Buntal hat-inspired structure earns a spot in World Architecture awards

Alero Design Studio, an architecture and interior design firm founded by sibling-designers architect Jaemi Cruz and interior designer Jesy Cruz in 2015, was shortlisted at this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF), the world’s largest interactive global architectural awards and industry event. Joining them in their bid was Eunice Vibal, lead designer and partner at Alero Design Studio.

Competing in Future Projects-Civic category, Alero’s entry was a community center reimagined as a place for trade, leisure, and social events for the siblings’ hometown Baliwag, Bulacan. The 4,307-sqm. multi-purpose structure encloses an integrated functional indoor park equipped with meeting pods, gallery halls and promenade terraces.

“It was our first attempt to join a competition of this scale and to be shortlisted among the big leagues in the industry was such a nice surprise,” exclaims designers. “This is such an important milestone for us to be able to showcase an example of Filipino architecture influenced by vernacular dwellings.”

Their entry was inspired by the buntal hat, made out of a very fine light-colored fiber obtained from the stalks of the buri palm found dominantly in Bulacan. It is woven in an angular chevron pattern and is a major product of Baliwag, which is famous for the art of buntal
hat weaving, a very important local tradition.

When asked about what makes their entry distinctly Alero, they reply, “Our design philosophy has always been embedded on cultural influences particularly on the distinct Filipino style that highlights flexibility, local ingenuity and heritage. We held these values as our cornerstone principles in the design development phase of the project.”

Staffed by a young and dynamic team, Alero Design Studio highlights the personal commitment of every member of the group. “Everyone was very hands-on all throughout the process.”

Deemed the most important global event in the world of architecture, the WAF attracts hundreds of entries from top design firms in the world to compete in 30 categories. Those selected will present to a live jury panel of over 148 architects and design professionals from more than 68 countries in a three-day event from Dec. 4 to 6 in Amsterdam.

Past winning works include the Oslo Opera House in Norway, the Spanish Pavilion for the 2010 Expo Shanghai in China, the Met Building in Thailand, and the Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit Station in Singapore.

Alero shapes sustainable architecture in the 21st century by promoting Filipino identity through design. The firm emphasizes its strong focus on the idea of shaping the future
of Filipino homes built on personal stories, heritage, harmony and sustainability.

For more information about Alero Design Studio, visit their website at www.alerodesignstudio.com.