Visualisation as a vehicle for Charity Architecture

Naturally we have talked a lot about charity work lately. It's very important for us but the other half of the story is equally important. The visuals we are creating remotely for our clients in Europe is basically becoming our bread and butter (rice and noodles to be completely honest) which allows us to invest time and expertise in these rural areas free of charge.

Here are some our recent renders produced for interior architect & furniture designer Alexander Purcell Rodrigues (

Native Narrative featured in National Danish Newspaper

Journalist Mette Wallach have been writing an article about why we left the London design industry, changed our carrier path and how we are funding charity work by doing commercial work. The article was published today, in the Danish national newspaper Jyllands-posten as a part of the Global Denmark article series. We feel happy and humbled as a result and pleased that humanitarian work in general gets a little well deserved focus.

Woven Samples & Interior test Renders

These great woven fabrics are not only super durable and recycled but also very cheap. After we visited our local market and got our hands on these fabric samples we did some test renders and decided to team up with local weavers who will help us with furniture for the children's learning centers. 

Source: woven


We had a really productive meeting at the City Hall last week!  We now have the Mayor backing the project financially and expression serious interest in building another three Centers for children. We will design these in the near future. The council's team of engineers and architects are assisting us with costing and planning approval. Now that is progress!

We couldn't resist giving the children in Cagbuhangin a sneak peak of the design during last weeks drawing session in the local school. Some of kids drawing ability was particularly good. We might have discovered the new Péter Márkli. 



Mudcrab Culture and Fattening (official project name)

While designing a place to grow crabs a nearly perfect silent retreat venue was designed unintentionally.

Here crabs are kept in small bamboo cages and fed scrap bits of fish which allows crabs to grow in size within a controlled environment. The fattening process takes 15-30 days.

However, there are other interesting aspects of this place; Its quite special to be standing on bamboo walkways surrounded by mangrove trees in almost complete silence.

Another Relocation project

Naungan community just outside of Ormoc City is threatened by Typhoons and Tsunamis and plant Mangrove sea forests as a protection strategy. The Government is planning on relocating the community but not to another area where the fishermen can continue with their usual livelihood, these people are being moved to the mountains.

We will interview the residents, find out what they need and attempt to collaborate with the local government in the relocation process. As this is a recurring issue perhaps a building typology could be defined. More on this soon!

Project Management lectures

Cecilie has now given 3 lectures to various groups of engineering students at Eastern Visaya State University. The aim was for students to gain a better understanding of what Project Management is, why it is important and to introduce some Project Management tools they can use once they are employed out in the real world. 

The Rainforest of the Sea

Today we visited Naungan community just outside of Ormoc City. People here plant Mangrove trees in the sea about 500m from the beach as a Typhoon / Tsunami protection strategy.  Unlike any other place we've seen, it has a surreal quality of a sunken park. 

How much for that building?

RDI is kindly helping out with cost calculations. We will soon get a ballpark figure on how much is needed to build the first community center.

Back to Uni - Love is in the air

We now collaborate with Vicente Duallo at the Engineering Department of Visaya State University. This is great news as he is helping us with structural advice and the students are breaking down the cost of the project.

We presented the children's community center to 4th and 5th year students and agreed to do some lectures in the future. Cecilie will speak of her experience in project management and Jakob will talk about architecture and possibly give an introduction to Rhino modelling. 

We felt extremely welcomed and not just because of those lovely floating hearts.....

Would you like a project with your coffee?

When we arrived there was a slight worry that we would not find enough opportunities to help out. Turns out there is very little need to worry. We live in a room adjacent to the RDI office and naturally meet the visitors RDI have over. This conversation took place one morning.


Visitor _ Hi Good mornign Im JL

Jakob_ hi Good morning nice to meet you (sipping coffee, trying to wake up)

Visitor_ We need a designer to help us with a dairy facility

Jakob_ do you have funding?

Visitor_ yes

Jakob_ do you have an engineer?

Visitor_ maybe

Jakob_is this for the government?

Visitor_ no

Jakob_ who is it for then?

Visitor_ its for the milk association

Jakob_ when do you need the design completed?

Visitor_ in 4 weeks

Jakob_ ok then lets do it , ill meet you on site tomorrow, please bring an engineer if you can find one!

Visitor_ thank you, See you tomorrow!

GK Santiago Relocation Area

We went for a little stroll and stumbled upon another relocation area.  This is of particular interest in relation to the UNDP Relocation Site we visited earlier. The stuff in-between the architecture makes all the difference. Some of the things we discussed would be suitable for Cagbuhangin are already in place. A huge roof, a basketball court, small gardens, a playground. These things are everywhere and everyone is using them. 

We will schedule a meeting with the inhabitants of the UNDP Site in Cagbuhangin and see what additions they would prefer. Our guess is it wont be much different from whats here, plus some sort of market facility.

