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Project Spotlight: One World Place

One World Place will open its doors to tenants in January 2015. Image © Gensler

One World Place is Daiichi Properties & Development’s latest Class A office building in Fort Bonifacio, an unincorporated area of Metro Manila. Designed by Gensler, the building is currently in the final phase of construction and will open its doors to tenants in January of 2015. This exciting development coincides with the continued growth of the Philippines economy, which is currently the largest in southeast Asia and is projected to become the twelfth largest in the world. Fort Bonifacio exemplifies the explosive growth taking place across the Philippines; construction cranes dot the city’s skylines as commercial office buildings spring up throughout the metropolis.

I visited Fort Bonifacio in September 2014 and had a chance to visit One World Place. I must confess to feeling incredibly proud. Since construction began in 2012, Fort Bonifacio has experienced several of the worst typhoon seasons in recent memory. Devastatingly strong winds, excessive rain and flooding have wreaked havoc on the city, while hot and humid weather has made working outside quite a challenge. In spite of the inhospitable conditions, the general contractor and tradesmen onsite have done a remarkable job of keeping construction on schedule. They continue to focus on doing great, detail oriented work. The progress made at One World Place is a testament to the various branches which comprise the overall team: Daiichi Properties, local architect of record Aidea, the local engineers and contractors, and the Gensler design team.

The construction boom taking place in Fort Bonifacio reflects the explosive growth of the Philippines economy, which is projected to become one of world’s ten largest over the next decade. Image © Gensler

One design innovation unique to One World Place is the integration of what we call “monsoon windows” into the curtain wall facade. During certain months, these windows allow outside air into the building, thus reducing the amount of energy used by the cooling system and allowing all of the public spaces in One World Place, including all elevator lobbies, amenities spaces, restrooms, to ventilate naturally.

The idea for the monsoon windows originated from a desire to leverage certain elements of the Philippines tropical climate. Every monsoon season (November through March), temperatures in Fort Bonifacio drop to a pleasant 24-26 degrees Celsius (75-78 Fahrenheit), prompting office buildings to open their windows as much as possible. Unfortunately this season also brings extensive rain to the region, and the heavy winds which accompany the rain make keeping office windows open an untenable proposition. Certain historical buildings in Southeast Asia (Dayk longhouse on Borneo Island, for example) addressed this problem by integrating special openings over horizontal projected ledges on the building’s side, which allow cool air into the building while preventing rain water infiltration. At One World Place, Gensler worked with Daichi Properties and curtain wall contractor Permastellisa on a more modern solution; we engineered a series of openings protected by rain covers into the building’s double-glazed skin. Daiichi wanted the building’s exterior to have a contemporary aesthetic, so we modeled the monsoon windows using vernacular architecture in Southeast Asia. That allowed them to integrate well with the look of the building while retaining functionality. We tested the façade in October 2013 at Dongguan Façade Construction Testing Lab and were able to confirm that the system would perform the desired task. One World Place will be first commercial office building in Southeast Asia to feature this concept for natural ventilation.

One World Place’s Monsoon Windows use outside air to cool the building’s public spaces during temperate months. January 2015. Image © Gensler

Other design elements that leverage passive climate characteristics include exterior façade screens reminiscent of the vernacular bamboo façade screens found on residential dwellings throughout the Philippines islands. These aluminum screens work in combination with vertical aluminum fins on the building’s Southwest and Northeast facades. They provide substantial solar heat reduction and fixed solar glare control for both direct and diffuse light. At the lower parking floors, levels three through seven, similar screens provide visual cover for the levels fresh air openings. For maintenance purposes, we developed the screens as easily removable façade elements.

One World Place’s facade as seen from below. Image © Gensler

Daiichi Properties and Gensler eagerly await the completion of One World Place (currently scheduled for January 2015) which will bring new tenants into a property that won the 2013 Best Office Development award for the Philippines at the Asia Pacific Properties Awards ceremony. One World Place will be the site of Daiichi Properties’ future headquarters; the company plans to occupy the top floor, which was also designed by Gensler. One World Place is one of three commercial office towers, all of which are under construction, that Daiichi and Gensler have collaborated on.

For Daiichi Properties, One World Place’s success is an essential component of a rebranding campaign that will cast the company as a modern and inspiring new developer while stressing its long held values of honest relationships with clients and dedication to providing continuing excellence to generations of their business leaders. At Gensler, helping create success for our clients is how we measure our own success. We are proud to be part of such an exciting project, and we look forward to future collaborations with Daiichi in the booming Southeast Asia region.

Sasha Zeljic is the regional practice area leader for Tall Buildings and Commercial Office Buildings Developers in Gensler's Chicago office. He also serves as a Design Director in North Central Region. Sasha is focused on performance aspects on the building design and delivery process.Contact him at aleksandar_zeljic@gensler.com.

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