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Learning from Manila

05:07 PM August 02, 2021

I’m always impressed by how older drivers could still manage to go around the city without the use of Waze or Google Maps.

I remember how much stronger the impressions I used to had of our city back when you needed to recognize the corners and roads through which you go. I’ve always felt like this gave me a much better understanding and much more affection for our local communities. There is a certain romance to physical touch and connection that we’ve been losing with our growing digital world and the restrictions we have faced with this quarantine.

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Awareness leads to discovery and knowledge. The first step towards a better city starts with understanding and knowing more about it. Building a civic consciousness is an effort that also means increasing appreciation and ownership of our public spaces. We must extend our concept of public space beyond our immediate front yards and street fronts, beyond our local barangays and districts, towards our city and country itself.

There is a certain wonder to miniature models. From our earliest childhood playsets and toys to the Lilliputian cities of Gulliver’s travels, they capture our imagination and allow us to see and understand more about life. Many of the great cities of the world have scale models for the public to see. They become not just tourist attractions but places where children can visit and learn more about their city.

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This is probably the most important thing really if we want to have the next generation love and care for our built environment. We must show them from an early age how much bigger the city is. Many who can’t afford to travel at a young age grow up in a capsule unaware of the scope of our human environment. We need every tool that can help them learn.

We always mention how context is one of the main drivers of our architecture at WTA. And so we appreciate how most people actually do not understand or know the lay of our land.

With that in mind we have started on a whimsical journey over the last year. We’ve been trying to build a model of our city in the hopes of completing this someday and having a place where architects, but more importantly children, can come and see our city. We’ve managed to finish just over 18 sq km of Manila to date, and hopefully, as we push on, we can keep adding to this and have a bigger and better representation of our city to share with everyone.

Design exploration requires the input of everyone in our community. We invite everyone to come join our explorations on the human environment.

Join us on Instagram @wtadesignstudio and @entrari.

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