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Chinoy architect William Ti designs overall WAFX winner Horizon Manila

Those planning to climb to the peak are always looking towards the best that the future has to offer. And this is exactly what award-winning principal architect William Ti, Jr. has succeeded in doing.

Last December 3, the WTA Architecture and Design Studio bagged the overall WAFX prize in this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF). The architectural firm was founded by Ti and his friends in 2007 and has since innovatively created hundreds of projects, which now include a WAF winning entry. Entered in the Water category of the festival, Horizon Manila is a 419-hectare reclamation development that aims to comprise 28 barangays spread out amongst a three-island city structure by Manila Bay. It is one of three Philippine-based projects —  and one of two Filipino practices — which have merited an award in the WAFX division.  

As defined by WAF, the WAFX prize “heralds the world’s most forward-looking architectural concepts, and is awarded to future projects that identify key challenges that architects will need to address in the coming years.”

Determined to be a project that progressively tackles significant global concerns, Horizon Manila impressed the WAF panel with its innovative urban design, which features a bisecting four-kilometer water canal and waterside neighborhoods. According to William Ti, who laid out the masterplan for the development alongside his team, the idea of Horizon Manila is to reconnect modern Manila to nature. 

“Horizon Manila is the foundation stone for this future,” said Ti. “It is a city that centers on our people and their communities — a city that is so intertwined with the water and nature that everyday life becomes a joy. Each neighborhood on every island, each facility, and each icon are meant to bring about a healthier and more holistic community.” 

As reported by Kanto, WAF panelists were particularly struck by the ambitious scale of the reclamation project, likening it to a microcosm of Singapore, which also utilized land reclamation to decompress an existing city, in turn creating a new one that modernized community, infrastructure, and landscape in relation to water. 

To be specific, Horizon Manila seeks to incorporate unique facilities and structures centered on the culture and arts, commercial development, and residential living across its 28 districts. Planned for a distinctively Filipino society, each district will be considered a barangay, which by definition, will operate with its own identity and interests. The aim of the project, which is also alternatively named Manileño, is to nurture the natural diversity of local communities instead of imposing a collective identity onto the islands. 

“Manila yearns for a future where we can look beyond our basic needs and enjoy the beauty and majesty of a city that can best represent our people,” further explained Ti. 

Speaking of the future, Horizons Manila is projected to be completed within the next six to eight years. For now, success comes in the form of international acknowledgment, historically marking Ti’s fourth participation in a World Architecture Festival and his seventh shortlisted project. 


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