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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Streetlight Tagpuro in Tacloban, Philippines by Eriksson Furunes Architecture, Leandro V. Locsin Partners & Boase

April 1st, 2018 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: v2com 

With the increase of natural and man-made disasters around the globe, it becomes increasingly important to understand how architects, and architecture, can contribute to post-disaster reconstruction efforts. While there is an argument that architects are the least people needed in this scenario, a collaborative process of planning, designing and building can enable those affected by the disaster to have a say in the processes that eventually affect them. Streetlight Tagpuro is a collaborative design and build process that began 3 years before the strongest typhoon to ever hit land devastated Tacloban city in the Philippines, and the 3 years of reconstruction that followed.

The doors, when fully opened, allow ventilation and strong winds to pass through without damaging the building, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

  • Architects: Eriksson Furunes Architecture, Leandro V. Locsin Partners & Boase
  • Project: Streetlight Tagpuro
  • Location: Tacloban, Philippines
  • Photography: Alexander Eriksson Furunes
  • Software used: Autocad
  • Client: Streetlight Inc
  • Team: Miko Verzon, Aldo Mayoralgo, Pierre Go, Sai Cunanan, JP Dela Cruz, Kurt Yu, Jiddu Bulatao, Otep Arcilla, Mark Docdocos, BJ Adriano, Gela Santos, Matt Varona & Pebbles Miranda, Zoe Watson, Laura Lim Sam, Christian Moe Halsted, Rebecka Casselbrant and Lise Berg
  • Lead Architects: Alexander Eriksson Furunes & Sudarshan V. Khadka
  • Lead Engineer: Jago Boase
  • Area: 1,200sqm
  • Completion Year: 2016

The study center has teachers’ offices, music room, library, kitchen and bathrooms in the heavy volumes. The building also has classrooms and areas for singing, dancing and theatre in the spaces in-between, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

In November 2013, super-typhoon Haiyan devastated the city of Tacloban, Leyte in the southern region of the Philippines. It was one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded. A locally based NGO called Streetlight, which supports street children and neighbouring communities by providing social services, had their orphanage and rehabilitation center at the seafront destroyed by the typhoon. In the aftermath of Haiyan, Streetlight decided to rebuild their facilities inland, 16 km north of their previous site to provide much needed safety for the children and the community.

Looking through the living room of the orphanage towards the study center. The space can be fully opened to allow natural ventilation. During typhoons the concrete volumes act as evacuation rooms, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Looking through the function hall in the study center towards the orphanage. The function hall is also used for dancing, acting and music performances, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

The architects, together with the community developed the design through a series of participatory workshops that used drawing, poetry, model making, mapping, and physical prototyping. This method was critical in forming a strong sense of ownership of the project and empowering the community to find their own voice.

Looking at the orphanage from the function hall of the study center, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Study Center, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Through the design process, the spatial concepts of “open and light” and “closed and safe” found resonance with the community. These concepts helped them articulate a desire for openness and connection to nature while providing safety and security during a typhoon. In some way, the design process helped them deal with and respond to the psychological trauma of Haiyan.

The office consists of three heavy volumes containing meeting rooms and janitors office. The shared work-spaces are located in the open areas in-between. The building also function as a vocational training center, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

The orphanage consist of 3 heavy concrete volumes with office, kitchen and bathrooms on the ground floor and bedrooms on the second story. Ventilated recreational space for daytime use is located between the heavy volumes, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

The translation of the dual concepts of “open vs. closed” and “light vs. heavy” relates to the use of ventilated light timber frames set against heavy reinforced concrete volumes. The timber frames allow air to flow through the spaces while the concrete volumes provide refuge during typhoons. Timber slatted doors and windows were designed and built by the fathers of the children in the program. By helping them design their space, the project becomes a contextual expression of a local identity that the community can find their own meaning in.

The doors in the orphanage living room, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

On the porch, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

The architecture explores the values of honest materiality, craftsmanship, expressive tectonics, and vernacular sensitivity. Through the deliberate selection of materials and construction methods based on their potential for adaptation by local workers, the construction process serves as a mode of capacity building and livelihood training. Finally, through a participatory and community-based design process that affords a framework for local expression, the project becomes opportunity not only to build architecture, but also to build a representation of shared values and shared meanings.

Streetlight Tagpuro” won the Civic and Community Category and the Small Project of The Year Award at the World Architecture Festival 2017. 

Clerestory windows, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Family members were employed and trained on the construction site. By the end of the project, approximately 50 parents successfully passed the government certification test and became licensed carpenters and masons, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes


Alexander Eriksson Furunes studied at the AA School of Architecture, UK, before receiving his masters in architecture at NTNU, Norway. With his studio, Eriksson Furunes architecture, he has initiated and completed a series of collaborative projects with communities in UK, India, Philippines, Brazil, Vietnam and China. He is currently doing an Artistic PhD on participative planning, design and build processes at the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme (NTNU, 2016-19).

Family members drawing the plan of the study center – discussing the quality of each space, degree of openness, ventilation, proximity to other programmes and interior organization, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Model making with the community – discussing doors, windows and interior layout, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Sudarshan V. Khadka Jr. is the principal of i.incite, architects. Formerly, he was an associate at Leandro V. Locsin Partners (LVLP) where he was in-charge-of multiple projects. He is a member of the curatorial team of the Philippine Pavilion, “Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City” at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. He is driven by the critical search for a modern vernacular and the exploration of the tectonic potential of construction.

The fathers evaluating the prototype design of the doors they made., Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

To decide on the programme of the study center, the community organized themselves to identify and prioritize their needs, ambitions and resources, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Workshop with the community to translate the models into drawings, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Initial bamboo prototypes of doors and windows. The community developed the design through sampling existing doors and windows from within the village. They would use these to make new designs that they tested in different materials, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

Site-plan of office, study center, orphanage and future clinic building, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes & Sudarshan Khadka

Axonometric showing the variation of heavy volumes and light frames in the three buildings, Image Courtesy © Alexander Eriksson Furunes

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Categories: Autocad, Building, Community Centre, Educational Center, Hall, Offices, space

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