The Embarcadero is an existing mall along the coastline of Legazpi City, Albay. Mainly a retail center, it includes spaces – both built up and open – with great potential. While some areas may have reached their full use, some have yet to be utilized. Through the Embarcadero project, the studio aims to incorporate design interventions that will revitalize and feature spaces that showcase and inspire a lifestyle of creativity and artistic expression. The concept will revive the place and maximize usage of the site through adaptive reuse by incorporating principles of art.
The Embarcadero aims to rebrand itself as a safehouse for creatives and artists in the Philippines. With the introduction of striking forms, bright colors and interesting pathways, the mall creates a diversified experience for all. Commercial units integrated with installations and sculptural art pieces bring meaning and purpose into the spaces throughout the project. Once and for all, the Embarcadero establishes itself as a center for life, leisure, pop, creativity, self-improvement and beauty.
Key spaces in the current structure were analyzed and their uses reframed.
Emphasis on the entrance of the development is important to establish a welcoming and inviting impression of the Embarcadero as a whole. Currently, its approach is blocked by the view of the side of a single retail unit, discouraging a natural inclination to further explore the road leading to the street drop-off point. Instead, this is only appreciated by intentional visitors.
By removing this space, and relocating the area to another part of the development, the entrance is opened up and easier received at the human scale of pedestrians and passersby. Winding pathways, playful pavements and complementary softscapes create an experiential entryway into the different amenities that the site has to offer.
Extended eaves and organized landscaping create partial shade and cooling to the plaza, generating a spot for relaxation.
Taking full advantage of the location of the Embarcadero along the ocean, proposed is a straight boardwalk along the entire edge of the development. A throughway of this length and value creates a motivation for casual passersby to walk into the development, rather than around it.
With level finishes, and gradual slopes when necessary, the promenade works as an artery along the water for the morning jogger, the moonlight stroller, the excited sightseer and the entire neighborhood.
Areas for rest and pockets of greenery are incorporated along the boardwalk to diversify the trail.
After an analysis of the spaces on plan, as well as a review of the vacant units, it was determined that the entire retail structure located at the forefront of the view posed an opportunity for augmentation. In this proposal, all of the dividing walls are opened up, creating a porous structure that extends the sight lines of the Mayon Volcano from different vantage points in the plaza.
With the expanded area, retail spaces are reintroduced in the form of small kiosks and market stalls. As a commercial zone, the more intimate and interactive venue among the retailers can inspire a culture of collaboration and cooperation.
A highlight to the space is also found in the gradual staircase relocated to this side of the development. This grants visitors the opportunity to appreciate the views from whichever eye height they please.
ATRIUM AND EXHIBIT HALL
The heart of the Embarcadero is a 3-storey atrium, topped with a large domed roof, comprised of a series of intricate exposed trusses. The voluminous but bare atrium brings forth enormous possibilities. This 360-degree space is accessible from all around and from every floor, making it the ideal space for an artist to showcase their larger than life creations.
Simply offering this space as a venue for complete freedom of expression in scale or media can peak the interest of any number of artists. By implementing the creative use for the site, the general public may be persuaded into an untapped appreciation for the arts.
In order to emphasize this setting further, the materiality in the roof dome may be further explored to include skylights. This could introduce a layer of depth into the space, creating the impression of added height and volume.
The most frequented site of the development at present, the decks can be extended and improved. By building a series of platforms from the edge of the development, we allow visitors to engage more intimately with the waterfront and the grandeur of the Mayon Volcano.
Further accentuating this connection with the ocean, these decks can perform as docks for private boats, jet skis or other water activities. By bettering this area, visitors may be encouraged to linger here rather than only pose for photos, effectively acknowledging the allure and purity of nature.