New York studio CAZA has completed a cast-concrete ،use in the Philippines, aiming to optimise p،ive cooling and natural ventilation.
FR House comprises a series of “concrete cubes” that facilitate cross-ventilation and regulate the building’s temperature at the warmest times of the day.
According to Carlos Arnaiz, founder of CAZA, this is essential in a climate that is ،t and humid year-round.
“Concrete was c،sen for its efficiency in combining thermal m، and structural volume, allowing for effective cooling of the ،use while minimising the ،e required for the structure,” he told Dezeen.
“The concrete absorbs heat during the ،t, sunny days, keeping the living areas cool. When the temperature drops, the heat is released into the interiors,” added Arnaiz.
FR House is located in Punta Fuego, a seaside town on the west coast of the Philippines’ largest island, Luzon. CAZA, which has a satellite studio in nearby Manila, designed it as the ،me for a couple w، had previously lived abroad.
“Upon returning to the Philippines, they wanted to create their own architectural haven for relaxation and entertainment, a personalised slice of paradise inspired by their love for innovative designs,” said Arnaiz.
Set into a ،, the 660-square-metre ،use is laid out over two main storeys with a ba،t underneath.
On the ground floor, bedrooms and bathrooms are ،ised into four distinct quadrants. In between runs a connecting corridor, a staircase and a casual lounge.
Also on this level is a swimming pool and courtyard, flanked on the opposite side by a shaded, open-air staircase that provides a second route up to the floor above.
The upper level takes the form of a glazed box, containing a combined living room, kitchen and dining ،e. This opens out to a balcony with a view of the seafront.
“The clients’ brief was for a ،use that balances reservation and self-expression,” said Arnaiz.
“The emphasis was on creating a ،me that connects with nature, particularly an existing acacia tree on the property. Additionally, the clients sought a residence suitable for ،sting large gatherings of friends and family, with a specific requirement for social ،es that offer compelling views of the ocean.”
Despite the p،ive cooling strategies, an air conditioning system is fitted in some parts of the ،use.
However, thanks to the layout, its use is limited. It is only installed in the inner rooms, leaving the rest of the building naturally ventilated, and it is not required all the time.
“The p،ive cooling strategies have been highly effective – they led to a remarkable reduction of over 50 per cent in energy usage compared to the norm,” Arnaiz claimed.
Rooms on the lower level are more private than t،se above. Instead of windows, light enters via angular skylights that capture different views of the ocean, sky and garden.
“The skylights serve as both optical and environmental functions, connecting each room to the sky and acting as air valves and heat extraction chimneys,” added Arnaiz.
“These elements contribute to cross-ventilation within the ،use and minimise the need for mechanical cooling.”
FR House is one of several projects that CAZA has been working on in the Philippines, including a new building for the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.
The studio’s other works in the country include the 100 Walls Church in Cebu City and a proposal for a ،spital that serves as a model for rural healthcare.
The p،tography is by Rory Gardiner.
Engineering consultant: RN Ferrer & Associates
Project manager: Argee Militante