Hong Kong-based Ho & Partners Architects Engineers & Development Consultants Ltd. (hpa) is responsible for the architectural planning and project management of a large-scale joint development project between the Manila municipal government and the Philippines’ UAA Kinming Group Development Corp. Located in the Philippine capital’s central district, the 407-hectare New Manila Bay City of Pearl will comprise Class A office buildings, exhibition venues and multi-use residential areas, offering comprehensive services covering entertainment, leisure, tourism, education and sports facilities.
Also appointed as the architect of the project’s first phase of construction, hpa will adopt an integrated hardware and software system combining smart energy-saving grids, water and light-rail transportation, as well as self-sustaining solar and tidal energy to achieve ecological balance in production, storage, transportation and energy consumption for the smart city as a whole, with carbon positivity as the long-term goal.
New Manila Bay is a key development project between China and the Philippines under the Belt and Road Initiative. In February 2017, the Manila municipal government, the Philippine Reclamation Authority and UAA Kinming Group Development Corp signed a memorandum of understanding for the New Manila Bay reclamation project. In March, lead designer of the project and Deputy Managing Director of hpa, Nicholas Ho, and a number of interested developers from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland travelled to Manila for the launch ceremony of the reclamation project. During the event, Mayor of Manila Joseph Estrada said that the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, fully supports the project and hopes it will broaden Manila’s development prospects by creating thousands of employment opportunities, improving public services through boosting city tax revenue and driving long-term economic development for the country in the long run.
The New Manila Bay project is expected to be completed in seven phases over 20 years, in which the initial three-year reclamation project will begin in August 2017, while the first phase of the construction project will be announced in early 2019. Ho explained that since Manila lacks large-scale public facilities and business areas that meet international standards, the local government and other agencies concerned hope the project can help bring international experience and technologies to the city. Besides speeding up the construction process and ensuring the construction and management of the project meet the latest global standards, the project is also expected to serve as a reference for future development of green cities in the Philippines.
Highlighting the advantages that Hong Kong architectural design companies have in undertaking large-scale international projects, Ho said Hong Kong’s limited land resources have encouraged local designers to include value-adding features in projects through design and layout planning, as well as making clever use of community infrastructure and facilities to create an efficient and user-friendly environment. Ho explained that Hong Kong’s architectural design industry has always been motivated to explore new frontiers and many of their projects have received international green building certifications, demonstrating their expertise and experience in green design and sustainable project management.
Ho said that as the Belt and Road Initiative is implemented, many Chinese and other international corporations and investors are becoming more enthusiastic about infrastructure and real estate development in the Philippines, as well as other Belt and Road countries. Further to this, he noted that Hong Kong companies can make use of their global business networks, gain experience with clients from the mainland and around the world, and develop an understanding of international standards and practices to excel in their roles as connectors and facilitators for Belt and Road development.
hpa has ample experience in architectural planning and project management, having participated in a number of large-scale planning, public facilities, commercial and residential projects worldwide including in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Southeast Asia, India, Korea and the Middle East. These projects include the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Kowloon station, new campus of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R., North Lake New Zone in Handan, Hebei, and township development in New Delhi, India. With their understanding and experience in designing, planning, and managing green buildings and smart cities, hpa will bring the New Manila Bay project to international standards and showcase the Hong Kong designers’ ability to create flexible and high-efficiency land planning projects.