OFFCIAL OPENING OF Children's Learning Center

Last week the Children's Learning Center finally opened in Village Cagbuhangin. The ceremony was a beautiful and emotional well attended event that featured representatives from The Local City Government, Brgy (Village) Cagbuhangin, the very multidimensional project initiator and donor DJ Sheryl Lynn Callister, Rural Development Initiative (Local NGO), JV Enterprises, local residents, friends and others. 

Native Narrative would like to give special thanks to: The Sheryl Lynn Foundation for starting the project, bringing us in to the team, connecting us to the local community and making a significant first contribution of project funds. The RDI team for treating us like family and providing an endless supply of local knowledge. Mayor Richard Gomez and the entire local Government in Ormoc City (way too many people to mention all) for the financial support and believing in us. All people who took part in the construction process, you have our deepest appreciation and respect.

Finally we also like to thank our commercial client's as they are paying our salary and allows us to give our time and expertise for free to important projects like this.

The regional newspaper EV Mail featured Native Narrative and project collaborators earlier this week, (article below). The local Government are also this week featuring us on their website, see more here.

We now look forward to building at least another 3 Learning Centers in 2018. Stay tuned for more info. 

22450576_10157476247636980_155795382_o.jpg

For more details about this particular project, see HERE.

Hand Painted Signage

In Ormoc hand painted signage is just about everywhere. We are seduced by this aesthetics to the point where we really have to get one for our nearly completed project. Muhammad Ali's father had the fine profession of a billboard and signage painter, if only he was around to paint ours.

PASSIVE AIRCON SYSTEMS

The Philippines is very hot sometimes, most people use fans and air-conditioners but we do not have the budget for an aircon unit or the electricity budget to keep several fans on.

Found an article on inhabitat.com and got very interested in making a concrete block version of this bottle aircon solution developed in Bangldesh. Its completely passive and lowers temperatures by 5 degrees.

Incredible, right?

Our intention is to make the whole wall a passive aircon system in the soon to be constructed Learning Center in Juaton, Philippines (see bottom image).

Durability is a key factor for us so we are looking to incorporate the same method into a building component, casting it in concrete, basically fixing the bottles into the formwork and making an aircon-brick.

Here is a little more info from the inhabitat.com article. [in Bangladesh] "air conditioning is simply not an option for most people living in rural areas. Ashis Paul developed a clever DIY cooling system that doesn’t need any electricity and is built from a common waste item: empty plastic soda bottles. In just three months, Paul’s company has helped install its smart powerless air conditioners, called Eco Coolers, in 25,000 households, with many more still ahead."

JUATON+2.jpg

CHAIRS

We are working on plywood furniture for the Children's Learning Centers.  Our intent is to make these affordable, durable and easy to make for relatively unskilled workers with common basic tools. Tables and storage units will follow soon also. If anyone wants to have a go at making one of these chairs: contact hi@nativenarrative.com and we will happily supply the technical drawings!

CHAIRS.jpg

BREAKING NEWS!

Every creative person knows the feeling of relief when a difficult aspect of a project is finally resolved. Sometimes this aspect is entirely in the hands of someone else. In our case it was to do with funding. After 8 months of working, wishing and hoping, we finally got a break as we presented our development strategy to the local government here in Ormoc.

The outcome really called for celebration. Mayor of Ormoc City; Richard Gomez, confirmed that the local government not only fully supports our efforts but will also fund the construction of 4 more learning centers in villages around Ormoc City. We are obviously super excited about these news, as it will mean more children will get a safe and secure place to play and develop! 

Construction is estimated to begin at the end this year as well as in the beginning of 2018. More updates to follow soon!

Architectural Visualisation

Construction Update

We have just been to site and the children's Learning Center is coming along well. After so much hard work its unbelievably positive to see and even a little emotional.

In addition to this site we have also visited several other sites that are suitable for other centers. We also have some funding. Its really exciting to know that we are able to help more children develop in a safe and positive environment. Of course we often wish that we could do more and build centers in every village. 

By telling architects about us and recommending our 3D visualisation work you can really help us staying here for longer and building more centers. Together we can make a difference.

Blackout Pt 2

Before the earthquake the ice distribution plant across the street was heavily trafficed, but now it sort of looks like a festival. Music is playing and there are plenty of cars and tricycles randomly parked outside and all  of them are here to get ice.

The city has been nearly a week without a power and reliable water. All electricity comes from noisy, smelly,  polluting diesel generators. Considering these sell new on ebay for $20.000 there are surprisingly many of them we see around. By now we have gotten used to wearing headphones as earplugs when we sleep.

 Occasionally we see charging stations around and there are plenty of people selling solar powered flashlights. 


