Catbalogan Sky City Mega Project
Sky City Mega Project is a 440 hectare mixed-use mountaintop development project that aims to be a model of sustainability to the country. Due to its low lying coastal geography and mountainous landscape, the city of Catbalogan is at risk from natural hazards such as landslides, floods, and storms. Additionally, the steadily increasing population has put a strain on resources, property, and the infrastructure.
Sky City aims to tackle these issues as it will be built 120 meters above sea level, creating opportunities for development while being naturally sheltered by the mountain ranges. It will be designed to include residential, commercial, and governmental cores that will be powered from renewable sources, and will be planned together with pedestrian and cyclist friendly spaces to reduce transport emissions.
Sky City Hall
The Sky City Hall will be the new city hall in Catbalogan. The project will take up 2 hectares of the 440-hectare Sky City development. It will serve as an expansion from the current city hall with a goal to masterplan and pioneer mountaintop sustainable living as a model for future developments.
Locating the main City Hall at a higher terrain will also minimize the risk of floods and encourage the complete expansion of the new city.
The concept for the City Hall is driven by four objectives. It aims to encourage public participation and transparency by designing spaces that result in heightened interconnectivity between the government and society. It celebrates socio-cultural identity by incorporating cultural symbolism in architectural elements and by encouraging social interactions through public spaces. The city hall seeks to enhance community connections, fostering a sense of belonging by including locals of all skill backgrounds in the creation and development of the new city hall. Lastly, it reflects and responds to local biodiversity by working with the existing terrain and using native species to further mitigate environmental degradation.
Having direct access to communal spaces for everyone to use reflects the government’s priorities in increasing civic trust and public participation. The central spine achieves this by connecting public and private areas on a clear route, thus creating a sense of interconnectivity between government staff and visitors.
Representational elements throughout the building such as the “balud” wave form and the traditional woven facade details allow the city hall to acknowledge and preserve Catbalogan’s culture. Additionally, public parks and plazas will become landmarks that encourage cultural interactions to take place.
Being involved in the development of the city hall project creates a sense of belonging between the community and the city. Time invested by the community also safeguards their future by letting younger generations adapt and improve existing skills and knowledge frameworks such as construction and natural landscaping.
Since the site is situated within a tropical rainforest ecoregion, it is necessary to reflect and respond to the existing biodiversity. Reforestation also reverses the effect of soil degradation, further reducing natural hazards like floods and landslides which have become more frequent due to increasing rainfall patterns.
The city hall is a hub for the community. Designed with an abundance of open spaces and public amenities, the civic infrastructure aims to bring people together and provide them with places for commerce, culture, recreation, and an appreciation for local activities and tradition.