Bel-Air Townhouse

Can an urban home rebuild our connection to nature?

Manila, Philippines
Design Development

The Bel-Air Townhouse confronts the steady loss of nature in Metro Manila, one of the most densely-populated and congested cities in the world. 

Our design for the Bel-Air Townhouse revisits the story of a house and its garden. Instead of the traditional courtyard house with a garden in the center, or a classical villa with a garden viewed from afar, the Bel-Air Townhouse transforms the garden into a series of horizontal strata for inhabitation. Wrapped by floating gardens, the building redefines the domestic interior as a collection of spaces nested within landscapes that have themselves been turned inside-out. It thus becomes an architectural experience inseparable from the gardens as 3-dimensional volume.

In response to the diminishing green spaces in Manila, our vision of urban townhouses reconnects people with the lush forests that once defined the city’s equatorial environment. The townhouse offers a new idea for how to conceive of life in a city, with nature as both memory and future.

  • PROJECT TEAM: Carlos Arnaiz, Jun Deng, Haorang Wang, Magdalena Fronska