DAtE Competition

Design Against the Elements is a response to the problems brought about by the global concern of climate change and disaster readiness. However, the initiative has roots in, and grows beyond, the mere conditions of climate change and its physical manifestations: it is also driven by a need to address poverty, socialized housing issues, urban planning problems, and the country’s limited resources.


Design Against the Elements is a global architectural design competition meant to find a solution to the problems presented by climate change. Spurred by the devastation wreaked in the Philippines by tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana) and driven by a powerhouse multidisciplinary group of organizations from the private, institutional, and government sectors, the project aims to draw together the most innovative minds in the fields of architecture, design, and urban planning to develop sustainable and disaster-resistant housing for communities in tropical urban settings.

Location: Manila, Philippines.

This project serves as a solution to the poverty crisis in terms of sustainable design posed by the Design Against the Elements competition.  Held in the fall of 2010, the following competition called for architects and related fields to derive a sustainable solution to combat the elements of nature.  Current building habits in low poverty areas take advantage of the most inexpensive materials and building methods.  This technique of building is highly vulnerable to the devastating forces of nature.  Floods, earthquakes, fires, high winds and typhoons show no mercy on poorly built design.  This leads to architects needing to focus on redeveloping a sustainable, efficient, and practical approach of devising safe housing for the less fortunate.

Project Goals

  • To foster local and global awareness on climate adaptability and its relevance to poverty alleviation. Disasters are setbacks to sustainable economic growth as well as human tragedies. Having safer structures “ahead of time” will not only lead to less casualties, displacement, and damage, but will empower communities to uplift their quality of life.
  • To build the first green, livable, affordable, and disaster-resistant village in the Philippines that will serve as the blueprint for other communities threatened by climate change.
  • To compile an encyclopedia of climate-resilient and affordable design solutions for urban poor communities.

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