subject — Green Architecture: Planning and Building Eco-Friendly Living Spaces. Nearly a hundred architects, engineers, urban planners, designers, artists and environmentalists gathered at the CFA Auditorium on October 26th to learn or simply satisfy their curiosity regarding this novel yet fast-emerging field in architecture and sustainable development.

Ms. Teresita Hermano, CFA Executive Director, introduced the forum to the participants as the first time CFA has focused on an environmental issue not concerning a natural resource. She also helpfully pointed out the fact that environmental concern is not just about keeping ourselves busy with conserving resources available to us, but also minding the way we build the very environment we choose to surround ourselves with.

The resource speaker was a young and innovative architect, Architect Daniel Lichauco, who proved to be well versed in the topic and established an easy rapport with his audience. He is presently the principal architect of Archion Architects, a design firm that adheres to the policy of functionality and flexibility. Architect Lichauco has recently written an article titled “Baby Steps Toward Green Architecture”, which came out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The article featured three green architectural structures in the country designed by his firm: the Jose Rizal University Gymnasium in Shaw Boulevard, the Aznar Coliseum of Southwestern University in Cebu and the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health at the Meralco Compound.

In his one-hour presentation, Arch. Lichauco discussed how various architectural principles can be used to improve the “greenness” of a design. He first debunked the notion that green architecture translates to nipa huts, bamboo structures and other structures made up of native materials. Green architecture essentially refers to a growing innovation in design, incorporating sustainable natural resource use, which in the long term, produces results that redound to the benefit of the environment. An example of this is energy conservation through designs that minimize power consumption, allow effective natural ventilation and sufficient lighting.

According to the article Seven Ways to Build Green by Roselind Hejl, a basic reference handout for the forum, “green building is an approach to design and construction that respects the environment and conserves resources. It is a common sense approach that is available to all home owners.” Architects or not, participants came out of the forum convinced that we can engage in green architecture or green building to help our ailing environment.

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