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The Society for the Conservation of Philippines Wetlands has launched its 4th Wetland Center Design Competition last May 29, with the theme “Build Back Biodiversity: Wetland Centers and Nature-Based Architecture”
Background and Introduction
The Ramsar Convention’s CEPA* Programme encourages the establishment of Wetland Education Centres (or simply called Wetland Centres), recognizing their value in promoting the Convention on Wetlands’ principles of wetland conservation and wise use. This in turn helps ensure that wetlands provide essential ecosystem services including benefits to health and well-being of people.
As defined by Wetland Link International (WLI), a wetland centre or wetland education centre or wetland learning center is “any place where there is interaction between people and wildlife and CEPA activity occurs in support of wetland conservation” (see www.wli.org.uk). Wetland centers by convention have tended to comprise a wetland site with associated interpretative signage, trails, possibly an exhibition, and a dedicated visitor center building that tells stories about wetlands (including the specific wetland in question), their biodiversity and conservation. But the world of wetland centres is growing fast and in some ways is outgrowing the classic WLI definition.
Wetland centres connect people with nature and raise their awareness of wetland values and sustainable lifestyles. They could be high-tech centres designed to welcome significant numbers of visitors, or simple, embryonic, non-staffed centres giving small numbers of people a limited but effective wetland CEPA experience. Whatever the form and size of these wetlands and wetland centres, they are primarily places to relax and engage with nature.
The design and construction industry is a known contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global environmental change. As a responsible industry, the next generation of professionals working in design and construction need to be exposed and equipped with the knowledge and experience that is essential to combatting a worsening climate change and its harshest effects – disasters, water scarcity, intense urban heat, food security, and others. Design, engineering, and planning students in tertiary education, who are the next in line to take the reins of development in the country are critical partners in ensuring a future that commits to a vision of sustainable development.
This is the fourth competition of its kind that will be staged by the SCPW with its esteemed partners. The previous three were held for Lumban Delta in Laguna (2005), Candaba Wetlands in Pampanga (2009) , and Pasig River (2013) in Metro Manila. The Wetland Center Design Competition provides a venue for students in the field of construction and design to showcase their skills, know-how, and talents in designing architecture through a practical approach of an ‘economy of means’ that works towards a specific environmental problem.
*CEPA means Communication, Capacity Building, Education, Participation and Awareness. The Ramsar Convention is the Inter-Governmental Treaty on the Wise Use and Conservation of Wetlands of which the Philippines is a Party.
What is the purpose of the competition?
- The competition hopes to inspire students to engage and act action on the socio-civic and economic issues in their community by finding workable solutions towards building a sustainable future.
- It aims to educate and enlighten future architects, designers, engineers, and planners on how buildings can contribute to attaining sustainable development through green and nature-based architecture, sustainable planning, and wetland ecosystems conservation.
- The competition also targets future leaders in the design and construction field that will take on the mantle for sustainable development advocacy in the country by inspiring others to take action on sustainability in the natural and built environments.
Who may join the competition?
- Individuals or groups (maximum of 5 members) may join the competition.
- Should be a bona fide student of either of the following courses: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Planning, Urban and Regional Planning, and other Engineering-related courses.
- Only undergraduate level students shall be allowed to participate in the competition.
- Only those who attended the Wetland Center Design Symposium shall be allowed to participate in the competition.
Who will judge the entries?
A select group of eminent personalities in the built environment as well as in the conservation and sustainable development fields will serve as judges of the competition. The list of judges will be released around the time of the site visit on 07 July 2023.
What is the judging process?
The competition has a 2-step judging process:
- The first step is the Preliminary judging which entails the review of all concept submission entries where the best Top Ten entries will be considered as the Finalists. This will take place after the submission of Design Concept and the Architectural Drawings.
- The second and final step is the judging of the Finalists to come up with the Top Three Winners and Special Awards.
What are the judging criteria?
General Criteria for Preliminary Judging of Entries
- Appropriateness and creativity of the idea – 50%
How creatively and successfully the design meets the project objectives of integrating concepts of sustainable architecture, sustainable development, and Filipino culture in wetlands design structures.
- Adherence to the theme of the competition – 35%
How well the design concept makes use of the theme of the competition to put forward ideas and narratives.
- Innovation – 15%
Considering the fast pace of socio-technological change in the world, how well the design concept integrates new technologies, approaches, and thinking.
Criteria for Final Judging of Top Ten Entries (Finalists)
- Concept – 30%
How creatively and successfully the design meets the project objectives of integrating concepts of sustainable architecture, sustainable development, and Filipino culture in wetlands design structures (Sustainable design principles, Architectural quality, Filipino culture).
- Architectural Drawings and Scaled Model – 50%
How effective is the translation from concept into specifics on site as it is shown on the architectural drawings and scaled model (Environmental impact, Consideration of wetlands, Appropriateness and practicality of technology used, Form and structure).
- Innovation – 10%
How well the final design intervention uses new technologies and approaches to enhance the overall performance of the wetland center.
- Presentation – 10%
How well the team communicates its results by the presentation of Architectural drawings and scale-models to the Judging Panel (verbal communication, gestures and emphasis).
What prizes are awarded?
Top 1: P50,000.00 and a Plaque
Top 2: P30,000.00 and a Plaque
Top 3: P20,000.00 and a Plaque
*All other Finalists will receive P10,000.00 each.
*There will be Special Awards to be announced later in the Competition.
What are the competition rules?
The following rules must be strictly followed, or the entry will be disqualified:
- All team members must conform to eligibility requirements.
- All submissions must conform to submission requirements. These will be provided during each phase of the competition. Teams which do not comply with submission requirements will be informed of such provided there is ample time from submission before the deadline.
- All submissions must be solely the work of the team. Consultations with experts and other professionals that add to the quality of the work are acceptable as long as their opinions or ideas do not constitute the total essence of the submission.
- The use of AI tools and other forms of software technology are acceptable if proper attribution and identification of use during the design process is made. The same appropriate attributions should be made for any intellectual property used by the team. All permissions, licenses, and consents for the use of intellectual property by the team must be obtained as part of the submission of entries.
- All other requirements issued by the competition organizers must be followed.
What permissions do participants grant?
- By joining the competition, all team members give permission to the organizers to display their photos that may be taken and quotes they may provide during the activities of the competition at relevant the websites, social media channels, and other media publications of the organizers.
- By submitting entries, the members of the teams irrevocably transfer the entire copyright and intellectual property rights including derivatives of the work to the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Incorporated (SCPW). These entries become the property of the SCPW.
- Thus, as property of the SCPW, they may be displayed at conferences and events, in publications and promotional material, and in electronic format on the Internet.