Cover The "spiral journey" to Abaca Resort Mactan by Büro Ole Scheeren

Ole Scheeren has a new project coming up in the heart of Cebu, and it's inspired by the country's lush natural environment and rich 16th century traditional vernacular

In the heart of Cebu, there is a safe haven waiting for lovers of nature—The Abaca Resort by renowned architecture firm Büro Ole Scheeren. The place boasts the picturesque beauty of Philippines' nature and spaces that connect visitors to the wonders of the environment through intimate encounters. 

German-born architect Ole Scheeren, who worked on such award-winning projects as The Interlace in Singapore and CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, believes that his landmark projects should be able to shape the way cities interact and generate highly integrative environments. 

“This project is telling a story," says Scheeren. “A story of discovery and surprise, a story of wonder and curiosity, a story of the language of architecture and the power of tropical nature. It is a journey through the rainforest, the exploration of habitable structures, places of rest and repose; an intimate sensory experience.”

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The upcoming resort features the following services and amenities: 

A Vertical Village

A gently curved silhouette rises above the tree canopy and the layered topography of pools and waterfalls. The subtly concave volume embraces panoramic sea views, built up from a vertical lattice of arches that stack, recess, and protrude to form shaded balconies and floating pools in the sky. Pockets of greenery punctuate the tower, revealing glimpses of social habitation.

“The architecture echoes memories of past cultures, embeds them in a new setting: Notions of local craftsmanship merge with modern technologies, the façade unfolds a playful three-dimensional grid of arched picture-frames, each containing a personal and intimate view of the ocean… with its vertical colonnades and hanging gardens, the building grows into the sky like a long-lost tropical village,” says Ole Scheeren.

The arched curvatures of the façade extend to the inside of the Suites and Sky Villas, providing a sense of home-like containment and enclosure. With their generous outdoor terraces and private plunge pools, both Suites and Sky Villas attain the notion of individual, floating bungalows with sweeping sea views. The resort is simultaneously expansive and individual, a vertical frame of reference that contains a collection of individual experiences.

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Local Craft and Environment

Artisans and craftsmanship have played an important role in shaping Cebu and its historical development. The design takes its cues from diverse vernacular crafts and embraces local construction practices, materials, and acute environmental awareness.

Through mobilising passive energy-saving strategies, the building minimises heat gain and maximises energy efficiency. It capitalises on natural ventilation and with open corridors that are punctured by green pocket gardens, and the possibility for full cross ventilation of all interior spaces.

Water conservation systems are customised for tropical climates and create biotopes throughout the waterscapes of the project. Materials will be primarily locally sourced to support local economies and reduce the radius of transportation.

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Holistic Experience

Architecture, interiors and landscape are conceived by Büro Ole Scheeren and its collaborators as a fully integrated experience. They tell a story of the wonders of nature, the beauty of the landscape and the ocean, the culture of civilisation and architecture, the meaning of materials and making, and take us on a journey to follow and explore our curiosities.

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