It’s the new benchmark for high-rise living.
While towering residential condominium buildings and massive mixed-use complexes have become a common sight in most major cities in the Philippines and in many cosmopolitan urban centers elsewhere in the world, vertical cities are proving to be the new norm, further raising the modern living standards to provide a more conducive community for both residents and locators.
But not all mixed use projects can lay claim to having a truly vertical city.
Beyond being a mere dense cluster of concrete towers that share a common space, a vertical city should be designed primarily with its residents and locators in mind, which meant offering better efficiencies in the use of space, adequate open spaces with greenery to provide the community common areas viable for interaction and bonding, a new level of convenience through improved connectivity across all components of the township, proximity to transport nodes and key institutions, design aesthetics that would complement and enhance the city skyline, as well as smart, sustainable features to future-proof the township.
Such features aptly define Uptown Bonifacio, which is shaping up to be the local archetype of a vertical city. This was a practical move for property giant Megaworld Corp. as the 15.4-ha township would have, on any given day, some 50,000 workers, 60,000 mall goers and about 3,000 residents within its vicinity, thus making connectivity even more important.
“When you have so many people under one roof, you need to have good platforms of connections to efficiently manage the volume of people. We don’t want hundreds of people crossing the road at the same time for instance,” Megaworld chief strategy officer Kevin Andrew L. Tan explained.
Efficient connectivity is indeed crucial for the award-winning Uptown Bonifacio, as it has four luxury residential towers (One Uptown Residence, Uptown Ritz, Uptown Parksuites, and Uptown Arts Residence); the five-level Uptown Mall which is home to international luxury brands; Uptown Parade, a 25,000-sqm strip that houses the biggest nightlife destination in the country—The Palace—as well as an eclectic mix of specialty restaurants serving international cuisines; and modern office towers including the 20-storey Alliance Global Tower, the headquarters of the Alliance Global Group Inc.
Megaworld clearly raised the bar anew for this township as it created an elaborate network of bridges, underground passages, and elevated walkways that do not only offer utmost convenience to residents, office workers and visitors, but more importantly, provide adequate breathing space to really live, work, and play—the very essence of all Megaworld townships. Soon, the township will also be connected got a skytrain and a subway, once these key public infrastructure projects are completed.
“The biggest benefit here would be the seamless interconnection to and from the various components of this township. We have carefully designed the make-up of Uptown Bonifacio taking into consideration the ideas of comfort, mobility, and free-flowing access,” Tan explained. “We also took into the consideration the underground airconditioned link for residences so they can walk to the mall without getting wet or enduring the heat. These ideas truly help us promote walkability around the entire township, good health, and sustainable living.”
The key here, he added, is connection and walkability. The mall in itself is the center of it all as it houses everything you need—dining options, two groceries, drugstores, appliance stores, lifestyle brands, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, services. There are also medical facilities, gyms, salons, and dental clinic all under one roof and connected to each other.
Tan admitted that there are challenges that come with creating a vertical city.
He pointed out that a lot of engineering and architectural ingenuity must come into the picture. Among these challenges was how they can efficiently circulate people and how to manage the back of the house or what the eyes can’t see. Designing Uptown’s infrastructure was likewise crucial. Since many of their buildings are LEED certified, all sustainable features—such as waste management, rooftop gardens, solar power, among others—should be incorporated in the planning.
But this is the only way to go, Tan stressed, especially in a place like Bonifacio Global City where land is scarce and expensive.
According to Tan, connectivity is one of the pillars of their live-work-play concept, which brings together key components that fit today’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. This recognizes a growing demand from people wanting to live where they work, and to dine, shop, and do everything within the same space. And Uptown Bonifacio is one vertical community that promotes a lot of interaction with different people through the different common spaces it has provided.
“The spaces that we have created here define the relationships of people within this community. It has now become a melting pot of different people, from different backgrounds, places, people with different purpose. It has become an active community, which is synergistic in nature. People learn from each other as they interact with one other. You can go to the park, you can watch a concert or a show, and you can go to quirky spaces. It’s an inclusive community where people come together for different purposes at different times of the day,” he further said.
Uptown is also home to spaces where people can share ideas. US-based WeWork has set up within this township, offering shared workspaces for technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startups.
“Although we build so much, we still want people to feel that the community is not dense. We put a lot of design elements and countless hours of studying to make sure that every corner of our spaces here feels very relaxed,” he added.
Tan admitted that they have really pushed themselves to see how far they can go in creating such a synergistic vertical community as Uptown Bonifacio. This township, in fact, was awarded Best Township Development at the 2019 Philippines Property Awards, while the 45-storey Uptown Arts Residence bagged the Best Luxury Condo Interior Design award.
Despite the difficulties, Tan said they are looking to replicate this model in the urban townships they will create, especially in the city centers where mass transit will be crucial and demand for offices is high.
“We believe we can do an even better version of this later on, and connect more components like schools, hospitals, museums, and many more, in our townships. There are so many things we can connect into this model, and it’s something that we are continuing to develop,” Tan concluded.
Posted July 13, 2019 03:15AM,
Written by Amy R. Remo of Philippine Daily Inquirer