Flood-free homes soon to rise in Marikina
Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Tropical storms southwest monsoons or habagat and even a sudden dumping of heavy rains can cause major flooding troubles to homeowners particularly in low-lying areas.

The lack of available land in good locations have forced families to settle even in flood-prone communities and just endure floods as they come.

Such challenges, coupled with the ongoing real estate boom, prompted the team of Philippine Realty TV (PRTV) – the country’s first real estate and construction lifestyle TV program – to create and showcase the flood-free Project Smart Home Marikina right smack in the middle of the flood-prone city. The new housing design highlights the use of detachable balconies, a floatable carport and smart positioning of elements inside the house.

“For the upcoming series, we have partnered with Buensalido+Architects to build a home that can hopefully withstand the devastation of similar typhoons like Ondoy in the future, particularly within a flood-prone area,” said PRTV executive producer John Aguilar.

“It was our vision to come up with the flood-free home. We came out with the concept while Buensalido+Architects came out with the elements of the smart home,” Aguilar said.

Salient features of the flood-free housing project are the floatable, anchored carports that will keep vehicles higher than the flood waters and detachable balconies or Regenerative Amphibious Floating Terraces (RAFT) that can be used by residents to escape to higher ground. Each floor will have its own RAFT.

The four-story housing project will also take advantage of smart positioning of the home elements, Aguilar said.

The first level will be allotted for the carport so nothing will be damaged and the second level for two bedrooms. The top floor is set aside for roof garden and storage of emergency supply.

Interestingly, the third floor is composed of the kitchen, dining area and living room. Aguilar said that residents of flooded homes usually suffer from lack of food and other supplies given that the kitchen is located downstairs.

The flood-free home will be put up early next year right in the Aguilar family’s Marikina property, which was submerged to eight feet of floods during the devastation of tropical storm Ondoy four years ago.

In the World Disaster Report 2011, the Philippines ranked the third most disaster-prone country in the world because of its geographic location. The Philippines is also second, next only to China in a list of 28 Asian nations, in terms of the number of disasters reported last year, said United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Project Smart Home Marikina is the third building series of PRTV. Previously, PRTV’s Project First Home featured Aguilar’s real-life and real-time challenges of building his own house from the ground up in partnership with Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox.

Everything was going well for the first installment of the series. However, just when PRTV’s pilot building series was heading to its finishing steps, tropical storm Ondoy came washing out the communities in Marikina, including areas a stone’s throw away from where his first project was slowly being erected.

“We were lucky because the house for Project First Home was in the higher part of the city. But being near the area where the typhoon wreaked havoc, I realized there had to be something we could do to contribute in solving the issue,” Aguilar said.

PRTV also featured Project Green Home, which demonstrates sustainable ways that encourage viewers and homebuyers to become more conscious of their environment. PRTV team explored green architectural design principles like passive cooling and passive lighting, water recycling, solar energy utilization, and the use of sustainable building materials and methodologies.

For Project Smart Home Marikina, Aguilar said PRTV hopes to make a design that can easily be replicated by families planning to build their homes and also those who want to renovate their existing property to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions.

“We want people to copy this and adopt this to their home designs,” Aguilar said.


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