Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

• May 22, 2011

CORAL CITY: GOMMAdesign takes inspiration from corals to design a self-sustaining and disaster-resistant eco-village in the Philippines

Our proposal wants to prove that architecture and urban planning can design sustainable cities only if they start from different and more responsible values. A conscientious development is the main challenge of our generation, the only way to achieve a sustainable world.


CORAL CITY, a self-sustaining and disaster-resistant eco-village in the Philippines, designed by GOMMAdesign (in partnership with ITA Project), was chosen among almost 300 entries from all over the world and awarded with the special ENERGY AWARD in DAtE – Design Against the Elements international competition.

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM general view 600x261 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City, courtesy GOMMAdesign

Design Against the Elements was a global architectural design competition meant to find a solution to the problems presented by climate change. The project aimed to draw together the most innovative minds in the fields of architecture, design, and urban planning to develop sustainable and disaster-resistant housing for communities in tropical urban settings. The winning design will be built as a prototype disaster-resistant and livable eco-village in Quezon City, while all the entries will be compiled into an encyclopedia of architectural solutions that will be implemented for sustainable, environment-friendly civil works.

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM Phases 600x562 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - Phases diagram, courtesy GOMMAdesign

Starting from the idea that a conscientious development is the main challenge of our generation and that natural structures could provide the best role-models and inspirations to design new sustainable communities, GOMMAdesign‘s project was inspired by corals, self-organizing living systems which are highly capable of reacting and smoothly adapting to changes and external influences.

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM concept 600x708 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - Conceptual diagrams, courtesy GOMMAdesign

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM site plan 600x354 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - MLP, courtesy GOMMAdesign

The project master plan aims to stimulate and guarantee social relations between tenants even in case of natural disasters, heavy rains and floods, while being at the same time a cutting-edge eco-sustainable and green design. Many technologies and strategies where implemented for this purpose, most of them inspired by biomimetic principles and energy-saving considerations. In details:

  • Buildings have a proper ring-like shape which allows optimal structural performances in relation to stresses caused by earthquakes and typhoons.
  • Cells are permeable and perforated. This minimizes the opposition of buildings to strong winds and allows them to pass through and flow away from the inner courtyards, which will promote natural and cross ventilation and will help reducing inner temperature.
  • Precipitations are collected and drained out through an interconnected system of canals, in order to minimize the effects of heavy rains and flood and re-use water for domestic and public use.
  • Buildings and main distribution paths are detached from the ground, on piles, in order to offer a safe and enjoyable environment even in case of massive flooding.
  • Recycled and local materials (bamboo) will be used.
DAtE GOMMAdesign pM view 00 600x164 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City, courtesy GOMMAdesign

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM west elevation 600x65 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - West elevation, courtesy GOMMAdesign

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM east elevation 600x113 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - East elevation, courtesy GOMMAdesign

In addition, last but not least, one of the main purposes of the project was to achieve a high level of financial sustainability and profitability, two of the most important aspects of a “public housing plan”. For this reason roofs and parking areas are massively covered with photovoltaic panels, which assimilate solar energy and offer a sustainable and eco-compatible way to self-finance the construction process. About 1.600 sq/m of photovoltaic panels will produce energy which will be sold to the grid, generating this way an impressive stream of revenues. This approach will at first reduce the production of Co2 and then offer a sustainable and eco-friendly way to self-finance the construction phase.

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM view 03 600x480 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City, courtesy GOMMAdesign

All the features and strategies implemented and explained so far simply prove that CORAL CITY is truly a self-sustaining community.

That’s why CORAL CITY was recognized by the DAtE international jury as an example of (both financially and energetically) sustainable design and awarded with a special ENERGY AWARD (category professional).

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM plan section 600x499 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - Dwelling group floor plan, courtesy GOMMAdesign

DAtE GOMMAdesign pM services 600x288 Coral City | GOMMAdesign + ITA Project

Coral City - Community center and church floor plan, courtesy GOMMAdesign

+ Project credits / data

Project: Coral City
Type: Competition
Size: 3 ha
Location: Taguig – Metro Manila, Philippines
Year: 2010
Status: Energy Award

ArchitectGOMMAdesign | + ITA Project
Design team: Francesco Bagni, Vittorio Menna, Gabriele Settimelli, Francesco De Luca, Paolo Gori, Romolo Nati, Valentina Murgia, Matteo Parigiani
Collaborators: Chiara Giunta, Ilaria Merola

+ About GOMMAdesign

GOMMAdesign is an architecture and design studio based in Rome, mainly focused on the investigation of new design strategies, advanced and at the same time sustainable, through the strict integration between cutting-edge digital tools, technologies, processes, materials and eco-logic strategies for environmentally-aware design.

GOMMAdesign team members gather different skills and experiences in architectural, product and interaction design, allowing the studio to constantly explore up-to-date theories and techniques in different fields (such as: materials and manufacturing processes, computational and generative tools for design, interaction technologies and strategies) and to be able to deliver advanced concepts, projects and products that properly address market’s and client’s needs in an original and inspired way.

GOMMAdesign Members

Francesco Bagni
After my studies in Architecture and master degree in Ferrara, I gained international experience in Athens and Rome, where I worked for architectural offices of acknowledged value and of very different workflow organization as well as design vision.  These experiences allowed me to highly improve and refine my design skills, especially in the fields of urban redevelopment, masterplan of services and residential complexes, architectural design of service buildings as well as residential buildings and units.
Team work, and proper workflow organization are the tools that I find most productive in my studio activity, for which this is a subject of constant improvement and research for the best solution. Also, having always been interested in digital tools and technical innovation, I trained and experienced especially in the use of interaction tools, their potential of application in spatial and usability issues, and more generally in their influence on the design activity.

Vittorio Menna
I gained my master degree in Architecture in Rome and I’ve been working for many years as a freelance (in collaboration with many other practices and professionals worldwide) and especially as a partner in the architecture practice which I run with my parents. I worked on many projects (housing, offices, retail, health structures, services – most of them actually built), acquiring deep skills and knowledge about design at different scales and about construction processes on field.
Moreover, I have always been fascinated by the latest ground-breaking researches in  sciences, maths, geometry, physics, technology and logic. The strong attitude I had since i was a child toward any kind of cutting-edge experimentation and research has led me to investigate and study several aspects and fields of the so-called “new sciences”, in a continuous search for state-of-the-art tools, both conceptual and practical, which could allow me to manage and manipulate complexity and expand my professional and creative toolkit.

Gabriele Settimelli
My work is mainly focused on researching about innovative materials and manufacturing processes.
My biggest interest is about the daily life, understanding how people lives and behaves, which are their needs and habits, and considering these as a starting and a ending point for every project, from furnitures to buildings

+ All images and drawings courtesy GOMMAdesign

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Category: Architecture, Master Plan

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