An ‘Out-Of-The-Box’ Solution For Manila’s Housing Woes

by Amor Maclang, Business Mirror

WITH the advent of green building and opting for better sustainable materials in our business districts, the landscape of home building begs to follow suit. This brings about the question: What kind of homes and structures should we be building today?

According to The Cities Alliance, the Philippines has been building and modernizing so rapidly that it now ranks among the highest in urbanization in the world. This is quite obvious, what with towering infrastructures, endless constructions and worsening traffic all becoming “parts of the norm” nowadays.

Filipinos in the Metro are constantly looking for residences within the urban areas, opting for condominium units and, thus, prompting even more vertical developments to be built as we speak. This leaning toward the “vertical lifestyle” is evidenced in the Residential Real Estate Price Index (RREPI) showing that majority of home loans were used to acquire condominium units. However, these structures are built in such redundant succession that the quality of building suffers along with sustainability, while rent and sale prices continue to increase.

As residential congestion rises and calamity and pollution continue to ravage the urban areas, there has been a slow resurgence in the advocacy of prefabricated homes. Revived in the local and international scene, the quickly built, durable, completely indoor-manufactured modular home has now made a welcome return.

Modular homes, created in “modules” of prefabricated materials to create quick and sustainable structures, are stereotypically pegged as square blocks that are functional, yet aesthetically, inferior to more complicated built houses and premium units. That led to a lack of interest in the market and modular homes were put in the real-estate backburner.

The mention of modular homes oft brings to mind either images of simple block-like houses or Minecraft, but in reality, these “square homes” can be the industrial innovation that our country needs to continue progressing in an economically and ecologically sustainable setting.

Recently, the prefab trend has begun to trickle back into the mainstream, with designers finding ways to make gorgeous modular homes that feel premium yet maintain their affordable and sustainably effective nature. With the quicker building time (you can have a finished home in less than 60 days), affordable building, sustainable materials and their strong resistance to various natural disasters, it’s not a hard decision to opt for modular.

A testament to the creative beauty that can be generated off this structure, Filipino real-estate developer Robbie Antonio launched “Revolution Pre-crafted Properties,” a project that gathered 39 architects from different countries to create premium modular homes (at a fraction of the usual high-end mansion prices). These were designed to look like customized art pieces that are liveable and ready to be shipped anywhere in the world within three months.

Many designers across the market are also using green materials that help preserve the environment around them, while also maximizing the space they occupy. Popular firms, like Hoek, Pugh + Scarpa Architects and Workshop/apd, have already used the recyclable platforms to create sturdy and beautiful homes that are LEED-approved.

Not only are these cost-efficient modules noted to be more energy efficient once built, they are also built to withstand floods, typhoons, hurricanes and earthquakes. These are the factors that make modular homes an even more enticing trend to jump into for the Philippines.

Mods in the PHL market

Not to be left behind, the Philippines is also beginning to make strides toward modular living spaces. With companies like Smarthouse Prefab, VAZBuilt and Revolution Properties, the Philippines is already equipped with the ability to choose modular homes now.

A standout project that made headlines is the “Waffle House,” engineered by Filipino company Solid and Insulated Poured Concrete Construction Corp. (Solidcon Construction). A modular home made with reinforced concrete and grade-40 metal, the P200,000 structure is said to have the ability to hold its ground against rough calamities while also being easily disassembled for easy relocation.

According to Solidcon, “this technology was conceptualized as a practical solution to address the growing concerns on mass housing, over-population and land-value appreciation, to name a few, at the most cost and time efficient way possible.”

As the modular home trend makes its way into the Philippine market, we may finally have the solution to our nation’s housing problems right before us. A quick and durable solution to our polluted and calamity-stricken areas has presented itself through the real-estate innovations of late, and like most gifts we receive, it seems to all come in a “box.”





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