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Italpinas Advocates Biomimicry in Property Design

Italpinas advocates sustainable development through nature-inspired designs.

Makati City, Philippines, July 03, 2014 --( In design, there is no richer source of inspiration than nature – the rich colors of the flowers in the fields, the lush green forest, and the blueness of the skies. Yet, finding inspiration from nature is so much more than just copying its colors as nature can also help buildings to work.

This is called biomimicry, a concept that property developer Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corporation (ITPI) is staunchly espousing in its buildings. ITPI is an Italian-Filipino company known for its advocacy for, and practice of, sustainable architecture and development around the country. Its first property in Cagayan de Oro called Primavera Residences recently garnered a Five Star Award for Best Mixed-Use Development in the Philippines at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2014-2015 in Kuala Lumpur.

Biomimicry, explains architect Romolo V. Nati, chairman and CEO of ITPI, is a concept that has been around for centuries. One of the most famous historical examples of it was how scientist Leonardo da Vinci copied the wings of a bat in order to invent his own flying machine, the inspiration for modern airplanes today. ITPI would like to reintroduce this concept to the public through its projects.

“Up to a certain point in history, consumption of natural resources and human development were in balance. Societies were in balance with the environment. Now the balance is broken primarily because of a cultural misconception that resources are infinite and we have total control over nature. This wrong way of thinking produced cities as they are now—extremely polluted, congested and not sustainable,” Nati explains.

“If we want to change, we have to change our thinking first and our cities will change with it,” he adds.

He says that typical construction practices among property developers is to copy models around the world. Nati says this is wrong because something that works elsewhere may not work as well here.

“Developments also tend to work against nature instead of adapting to it. These structures then become too dependent on artificial cooling systems, which contribute to the rising levels of CO2,” he adds. “Nature is actually the most intelligent designer. Plants, animals and natural structures are designed with a purpose and function. We want to utilize what we learn from nature and adapt this to our designs, thus solving ventilation problems such as cooling and temperature control.”

For the award-winning Primavera Residences, for instance, ITPI took inspiration from an anthill. One of Primavera Residences’ most prominent passive green features, the central column in the middle of every building, takes its cue from the hollow opening to the ant colony used for transporting materials and for ventilation.

“The central column has several purposes. First, it allows natural light into the building, diminishing the need for artificial lighting. Second, it creates a funnel effect that allows air inside the building and distributes it to cross-facing units,” says Nati. “This, along with cantilevered edges that absorb the sun’s heat before it hits the windows, helps us reduce the building temperature.”

Another architectural concept based on biomimicry designed by ITPI is Coral City, a mixed-use socialized housing project in Quezon City. It was ITPI’s entry for the Design Against the Elements international architectural competition in 2011. Taking inspiration from coral, the 30,000 sqm green complex features individual, interconnected buildings in ring-like shapes that can withstand earthquakes, typhoons and floods. The design won a Special Energy Award from the competition.

This looking to nature for design inspiration has many benefits. One of them is a huge savings on construction costs.

“Our design process is based on performance. What performs well is capable of continuing and proliferating. And our main green feature is the building itself. By incorporating passive design features, we don’t need to use expensive equipment or hire specialty green construction firms to construct our designs,” says Arch. Nati. “This means lower costs in building a green structure like ours.”

This also translates to greater savings for property buyers.

“As of now, thanks to the green features, we are able to save 20% on electricity. This means lower association dues for our buyers.”

For more details, log on to or call (63) 917 7921080.
Contact Information
Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp.
Weena Carullo
+63 2 893 0328

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