Stackable Sand Clusters Blend Farming and Fishing with Tourism
The Filipino island of Cagbalete is getting a unique beachfront property soon – one that combines native industries like farming and fishing with an element of recreation and tourism.
The Cagbalete Sand Clusters, designed by Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc., was created for a client looking to build a second home during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. With a goal of “farm leisure,” the 9.4-acre property will contain a four-bedroom residential unit for the owner, a farm-to-table restaurant, ponds for growing and harvesting mud crabs, a garden for fresh vegetables, a lighthouse, multi-story walkways and performance spaces, and lower-level swimming grottos.
“Since this is an agricultural land, the project has to be built in an ethical way with a faster and less wasteful construction method,” said chief architect and firm founder Carlo Calma in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “Looking at the site, we set up a mud crab farm to prevent soil erosion. The mud crabs will eventually be part of the restaurant’s menu.”
Not only will the food be grown and caught on site, but the energy needs will also be self-sustained. Traditional solar panels are incorporated into custom sun umbrellas to generate the power required for the residence. “There are things in market that don’t have quality in design. We are turning these panels into sculptural pieces that are functional and sustainable even on a small scale. Its application of technology starts with the house,” Calma explains. Open-air ventilation will also help keep energy costs to a minimum.
The actual structure is made up of a series of hyperbolic pods that can assembled in multiple configurations. “The units can be stacked like LEGO blocks or pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. One unit consists of five modules that you can rotate, flip, or move around in different ways. You can make different spatial arrangements out of them. Every unit will be unique,” added the London-trained Calma. The curving shape was inspired by the ocean coral found just off-shore from the property.
Each module will be fashioned from noncorrosive materials, including glass fiber reinforced concrete and glass fiber reinforced polymer rebar, to combat the destructive influence of salt air. The design also integrates local hapa nets as shade, sunbathing hammocks, and mosquito protection. “They have elevated the humble hapa net into something beyond its utilitarian origins,” the project’s official press release states. “It is now both part of the structure’s construction membrane, a tool for food production, and a web that facilitates the daily activities of the structure’s inhabitants, enmeshing time, culture, and space.”
Construction of the Cagbalete Sand Clusters is underway, with the residential unit on track to be completed in December 2021. Mud crabs have already been planted in the area for cultivation.
Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. was founded in 2009 in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Philippines, as an art and architecture firm that aimed “to push boundaries in design thinking, architectural practice, and construction.” The developer has created dozens of residential and commercial buildings to date, best known for their geometric and organic shapes, as well as their art installations throughout the country.