Mike Guerrero is perhaps one of the most active personalities in the Philippines’ sustainability front. He is the principal of Asian Architects, a design firm founded three decades ago. His design ethos hinges on the principles of good design, and his work is a showcase of intense passion and advocacy on sustainability. Guerrero is indefatigable in spreading the gospel of sustainability across the country, believing that it is for all. Harry Serrano, FuturArc Philippines correspondent, caught up with him for an in-depth conversation.
HS: Can you walk us through Green?
MG: I have a simple definition of Green architecture: designing with nature. You go to the site and analyse the environment. What is the climate? What are the resources? What is the slope? Then you design accordingly. You avoid sunlight coming into the building from the west and east. You get natural light coming through the north and south. And (you create) as much as possible, big windows and not deep building plates so you don’t have a dark spot in the middle.
I believe that (by) simply adjusting to the site, you’ll actually come up with Green design. People say, “you need to be a specialist to do Green buildings”, but we do the opposite. There’s no mystery. Good design equals Green design.
HS: You are the chairman of Green AP. Tell me more about that.
MG: Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines, or Green AP, was founded in 2009, and put together by volunteers. We’re architects and a few other professions. (This) was at a time when Green building rating systems were coming into play. LEED, the US Green Building rating system, was talked about. The first (local) rating system was coming up—BERDE by the Philippine Green Building Council. As a group, we thought that Green rating systems were quite expensive, (affecting only) a few buildings. What happens to a great majority of buildings? (And) so we put up an advocacy group. We were not putting up a rating system, not selling any product. (This was) pure and simple advocacy, so more people can understand sustainability, people (who) practise small- and medium-scale projects. Our motto is sustainability for all. Dot. Dot. Dot.