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)
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against Green building rating systems. I think they’re good. They protect the buyers (of) these big projects because they conform to a standard that is checked by a third party. We have no problem with that.
I wrote for our group, Ten Steps to Sustainability: block the sun… let the light in… catch the breeze… insulate the roof, etc. Every last Wednesday of the month, we (host) a lecture. Every year we have a forum, a two-day Green forum. This year, our theme is Climate Change: Killing Me Softly.