The building is located in Makati City, Manila’s central business district, where revitalization is rapid as international enterprises are moving in and spurring a new density in the zone. As populations grow and cities become more complex, architects and engineers have the responsibility to prioritize not only the physical but also the psychological well-being. NEX Tower is oriented toward this principle. It aims to create uplifting, healthy and beneficial environment to its dwellers.
Designed to support responsible and sustainable development, NEX is expected to change the way developers and designers approach their work in the Philippines, because amenities such as health, wellness, connection to nature, and access to uplifting spaces are not just for building tenants but also for the general public.
The building form is simple but strong, tapering back to create a distinctive and iconic silhouette against the city skyline. The exterior wall is energy-efficient and this has contributed to the building’s LEED Platinum certification. Floor-to-ceiling glass panelling allows abundant natural daylight to flow into the office spaces while efficiently managing solar heat.
The complex occupies an infill site, reducing its frontage to the front and back. The building was sliced open on the ground floor to create a soaring lobby that connects the rear drop-off area to the pedestrian entrance at the front. The lobby operates as a pseudo public space, increasing porosity and connectivity in a dense urban setting. In addition to this, there is a living wall that provides freshness as well as natural beauty.
The interior living wall gives the city people an opportunity to stay close to nature, breathe in fresh air, and find respite from the congestion of Ayala Avenue. Green terraces, such as the roof gardens on the 4th floor and 27th floor, provide similar ambience and these were carefully placed in the most strategic locations.
The project material includes white marble from Macedonia, glass from China, and local plant species for the green wall. These materials were specifically chosen to achieve a minimal and refined impression. The interior places an emphasis on the beauty of those natural materials, whose effects are heightened by the natural light.
In terms of technical challenges, the design team faced two obstacles. First, 100 per cent of the car park had to be placed below grade to create the grand public lobby. This was particularly challenging as the basement excavation depth had exceeded 25 metres. Upon excavation, the construction team discovered that the adjacent foundations encroached on the property. Adjustments had to be made to reinforce the existing and new foundations.
The second challenge was installing the 11-metre-tall living wall, the largest of its kind in the Philippines. Experts from Singapore were called in to execute the plan because they were the ones with sufficient expertise. Also, due to the limited amount of direct sunlight, the team had to choose the right plants, and calculate artificial light levels, impact on humidity, and mechanical systems and maintenance program. While maintenance was a critical factor, nearly no plants had to be replaced after over a year in operation.
Project Name: NEX Tower
Location: Ayala Avenue Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Completion Date: May 2019
Site Area: 2,400 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 38,400 square metres
Building Height: 27 storeys; 124.45 metres
Developer: Nex Development Group (Nova Group – VelcoAsia JV)
Managing Director: Ricardo C. Cuerva
Design Consultant: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)
Executive Architect of Records: Roy Villarosa Architects
Civil & Structural Engineer: SY^2 & Associates
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: RTM Mechanical Engineering Services
Lighting Consultant: SBLD Studio
Landscape Architect: Vertical Green (green wall consultant)
Green Building Consultant: Barone International
Main Contractor: Nova Group
Images: Photo © Studio Periphery Image © SOM