Below description of this relocation area was found on GK's Website: Again, the resident story is very similar to Cagbuhangin's relocation area:

"GK Santiago is located at Sitio Canlalin, Poblacion, Albuera Leyte. Brgy. Canlalin is the center of the municipality where the seat of the local government is located. The site is about 500 meters from the national road and is easily accessible by land transportation. Potable water is readily available. All beneficiaries are residents of Brgy. Poblacion. They came from poor families who have no decent houses and lots of their own. Most of them are farmers, fishermen and tricycle drivers. Miss Anecita Zaidivar donated a portion of a sugarcane-planted lot with an area of approximately 1.3 hectares for a noble purpose, thus the GK site was unexpectedly offered as donation."

Meeting Pastor Joel

I just had the pleasure of meeting our neighbor Pastor Joel. We spoke about his charity projects, feeding children and his volunteering attempts at restoring Ormoc after Typhoon Yolanda. Initially after the typhoon he found it easier to get funding which mainly came from Tacloban based charities. Now as time has passed and Tacloban is somewhat restored, Ormoc is experiencing difficulties in achieving the same results.

Pastor Joel's work is also including a childrens community friendly center at a potential site nearby where we are building one. He does not yet have funding and although we cannot promise anything, we will visit the site and try to help him by redesigning the center we currently work to fit his site. Perhaps with a developed proposal in place fundraising might be easier. Perhaps something can be built. In the meantime Pastor Joel will pray and we will draw.

Pastor Joel

Passing on the Gift

We had the pleasure to return to Boroc Village for a gift ceremony. Basically this means that a charity project is set up where a female animal is given to someone in the village and after a number of years the offspring is passed on to somebody else. In this case a Hen and a Goat was passed on. We enjoy this beautiful simple logic of wealth redistribution. There was also a feeding ceremony in which kids receive local vegetarian food. We spent half a day observing this and speaking to the kids and just about managed to convince them that these two "canos" are actually Scandinavian. Boroc is quite reduced in terms of material welfare but regardless its undeniably pretty. If we do get the opportunity to work on a women's rescue center here (as discussed with RDI) we are ready without hesitation.

Old City Hall

We had previously driven past the Old City Hall but never seen the interiors. Mayor Richard Gomez told us about artists using the building as a gallery, basically just showing up and displaying work. After our visit, it was very clear that there is tremendous potential and benefits in restoring this building. Not because of its original value, a new City Hall is already built nearby, and not JUST because of its appearance in the street or prominent location a minute from the waterfront. The metaphorical meaning of preserving and maintaining is likely to make a very big impact in this city. With such an unfortunate history of natural disasters, resiliency and ability to "dust oneself off and get on with it" is inevitably very inherently Filipino. How very suitable are the plans for this to become the new Museum of Ormoc.

Ormoc Market

Built before Yolanda / repaired after, this ridiculously photogenic envy inducing concrete wall is a well needed addition to Ormoc's waterfront market. 

UNDP Relocation Area

In the outskirts of Ormoc, close to one of our sites in Cagbuhangin is the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Relocation Site. 55 families have moved here as their homes were destroyed by typhoon Yolanda. The homes are built well but the spaces in between are uninspiring for social interactions and lack options for increased livelihood. 

This area was established for people living close to the coastline (often fishermen) who would be in a significant danger if / when a new Typhoon would hit the island. Therefore UNDP supported this relocation and funded the architectural intervention so that families could be safe. 

Some of the challenges that the area today are facing is:

  •  All of the families used to have their main income from fishing, since they are now located away from the coastline they can no longer work as fishermen and will  have to seek employment as either farmers or carpenters Unfortunately they often lack these skills. 
  • The area is quite isolated from the closest nearby village, which makes it difficult for the relocated families to integrate and be a part of the local nearby community.
  • Since the relocated families was initially brought together from many different villages, they didn't know each other before moving into this area so the families are living very divided lives as they don't have an common ground to meet. 

Our aim is to create a communal space where by the families will have a common ground to meet and play. We will be working on this in collaboration with the Sheryl Lyn Foundation and RDI, however currently no funds are available. 


Childrens Community Center

The first project we are involved in is a 110 sqm community center for children located on the site of an old jail cell (also damaged by Typhoon Yolanda) next to a health center and a basketball court. The small village of Cagbuhangin just 15 minutes from Ormoc City. 

The center will be an after school and weekend facility where kids of various ages can meet, play and feel secure in a space dedicated to them. Having seen how incredibly resourceful kids around here can be, its clear that just a roof over their heads would be a huge improvement from playing in the streets. 

Currently, one building is being developed in particular but talks have begun with Richard Gomez, Mayor of Ormoc, with the potential to build in other villages.

Jakob will be running the design process while Cecilie is supporting the local team on the Project Management side.