from a house to mega towers – a philippines update

A few weeks ago, Vish and I travelled to the Philippines to be part of the Austrade and the Australian Governments’, “Celebrate Australia Day” program in the Philippines. Unfortunately, we missed out on our Australia Day public holiday in Sydney, but fortunately, we were able to spend quality time with our friends in Makati.


We visited the Arya Residences on McKinley Parkway to take some photos of our development designed in 2009. Arya is nearly complete, a twin tower, LEED Gold certified, sustainable development located in Bonifacio Global City. The site is located just 20 minutes drive from Makati…….on a good day……for those that understand what Manila traffic is all about. This is my photo of Vish taking a photo of Arya, from the roundabout at the entry to the American War Memorial site.

160203_arya park

Arthaland’s signature project, the Arya Residences, is highly acclaimed both in the Philippines and abroad, having won several awards at the East Asia Property Awards and the Philippine Property Awards.

We met with CASAS Architects to discuss 2 projects we are collaboratively working on in Cebu; TAFT East Gate in Central Cebu for HT Land and The Bond House (CASAS have named the house, the “Iron Man House”, which we like as well) for a private client in the Hills of Cebu.

This is a view of one of the many study models of the House. We have just finished Schematic Design and are now looking into a Design Development Phase for the interiors. You can see from the photograph the design incorporates an expansive entertainment deck and wet edge swimming pool that runs the full length of the deck. An amazing spot for a party! The house gently lands on a steep sloping site, with stunning views of the country side, a tree lined ravine and pocket glimpses of the Mactan Channel in the distance. The design promotes sustainable living with a series of Green Initiatives integral to the design including; passive solar control, natural ventilation, atrium stack effect cooling, sun shading and PVC technology.

160203_study model

L1 and L2 Family External render night


Taft East Gate is a 4 tower development in Cebu for Taft Property Venture Capital and includes residential, Commercial, Hotel and a retail shopping centre. Tower 1 documentation of the residential tower is complete. Site works have commenced and the display suite should be operational by next month. The design incorporates a “crinkle cut” facade to the towers, creating movement and drama and essential shading to the apartments. The image below was provided courtesy of CASAS Architects.

taft east gate

taft east gate

Another major site in Makati we visited was our Garden Towers project, a Premier Grade twin tower residential condominium development for AYALA Land Premier. The 2 towers will be quite stricking on the city skyline and will reach a similar height to the towers you can see in the background of the photo below. The project features green sky lobbies, summer gardens, extensive landscape areas and a green wall at the porte corche drop-off. A quality development located in the heart of the shopping precinct in Makati, promoting a healthy lifestyle and work / live environment.

garden towers site photo

garden towers

connected with the philippines

International Experience
A Global Challenge Opportunity

Right now, the world is more connected than our ancestors dared to imagine. At CRONE, we aren’t limited by boundaries of distance, culture or dialect; in fact, we’ve found that working with new climates, lifestyles and values encourages us to expand our thinking in every aspect of what we do.

Our international experience has seen us lead projects in the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Be it a major urban planning initiative, office tower, retail precinct or a residential dwelling, our designers are determined to improve the world’s cities, one building at a time. With such diversity, each project is unique and involves in-person consultations, responding creatively to local needs and the nuances of culture.

We established a presence in Manila in the 90s, undertaking a number of major master planning projects. In the last 10 years Crone have designed a number of significant Premier Grade residential towers, commercial office buildings and urban masterplan Projects in both Manila and Cebu. At the core of our design methodology is promoting a collaborative Design Process that promotes sensitivity to the environment. The Arya Residences for example achieved both a LEED Gold Star and BERDE rating and has won multiple awards in Asia.

10 – years crone have been working in the Philippines
1 – luxury house design in cebu
9 – separate projects in various stages of design and construction
17 – towers in design and construction stages in 2015
1 – master plan with 1,200,000m2 of GFA and 23 towers
10 – towers under construction in manila and cebu
6,000 – Condominium Apartments
4 – Commercial BPO office space with 180,000m2 of GFA

A chronology of work

2014+_James Bond House – Schematic Design Complete
GFA = 1,500m2
Residential House


2014_The Alcoves – Design Complete / Marketing Stage
Residential Tower
GFA = 60,000m2
460 Condominiums
AYALA Land Premier


2014_Mandani Bay Masterplan – Design Complete
Masterplan 20 hectares
GFA = 1,200,000m2
12 stages
HT Land


2013-2014_Megablock – Design Complete / Under Construction
Commercial office BPO x 4 towers
GFA = 180,000m2
Typical Floor GLA = 2,000m2
Tower 1 complete 2017 / 4 Towers by 2022
Filinvest Inc.

140724_Top Angle Render

2013_Taft East Gate – Design Complete / Under Construction
Residential & Commercial Towers x 4
GFA = 225,000m2
4,000 Condominiums
Taft Property Venture Capital

140624_TAFT overall_sml

2013-2014_128 Nivell Hills – Design Complete / Excavation Complete
Residential Towers x 2
GFA = 70,000m2
550 condominiums
Diamond Hiland Inc + MSY Holdings

128 Nivel Hills

128 Nivel Hills

2011_Garden Towers – Design Complete / Under Construction
Residential Towers x 2
630 Condominiums
Ayala Land Premier


2009-2010_Arya Residences – Design Complete / Under Construction
Fort Bonifacio Global City
Residential Towers x 2
640 condominiums
Construction Complete 2015


2006_One Serendra – Design Complete / Construction Complete
Fort Bonifacio Global City
Residential Towers x 2
GFA = 90,000m2
600 Condominiums
Ayala Land Premier

One Serendra Aerial

this is why I love my office

I was recently interviewed by Zee Lifestyle Magazine for a residential project named 128 Nivel Hills, located in Cebu, the Philippines.
Unfortunately my office saw the article and a slightly embarrassing photo……..

f zee 1 zee 2 zee 3

And the original article in the Nov issue of Zee Lifestyle;




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


vertical garden living in the heart of AYALA Centre

Ayala Land Premier’s Garden Towers Residential Development lives in the heart of Makati’s retail district. Crone Partners design for 2 towers, 61 and 53 levels respectively and housing approximately 680 residences in 2012.

Key environmental features of the design, endemic to the Crone Design Methodology include; Flexible sun rooms, sky gardens, green walls, extensive landscaped amenity areas and spectacular Garden Lobby Drop-off.

The photograph below shows early ground works on site, due for completion 2017. The first phase of the development will see Tower 1 and podium built, with a total GFA of 60,000m2 and 320 apartments.

garden towers 13029_5_Gardens Ext_Day_Normal_02_01 12004_1_exterior day_rev1