Breathing Spaces in Today’s Vertical Communities

September 27, 2010

Atrium Lumiventte Observatory

As Metro Manila and other urban centers become more congested, the only way to go is to build up. At the same time, as the lack of available land space grows, developers now face the dilemma of providing sustainable living spaces to the young urban family in search of eco-friendly living areas.

Now the question is: How can "green living," specifically natural air and light flow, be incorporated into the design of condo units in an era where cramped and overcrowded living spaces are the norm?

In an article that appeared on entitled, Beating "Sick Building Syndrome" by Keith Loria, it was discussed that, "sick building syndrome (SBS) can be summarized as all the situations associated within a building's ventilation system which leads to acute health problems or comfort effects, as experienced by the occupants of that building."

The article also stressed that sometimes, unit owners experience various health concerns due to the poor quality of the air they are breathing. This type of air usually contains contaminants like dust, molds, bacteria, and other small particles that are transmitted through inadequate or little airflow. This situation is especially rampant in cramped residential spaces lacking regular maintenance or poorly planned living spaces.

Taking on the task of continually providing the young urban family with options to alleviate the deteriorating standards of in-city condo living, design engineers of DMCI Homes have long been tweaking with the idea of implementing a building design that worked with the basic but often overlooked concept of the duality of seasons in the Philippine tropics. The Northeast monsoon, which occurs generally during the first half of the year, brings cool and dry winds (amihan) from Siberia and China, while the Southeast monsoon brings moisture laden winds (habagat) from the West Pacific Ocean and South China Sea during the second half.

To add to their already successful implementation of the single-loaded corridors and using information on the Philippines' prevailing weather conditions, DMCI Homes has designed another architectural innovation that integrates natural light and ventilation in their building design features. Called Lumiventt, with lumen referring to light and ventus to wind, this system allows the free flow of natural light and ventilation around and into their high-rise structures. First introduced in Tivoli Garden Residences in Mandaluyong, this breakthrough technology in home engineering is now benefiting almost 200 families residing in the said development.

With three-storey high openings called Sky Patios at the front and back of every five floor levels, and through openings at the ends of each level, natural light and air permeates through the building and all the unit spaces. Winds passing through and around the structures create areas of positive and negative pressure. Employing the basic principles of airflow, the introduction of the central landscaped atriums and large openings of the Sky Patios provide channels through which air can move. Fresh air flows in while stale or hot air is displaced or sucked out.

"On all four sides, there are big openings and air passages in the buildings. Even with different prevailing wind directions, the wind enters. And even though it's a condo, the fact that there is cross ventilation and natural lighting on all sides, residents get the feeling of an innately natural home setting as opposed to living in damp and cramped concrete structures. Also, through this design technology, homeowners will be able to manage the high cost of energy consumption while doing their part in caring for the environment. Our commitment is to design products that are sustainable while addressing and anticipating the needs of young families," Alfredo Austria, DMCI Homes' President explains. "We want them to know and feel that there's no place like DMCI Homes."

No doubt, well-planned and sustainable living spaces provide condo residents the much-needed respite from heat, pollution, and dreary concrete scenes. Apart from considering layout and amenities, prospective buyers should also do the math. Does the developer anticipate my requirements in the present but also my living conditions in the future? Do they take into consideration not only my personal needs but also of my family? Home buyers should have an option to purchase "green" homes, which are not only energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly and durable, but most importantly, cost-efficient.

The Lumiventt design technology of DMCI Homes is also offered in La Verti Residences, the newly launched resort condominium village located along Taft Avenue in Pasay City. It's the only residential development in the Buendia-Taft area offering young families with well-crafted, well-balanced urban dwellings that address their need for comfort and relaxation in this urban jungle.

View details of Tivoli Garden Residences

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