Design against the Elements

by Dale Gozar
(60-B, Project-6 Q.C Philippines 1100)

I'm a building architect in a Japanese Petrochemical (Oil & Gas) Engineering company –doing projects with high level of strength, quality, safety standards and precautionary measures (Safe Haven & Cyclone/Blast resistant Building).

In 2009 my family also was victim of Typhoon Ondoy wherein I almost died trying to rescue my wife & kids, because of my current work specialization and years of living in Japan – I sincerely want to help or share my knowledge on how to cope with the hazards brought about by climate change.

Global Design Competition

In 2010, I joined a Global Design Competition about a housing project that is well adapted for climate change (by Mr. Ilac Diaz) entitled “Design Against the Elements (water or flooding, wind or typhoons, earth or earthquakes, & fire)”.

Modesty aside my entry (no.135) was favorite during Quezon City Hall Exhibit and it was displayed first in front row facing directly the exhibit entrance. Honestly, I also studied other entries in the competition so I was pretty confident in winning and I was very excited to help our people & government by sharing my views, experience and ideas about climate change adaptation.

Interviewed by National Geographic

A week prior to announcement of winners I was interviewed (recorded on video) by National Geography & Mr. Ilac Diaz.

One of the questions was “If you win, what will you do with the prize money?” I did not directly answer the question and only said, “I only want to share my knowledge and ideas about climate change adaptation.”

On the day of announcement of winners, I was again interviewed (recorded on video) by TJ Manotoc at my office.

One of his questions was “Why did I join this competition?” and so I said again, “I only want to share my knowledge & ideas about Climate Change adaptation.”

To my surprise, my entry was not included in the winners and all 5 Final entries were done by foreigners.

In my frustrations I immediately called Mr. Ilac Diaz to express my disappointment & questioned the results. I told him that cost factor only constitute 15% of judging criteria when I easily get 85% in others factors. Also, competition is not about low cost housing.

Looking Ahead

I eventually understood that this design competition – although global - did not generate much interest and funds because very few joined (approx. 150 entries) with very few sponsor and support from private sector & the new government (President Aquino).

I only wish they had approached me directly about waving or giving the prize money to charity. Hence, my efforts and motivation in joining was not entirely fulfilled because without the win I cannot prove or convince people. And people may not interpret my vision correctly.

Every year (in the last 3-4 years), I always feel sad about news of disaster/calamities in our country and how our people are dying or suffering, and how our government is struggling to cope with the situation.

Designing for Mitigation and Adaptation

Hazards brought about by climate change and our geography is imminent and will worsen at a bigger scale & interval.

Still, people and government may not take it seriously until they actually face death brought by nature’s wrath.

Still today, I wish to be heard and have the opportunity to discuss my ideas with our leaders and other experts in design for climate change adaptation/mitigation.

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