the ideas behind 128 nivel hills

The inspiration for the design of 128 Nivel Hills came from its site in Cebu, the largest island in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. Cebu has beautiful natural features – Amazing coastal regions as well as luscious green hillside landscapes surrounding the site – inspiring Crone Partners to create a modern, resort-style environment.

Crone’s 10 years of experience in the Philippines has given the firm a contextual awareness that helps to inform the design. 128 Nivel Hills is located in a prominent position, high in the hills, with the advantage of unobstructed views of Mactan Channel and the Nivel Hills, with sea breezes that naturally cool the buildings and amenity areas.

Crone has created two, iconic elliptical buildings & podium with curvilinear forms that reflect the natural landscape features of Cebu and promote 365 degree views of Mactan Channel and the Nivel Hills countryside.

Through the vision of our client Diamond Hiland Inc., Crone were allowed the freedom to create a new “Cebu Modern” architecture, unique to the Philippines. A Collaborative Design Approach with Nestor Arce-Ignacio as Diamond Hiland’s lead, encouraged both innovative and creative thinking.

Cebu is affected by typhoon and earthquake hazards, Typhoon Yolanda more recently creating havoc in the region. These potential natural risks were a major consideration in the design of the structure and risk assessment. The spherical shape of the towers helped with this solution: a pure form, with good natural rigidity. The length of the building required additional shear walls, placed in the shorter span of the floor plate, to give the building additional strength and reduce torsional rotation. The structure is finely tuned, to allow for good flexibility in apartment design and create passageways that open up to the façade, naturally ventilating lobby spaces and communal areas. Crone worked closely with Wilson Sy of SY2 to come up with the best possible structural solutions.

Using readily available materials in Cebu and local construction techniques, Crone Partners employs pre-cast concrete panels on the façade to express the horizontal banding of the tower. These simple extensions of the floor plates are used to create the “shifting cog” effect on the facades.

These “shifting cogs” of the towers have two primary functions;

1.The extended concrete slab projections act as an important environmental sunshade reducing heat loads on the building and protecting the facades from severe weather conditions, such as intense heat, rain and wind.

2.The shifting cogs create an iconic form on the city skyline easily recognisable from a distance. It is envisioned the building will be seen as far as the bridges crossing Mactan Channel, on route from Mactan International Airport to Cebu City.

The design recalls the optimism of “streamline modern”, “late deco” and “googie” architectural styles (such as in the cartoon The Jetsons), which used curvilinear forms evocative of boat forms and space travel to suggest leisure and a futuristic outlook.

A stone wall to the perimeter of the development was selected from local sources and creates a rusticated base to the buildings and perimeter fencing, grounding the towers and blending in with the natural surrounds. The landscape areas use local indigenous planting to further tie the development into Cebu.

During the Pre-planning Design Phase, Crone reviewed property data showing proposed development in Cebu City. This information indicated the future density of Cebu with over 50 towers planned for construction over the next 10 to 15 years. Due to this growth, congestion in the city will be a major issue for the city. 128 Nivel Hills is unique in this respect, being only 10 minutes away from the central business district yet located in a countryside location. A quiet respite from the traffic and noise of the city centre.

To create a true “work, live and play” environment, this design caters for the modern user with International Premier Grade standards of residential accommodation, high class amenities and 5 star dining opportunities, with magnificent views back towards the city. As we know, people in Cebu love to entertain and to share a meal with family and friends. Therefore the dining experience, being able to be outdoors and providing a variety of entertaining possibilities, was paramount to the design. The amenities include landscaped gardens, pools, shaded decks, gyms, function rooms, pre-function room & social hall, library, business centre, study room, games room, children’s playground and running track, promoting a modern healthy lifestyle.

We’ve created this environment through luscious green landscaping, stunning wet edge pool details, fine dining experiences, and facilities that service both the local community and residents. Everything the resident needs is at their doorstep.

The idea of Environmentally Responsible Design is endemic in the culture at Crone Partners Architects. As members of the Green Building Council of Australia and with registered Green Star Accredited Professionals and Integrated Sustainable Design (ISD) team, we are committed to using this knowledge to inform our designs. Crone has designed the first ever, Green Certified Residential Building in the Philippines, Arya Residences located in Fort Bonifacio Global City. This project targets a dual certification, LEED (US) Gold and BERDE (Philippine) ratings.

128 Nivel Hills uses this valuable knowledge to design an environmentally responsive development with passive design initiatives to maximise the buildings performance. Key factors influencing the design included;

Building Orientation
View Maximisation
Natural Ventilation
Sun Shading
Green landscaped areas
Protected Internal Balconies
Rooftop Gardens

Together, all these design considerations create a project tied to its surrounds culturally, aesthetically and environmentally.


128 Nivel Hills

128 Nivel Hills


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