Meridian Icon (competition entry)

(In mid-2013, the Istana Development Corporation and its design consultant PGAA Creative Design, headed by Arch. Paulo Alcazaren, selected Dominic Galicia Architects to participate in a short-listed competition to design an iconic structure for the Meridian development in Manila.  Our entry did not win, but we are grateful for the opportunity to compete and to explore architectural form.)

An icon is an expression of a people's understanding of place and of their place in time.  The location of the site, between the city and the sea, inspired us to seek a form that would express the bridging of man and nature.  

Throughout the history of civilization, man has sought to understand nature’s laws by exploring what is believed to be its hidden code – geometry.  The Nautilus Shell has long symbolized the harmony and complexity found in the natural forms of nature, its curved form a perfect illustration of the golden section proportions.  We propose this form as a fitting icon for the new development.

Looking towards the city, the structure is clad in a straight grid.  Facing the sea, the structure is a curved grid that soars to the clouds.

The city inspires the grid of the sun shade, which also brings to mind the grid of fishing nets and the grid – if one looks very closely – of the Barong Tagalog.  

The brise soleil, or sunbreaker, is an architectural device popular in the Philippines in the 50s and 60s but whose appropriateness to our climate and cultural context goes far deeper than fashion.  It is a modern version of the volada of the traditional Filipino house, that outer layer of capiz windows and persiana louvers that shields the main body of the house from the elements of both sun and rain.  It takes on the sun in the same way that the Barong keeps the sun away from the skin.

The spire of the Nautilus Shell is the tallest element of the structure, drawing people to the space inside.