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Breathing spaces in today's vertical communities

The Philippine Star
Updated May 28, 2011 12:00 AM

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Through three-story high openings on the front and back of the Sky Patios and the breezeways located on the left and right wing of every floor, free-flowing light and air permeate the structure — hence, the moniker “Lumiventt” or natural light and ventilation.

MANILA, Philippines - As Metro Manila and other urban centers become more congested, the only way to go is to build up. At the same time, as the lack of available land space grows, developers now face the dilemma of providing sustainable living spaces to the young urban family in search of eco-friendly living areas.

Now the question is: How can “green living” be incorporated into the design of condo units in an era where cramped and overcrowded living spaces are the norm?

In an article that appeared on cooperator.com entitled “Beating Sick Building Syndrome” by Keith Loria, she stressed that “sick building syndrome (SBS) can be summarized as all the situations associated within a building’s ventilation system which leads to acute health problems or comfort effects, as experienced by the occupants of that building.”

The article also stated that unit owners experience various health concerns due to the poor quality of the air they are breathing. This type of air usually contains contaminants like dust, molds, bacteria, and other small particles that are transmitted through inadequate or little airflow. This situation is especially rampant in cramped residential spaces lacking regular maintenance or poorly planned living spaces.

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Based on the basic principles of airflow, the introduction of the Sky Gardens — which consists of Sky Patios and Central Atriums located every five floors — provide channels through which air can move.

Taking on the task of continually providing young urban families with options to alleviate the deteriorating standards of in-city condo living, design engineers of DMCI Homes have long been tweaking the idea of implementing a building design that works with the basic but often overlooked concept of the duality of seasons in the Philippine tropics. The northeast monsoon, which occurs generally during the first half of the year, brings cool and dry winds (amihan) from Siberia and China, while the southeast monsoon brings moisture-laden winds (habagat) from the West Pacific Ocean and South China Sea during the second half.

To add to their already successful implementation of the single-loaded corridors and using information on the Philippines’ prevailing weather conditions, DMCI Homes has designed another architectural innovation that integrates natural light and ventilation in their building design features. Called Lumiventt, with lumen referring to light and ventus to wind, this system allows the free-flow of natural light and ventilation around and into their high-rise structures.

First introduced in Tivoli Garden Residences in Mandaluyong, this breakthrough technology in home engineering is now benefiting almost 200 families residing in the said development.

With three-story-high openings called Sky Patios at the front and back every five floors, and through openings at the ends of each level, natural light and air permeate the building and all the unit spaces. Winds passing through and around the structures create areas of positive and negative pressure. Employing the basic principles of airflow, the introduction of the central landscaped atriums and large openings of the Sky Patios provide channels through which air can move. Fresh air flows in while stale or hot air is displaced or sucked out.

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With the Lumiventt advantage offered by Sky Gardens, residents can enjoy fair weather year-round.

“On all four sides, there are big openings and air passages in the buildings. Even with different prevailing wind directions, the wind enters. And even though it’s a condo, the fact that there is cross ventilation and natural lighting on all sides, residents get the feeling of an innately natural home setting as opposed to living in damp and cramped concrete structures. Also, through this design technology, homeowners will be able to manage the high cost of energy consumption while doing their part in caring for the environment. Our commitment is to design products that are sustainable while addressing and anticipating the needs of young families,” Alfredo Austria, DMCI Homes president explains. “We want them to know and feel that there’s no place like DMCI Homes.”

The Lumiventt design technology of DMCI Homes is also offered in La Verti Residences, the newly launched resort condominium village located along Taft Avenue in Pasay City. It’s the only residential development in the Buendia-Taft area offering young families with well-crafted, well-balanced urban dwellings that address their need for comfort and relaxation in this urban jungle.

DMCI Homes is the country’s premier triple A builder-developer that brings serviced, themed communities within reach of urban families who once had limited residential options, but still aspire to achieve a comfortable, enriching quality of life proximate to their place of interest.