Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Filipino Architect Takes Living Green to New Heights

MANILA, Philippines - “80 percent of green design is common sense,” says Aya Maceda, a Filipino architect based in Australia. As a senior associate at Popov Bass architects, one of the most prestigious architectural practices in Australia, Aya constantly works on finding green solutions as well as coming up with elegant designs.

“My job deals with working on the design in the early stages, conceptualizing,” she says. Aya heads the interiors division of the office as well. She describes the Popov Bass aesthetic as “Modernist, but with warmth, with good quality light coming into the building.” She adds, “Our buildings have a light and airy feel and are known for fine details.”

Architect Aya Maceda describes the Popov Bass aesthetic as modernist, but with warmth, finished with fine details. Sensitivity to the environment is essential to their design philosophy.

Aya grew up in Manila, with a love for travel. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Architecture at the University of the Philippines. “I was on my way to take my masters in the States,” she shares, but fate had a different plan. When Aya received the Philip Recto design award for her thesis, she earned a scholarship in Singapore. “I just went with it,” she says. “I worked there for two years.” Eventually finding her way to Australia, Aya worked with FJMT Architects, winning awards for her work. She then decided to shift focus to concentrate on residential work and applied for Popov Bass.

“I’ve grown with the company,” Aya says. “Now I’m part of those spearheading the company, bringing it into the future.

At Popov Bass, Aya explains, “We always examine what the site is, what the challenges are and we design from there. It is important to assess where you are, especially in the extreme harsh Australian coastal environment.”

Along with their green design philosophy, Popov Bass uses predominantly recycled materials, incorporates provisions for rainwater collection, cross-flow ventilation, and automatic sunshades to create environmentally-sensitive designs.

“We use water efficient fixtures and energy efficient lighting,” says Aya on some of the environment-friendly interior details. “We make sure that our design blends in harmony and is not imposing to the landscape.”

“I want to reconnect with my roots,” says Aya. “I’m doing a lot of great work in Australia and I’m really hoping that I can come back and participate in the design culture in the Philippines.”

The design solutions that Popov Bass applies in Australia are definitely possible as well in the Philippines, Aya says, noting that the country is similar in climate as Northern Australia. “If you know how to address a site, you can design pretty much anywhere.”

The technology for green architecture is available in the Philippines, she readily points out. “It’s just a matter of getting the client to commit to using these technologies.”

It is also important, she adds, for the government to back green architecture with legislation.

This commitment to employ green architecture design solutions, both from the government as well as the private sector, is what is needed today. “It should be, because we have no choice,” says Aya. “We’re facing so many global environment issues. Being environmentally conscious is a necessity.”

Aya Maceda is only one of many people in various fields who have begun the trek towards saving what is left of our environment. Living green is going global – don’t get left behind!

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