Horizon Manila: WTA Architecture and Design Studio Winner 2021 WAFX Award
We’re all still a bit giddy in the studio after winning the WAFX Award this week. It’s all so surreal.
It is so difficult to get validation for ideas in architecture, especially for a project as large as an urban plan. More than anything else this award allows us to better develop and reinforce the ideas we came up with in Horizon and expand it further as we work on more projects.
The WAFX Award herald’s the world’s most forward-looking architectural concepts, and is awarded to future projects that identify key challenges that architects will need to address in the coming years. Horizon Manila by WTA Architecture and Design Studio is the overall winner of the 2021 WAFX Award at the 2021 World Architecture Festival after first winning the WAFX Water Category.
Horizon Manila is a 419-ha reclamation project in Manila Bay. It is about finding space for 150,000 Manileños at the geographical and political heart of our country. It will increase the available public open space in the city by over 50 percent and provide almost 20 km of waterfront living. It is an incredible opportunity to reimagine what Manila can be in the future.
We introduced geography into this greenfield site by creating three islands connected by a canal park that serves as a center for the urban valley, which is the setting for the different communities at Horizon.
We wanted to simultaneously grow 28 diverse communities that are reflective of the barangays, which are the basic blocks of our country. We wanted to complete this ecosystem of neighborhoods by inserting urban amenities and public spaces. We’re creating new neighborhoods that grow around botanical gardens and museums, theaters and shopping streets.
The main fabric or framework of this masterplan is about the various social interactions that lead to the growth of small hyperlocal communities. This is the solution we propose for how to grow and manage a megacity like Metro Manila. This creates an almost pixelized more digestible kind of urbanity. Where each pixel serves as a hyperlocal barangay that provides a mix of typologies and uses centered around a common ground.
Masterplanning a city in the 21st century is about growing more organic communities. It is about a very human and social environment. Each of the 28 communities in Horizon will have its own vectors of growth, different centers of gravity and varying intensities of development. They are not only designed to grow individually but also form an urbanistic relationship as we would find in any healthy ecosystem and generate faster and more balanced growth.
We are trying to build human environments that will not only prioritize social interactions, but will also strengthen mobility. We are building a city where you are always 400 meters away from the nearest tram or ferry station and anywhere in the three islands is always just 15 minutes away.
This is done with three intersecting major road loops formed by tree-lined sidewalks and bike lanes, arcaded walkways and a tram line that connects the islands. More than half of Horizon’s streetscape will be primarily pedestrian.
City of Tomorrow
We named this project Manileño to highlight the focus on our people. Cities are about people. The future is about building strong communities. Our communities are about life—life by the water, life in our beautiful city of Manila.
We invite everyone to come join our explorations on the human environment. Join us on Instagram @wtadesignstudio and @entrari