On a positive side note Ormoc is undeniably more beautiful in candlelight than from the cold blue artificial daylight lighbulbs most people use. Our neighbours are saying that rather than being stuck in front of digital devices, family members now talk and feel more connected as they go to fetch water or look for something in the house using a flashlight.

What consequences are to be expected as a result of power shortage? Food, sanitation, livelihood and economy, it's hard to think of any areas that are not affected.

Fridges and freezers are only in temporary use. Meat is constantly frozen and thawned. Many people are temporarily out of business and if they normally just about manage to live hand to mouth they might well be struggling to buy food now and other supplies now.

The government is helping out, we have seen evidence of food being handed out.  but despite being given with the best intentions it cannot nearly be enough.  

  

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Earthquake / Blackout

Its now 2 days into the Earthquake aftermath.

3 People have died, over 100 are injured. Some people have not only lost their homes but also their lot as areas might not be safe to rebuild in. Many houses are partially destroyed. Some people are now staying in make shift tents as their homes could fall apart in an aftershock (there has been many). There is almost no electricity. Very few places (hotels and expensive restaurants) have a petrol generators running but certain hours of the day only. Some charging stations have been set up for phones and emergency lights. Some roads are in bad shape and there are plenty of landslide areas. The military is handing out canned food.

We have spent the day in badly affected mountain villages, trying to make sense of the devastation. We are of course ready to provide architectural help where needed but its unclear how we can best make use of our abilities at this point. 

If you know someone who lost their home to the earthquake and needs advice before taking on the rebuilding process, please contact us, we are here to help!

SITE VISITS

Today we had the pleasure of meeting officials from two villages that we most likely will be collaborating with in the near future. One project is most likely to be a renovation / extension of an old Learning center. The other project is a new building on a location we could not even dream of back in the U.K.

This village does not have facilities often found in other places such as a basketball court or a playground. Being involved here seems like another fantastic opportunity to improve the environment of local children by construction a space dedicated to them and their needs only. 

A special thanks to Ate Anning from Rural Development Initiative (RDI) who helped making the introduction and took us to see the sites. 

Fathers Day Demolition

Yesterday, as it was fathers day here in the Philippines, 16 volunteering Police Officers from the local village worked hard in the scorching sun. They used sledgehammers and ropes and by the end of the day an old building was demolished. Watching people working in this heat and giving so much to their local community, when they could have chosen to be home with their families in the shade, was a humbling experience.

The building, an old jail cell, will give way for the first prototype of a Children's Learning Center.  Hopefully this center will help provide enough opportunities for the children to develop into adults that will never again see another jail cell. 

This week we're starting excavation work while we simultaneously develop Native Narrative's Visualisation Projects. 

We are currently looking for architects, developers or designers who's in need of Architectural Visualisation. These commercial jobs are allowing us to work free of charge, and create the opportunities for the Charity projects we do here in the Phillippines. 

Please help us spread the word to architects & designers.

Next week........

Sonod Simana! Means “Next Week” in Visayas. We know this a little too well by now.


Initially, the Philippines and it's sunshine, nature & friendly locals seem like a rather perfect place to work. But charity architecture is in many ways frustrating, slow & difficult.

Despite receiving nothing but positive feedback from everyone we interact with, delay after delay is holding us back from construction. After months of being promised that progress will happen “Next week!” we cannot help but sometimes question ourselves: Why Charity Architecture? Why do we bother working here when it so much easier in Europe? 

Whenever this question comes up, the answer is often no further than the kids on our doorstep. They (or their hard working parents) cannot quit or hand in their notice and have no cosy first world country to move back to when things get hard.

Interacting with these kids every evening keep us in check and puts things back in perspective. We came to improve their reality. That was our goal when we started 6 month ago, it still is, despite delays and complications. It feels like progress is just around the corner: Sonod Simana!

 

Lake Danao Floating Sheds

Floating around in a shed is a seriously enjoyable way to spend a few hours.  A while ago now we had the pleasure of being invited for a BBQ on the lake by RDI & Friends. Rumours have it we might get to design the next shed. It better be true....

Demolition IS NEAR......

The excitement is increasing as we are getting closer not only to finally getting our demolition permit after weeks of negotiation but planning permission and start of construction is now also just around the corner! We are currently in detail design stage and will (if everything goes as planned) start demolition next week.

We are super happy to collaborate with an experienced local contractor, JV Enterprises, who will be helping us building the first center and hopefully more to come.

meeting.jpg
The existing building on site which will be dismantled to make room for the first learning center.

The existing building on site which will be dismantled to make room for the first learning center.

Source: demolition

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 (http://www.alexanderpurcellrodrigues.com).

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

GOOD PROGRESS

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!