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Caloocan Civic Center

An Entry to the Sora Seed Design Competition 2019

For full details about the competition, visit this link:

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A Community that Needs a Home

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Rapid urbanization has led to communities sprawling from the city where the country’s developments take place. These burgeoning neighborhoods consist mostly of young starting families, migrating people from the provinces and adjacent cities to find work and in this case, relocated residents. The target area is a relatively new and developing neighborhood that has yet to establish its own identity and specialization.

But with this rapid growth of suburban communities, development of public places appears to be the least of our priorities and the lack of it leaves the people without a place to engage and communicate with other members of the community. The people end up spending their free time on places of leisure and consumption that helps only little to nothing in building and nurturing their culture. This scarcity of culture-building programs, initiatives and spaces is affecting our society regressively in a scale that we may have never imagined yet. 

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Site Development

The main shape of the floor plan eludes the existing trees on site. Envisioned to be open and inclusive, perimeter walls are to be torne down and the whole development will be open from all accessible sides- from the streets and the housing buildings from the west. The ground floor, together with the whole site, will be open from any visual and physical obstructions as the whole building is split into an underground structure and a raised/suspended volume. Most trees and landscaping will be retained and available gardening will be used for planting fruit-bearing and edible plants, free for the community’s harvesting. Main access for cars will be from the northern side by the main road with parking spaces and a private parking space for admin functions is located at the south side.

Floor Plans
Floor Plans
Floor Plans

The people deserve an alternative and the community’s growth needs a special place to start. A well-designed Civic Center should provide for:

o    an alternative, free space for the people,
o    a place where everyone is welcome,
o    a place that does not discriminate and instead encourages growth,
o    a place that keeps the community creative and educated,
o    a place that serves as a platform for learning, discovery, partnership and collaboration,
o    a place that keeps the community healthy,
o    a place that helps the people earn a living,
o    a place to where everyone identifies,
o    a place that the people feels their own and courteously oblige to take care of,
o    a place that preserves and nurtures culture and history,
o    a place of unique character that they can proudly claim their own,
o    a place to serve as refuge in unfortunate times,
o    a place that the community has helped build,
o    and a place to let the culture take back the city.


The Underground consists of galleries and retail spaces. The galleries will be available for shows of local artists, film viewings or live art and indoor performances. At the center is a  permanent outdoor sculpture at the atrium which can be viewed from the Ground floor. The retails may sell souvenirs, local goods, arts and crafts or other creative merchandise made by the community through workshops and livelihood training.

At the ground floor level integrated in the landscape are sunken spaces where performers can showcase their talents. These can be used by/for a dance group, a busker, a hiphop artist doing freestyle, a live art sketching, a spoken word performance, book readings, a public debate, or just lounging under  the shade of the civic center itself.

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Food Carts

Carts will be provided to the commmunity members and they will be allowed to sell anywhere at the Ground Floor of the Caloocan Civic Center. These carts can sell street food, fresh goods, arts and crafts, clothes and any allowable merchandise. This will support small scale community businesses. Each owner will be limited to only 1 cart sized 4’ x 8’ and will only be allowed to bring/sell a single type of mechandise in limited quantity to whatever will fit the cart.

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Openness and Inclusivity

The entire Ground Floor where most community activities are to be held is free of any walls and visual obstruction and the whole site is visible at street level. This openness elicits a feeling of ownership and inclusivity for all the community members and the natural surveillance it entails leaves less room for unwanted occurrences. When the people feels belongingness  and ownership to a space, they will willingly oblige to take care and maintain its order.

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The multi-purpose area located at the 3rd floor caters for all indoor activities. It also serves as receiving area for satellite government offices, barangay office or guests and attendees for the lecture room. It may also be used as evacuation center during unfortunate times. An accent wall serves as canvas for local mural artists to showcase their art.


The museum at the top floor will be the repository of artifacts, artworks and objects important to the community. This will set timelines, record history and set benchmarks for all the achievements the community has produced.


The library has a terraced reading area overlooking the main road and the communities across. Vibrant murals to be done by local artists will be painted as an  accent wall.


The entire shell of the building also serves as its structural system. These are pre-fabricated structural members that hold the entire shell together allowing for less to minimal columns in the interior. The mesh patterns in the shell also functions as openings for natural ventilation and light. The building’s raw concrete aesthetic also demands less maintenance and finishing costs. These pre-fabricated structural members can be made by local craftsmen and masons abundant in the  community.


What makes a vibrant community? More than just architecture, it starts with a place that the community can call home. 

The Caloocan Civic Center.


© 2017 The Boring Studio

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