This 85sqm Villa in Naga City is Built to Withstand Typhoons
Standing on a farm lot, the simple yet welcoming structure is surrounded by endemic trees and a view of a pineapple plantation
Many of us yearned for a change of pace and view when the pandemic started. While some chose to move to provinces, there are those who built spaces where they can feel safe and at ease. “This project was borne out of a need to get away and be closer to nature in the middle of the pandemic,” says architect Allie Principe about this 85sqm villa surrounded by greenery.
“It is shared among siblings and their respective families…they wanted a space that was safe, private, and large enough for their families to gather,” Allie adds. The architect worked on the architectural design of the villa with her partner, architect Lando Cusi. Together, they form the duo behind GRAAR, a studio that offers architecture, interiors, branding, and graphic design services.
Since the project was built during the pandemic, the two had to oversee it remotely, depending on the expertise of architect Angelo Reyes to handle the construction. It helped that the owners were hands-on throughout the process. Finishes were sourced from local stores and they completed the villa with simple yet timeless materials.
Learn more about inviting villa below:
The villa was designed to seamlessly blend the indoor and outdoor spaces. According to Allie, 45% of the 85sqm comprises the interior space while the rest is dedicated to an outdoor veranda that surrounds the home.
“It is designed to be as open as possible while providing the right amount of protection from the elements. We also took inspiration from the beautiful old houses we’d when we were still living in Japan,” the architect shares. The bare aesthetic of the exteriors adds to its appeal.
The veranda is definitely one of the space’s striking features. It’s a 1.5meter-wide wrap-around veranda where the owners can hang out and take in the beauty of nature.
From this angle, you’ll see that the structure is elevated. “People can sit by the edge of the veranda and enjoy the breeze as well as the views of the lush surroundings,” adds Allie.
The villa is completed with seating pieces, a dining set, and just the essentials. Opting for minimal décor further highlights the beauty of the finishes and the outdoors. Complementing the sealed cement plaster exterior are interior walls painted in white.
Since the budget for the project can’t accommodate getting materials from Manila, the design team had to be creative. “We used readily available tiles them had them cut diagonally to create a custom floor tile pattern that became one of the standout features of the space,” the architect explains.
What better way to welcome the breeze and natural light indoors than through jalousie windows? These windows aren’t only staples in tropical and classic houses, it’s also budget-friendly. According to Allie, “it’s easy to source and inexpensive to produce.” “These provide maximum airflow compared to other types of windows,” she adds.
The furniture pieces are reminiscent of furniture you would see in many family homes. The solihiya detail works as décor on its own. “The rest of the furniture used in the space came from the family home. These were some of the early considerations in doing the design for the villa,” recalls Allie.
Behind the seating piece is a built-in wooden shelf that holds some of the owners’ prized mementos.
The dining set completed with matching wooden chairs and a round dining table can seat around six people comfortably. It perfectly complements the pieces in the seating area.
The kitchen is completed with a refrigerator and a spacious countertop. We love how the jalousie windows keep it well-illuminated. To define the area, patterned tiles serve as backsplash.
As Allie explains, “the transition between indoor and outdoor areas is almost seamless, thanks to the two sets of sliding doors that open up the space.” The wood used for the eaves and window jambs came from the mahogany trees grown on-site. “These were planted many years ago, specifically to be used for building in the farm,” the architect shares.
Look closely at the sliding doors, notice the metal attached to the floor? Since the area is frequented by typhoons, Studio GRAAR designed a system of storm shutters that can be easily removed and installed when needed. It covers two sides of the villa with the sliding doors.
In addition to the storm shutters, the architects also opted to install chain downspouts instead of the usual PVC ones. As explained on Clemson.edu, rain chains originated in Japan and are "connected to gutters, or eaves, usually where a downspout is traditionally placed."
“We wanted the rain to act as a sort of water feature for the villa, the rainfall coming down the chains is diverted via a canal surrounding the house toward a nearby creek,” says Allie.
The bathroom is completed with modern fixtures and cement tiles that are similar to the ones used in the kitchen.
Villa at night
The villa looks even more inviting at night, like a safe space you’d want to come home to. For those who want to build something similar, Allie suggests sourcing locally if you’re able to as it “benefits not only your project, but the community as well.”
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