CÉLINE C. MERTENAT
The core essence of this project lies upon the idea of strong roots, which is why we entitled it “Ugat”, its Tagalog translation.
Our secondary title “Reestablishing & strengthening existing roots” sets the
premise for our entire project. Our goal was to identify the core strengths of the given site, its roots, so to say, and focus on strengthening their foundation so that the community may flourish and establish resiliency against its many challenges by making use of that strong base.
Valenzuela and its surroundings suffer from issues of all kinds; whether it be the pollution of the river, malnutrition, unemployment, floods, earthquakes or typhoons. Our approach is based off of 3 types of actions: to Heal, Nourish & Protect. We’ve chosen to accomplish these actions through calculated, large-scale vegetation.
While this planting effort is central to our project, it is accompanied by several other important interventions such as water filtration & retention systems to retain & filter water before releasing it into the river, bamboo plantations to grow the bamboo necessary for our construction, a network of footbridges to facilitate the flow of people, key Co-Ops that serve as pillars for the community to rely on & a new typology for Valenzuela’s homes: lashed bamboo constructions on stilts; both inland and on water. These interventions work together to reinforce the community’s resiliency: The bamboo plantations produce the wood for the houses’ construction. The water ponds drain the bamboo plantations, preventing the rotting of their roots & so on and so forth. Introducing this system to the region creates a number of synergies that strengthen its roots and set the basis for durable growth and resilient development.