The village is located in Brgy. Encanto, Angat, Bulacan, comprising 60 households. It was established 12 years ago on a vacant quarry which was left barren after it was excavated for land reclamation in Manila Bay. The organization of GK offers social housing for low-income families, provided they build the house themselves through bayanihan. This community was given land for small-scale farming as a long-term livelihood strategy to ease the economic burden of building each other’s houses. The community has actively used bayanihan as a term to describe the process of building their homes, maintaining the surrounding areas, as well as tending the land for cultivation.
The project was structured through the six steps of learning, questioning, making, concept, design and build. A group of 32 community members volunteered through the kapitbahayan (neighborhood committee) to work with the architects. Some were engaged on the construction site while others attended daily two-hour workshops during the project. The concept of “maaliwalas” emerged as the common language that they used to structure the design from the plans, to sections, and even the doors and windows. “Maaliwalas” is a Filipino concept that describes spaces that are bright, open, clean, well-ventilated, and peaceful. Due to dense living conditions, the community identified the need for a quiet space to study and also a private space where people could resolve conflicts without other villagers hearing them. This determined the program, location, and orientation of the library within the site. After getting the primary structure up, the library was dismantled and then shipped to Venice, Italy to become the centerpiece of the exhibition where the secondary elements were finished. On one hand, the values and meanings embedded in the architectural process reflects a situated understanding of bayanihan. On the other, the journey to Venice manifests a traditional expression of bayanihan, when a community moves a house from one place to another.
The full documentary (17mins) is available through this link: https://youtu.be/ss3BFeZq–k