Competition entry in 1976 for a major international architectural competition for a community housing project to stimulate a total reappraisal of housing for the poor and, in this particular instance, for the squatter settlement of Manila. The brief required a specific design to accommodate 500 families on a five hectare site of reclaimed land. Alongside this was a schematic proposal for the design of an entire new town with a population of 100,000.

1. The New Town
1. The New Town © MN Ashish Ganju
2. The community within its neighbourhood
2. The community within its neighbourhood © MN Ashish Ganju
3. The Barangay
3. The Barangay © MN Ashish Ganju
4. The Housing Units
4. The Housing Units © MN Ashish Ganju
5. Community Technology
5. Community Technology © MN Ashish Ganju

The International Architectural Foundation has, from the beginning of its planning for the design competition, had five main goals:

Goal 1. “Alert architects and planners to the gravity of the accelerating urban crisis in developing countries.” A few professionals have of course, long been deeply involved in the problems of human settlements. But it is our hope that the earlier writing in RECORD - and most especially this issue - has brought the desperate gravity of the problems if urban slums around the world to the attention of most architects and planners.

Goal 2. “Increase the fund of talent and expertise available for planning human habitations.” Surely that is a direct result of the competition. As noted earlier, over 2500 architects In 68 countries registered for the competition; and the 476 entrants from 46 countries who submitted work clearly made an enormous commitment of time and effort in increasing their personal “fund of talent and expertise”. While there was no space in this issue to publish much of this work beyond the permitted designs, other work will be shown in ‘rchitecture d’Aujourd’hui and Nikkei Arhitecture; and the bulk of the work will be shown in a book on the competition planned by the IAF for publication early next year.

Goal 3. “Involve architects and planners in the design of a demonstration project in a major city of the developing world.” That is now the unique and massive responsibility of the competition winner, Ian Athfield, and his staff and consultants; working with General Tobias and other officials of the Philippine government, and with the residents of the Tondo Foreshore who clearly stand ready to make their contribution of self-help.

Goal 4. “Contribute to the success of HABITAT.” Over 2000 delegates from 140 countries - plus technicians and others from non-governmental organizations - will be gathered in Vancouver in May and June to formulate an international strategy to guide efforts in improving the conditions of the urban poor around the world. It is our hope that this issue, and the exhibit of the permeated designs sponsored by the IAF at the Vancouver Art Gallery, will make a modest contribution to that great and important meeting.

Goal 5. “Act as a catalyst for further contributions by individuals, institutions, organizations and governments to the solution of the problems of housing and the urban poor.” There are several early opportunities for world leaders in housing and international aid and lending to implement new ideas. The governors of the World Bank meet in October to receive recommendations from HABITAT and decide what action or revision of their important programs they might make perhaps including a greater role in the redevelopment of cities in the developing world (most of the Bank’s activity has been in rural areas). The Inter-American Development also might choose to implement recommendations of HABITAT-including those generated by the competition. And then there is the whole HABITAT. Individual government officials around the world might see new directions for their programs of human settlement in the concepts and design ideas generated by the competition.

At any rate, the IAF competition has clearly generated some important new proposals for self-help and a host of new and thoughtful and affordable and socially acceptable ways for governments to intervene constructively in the lives of the poor of their countries. And so-with the competition on which so many people labored so long behind us-we begin


  • 1. Reproduced in Architectural Record, May 1976, pp 65