PROP UP: The future of office buildings? AtlasLand’s newest office holds some answers

Published May 22, 2021, 1:57 AM

by Joseph C. Tay

In the era of COVID, a burning question in the minds of most people who have to go to an office building to report for work is – “How safe is my workplace?” Architects and real estate developers are figuring out ways how to build office buildings that would keep tenants safe from the virus. Some answers can be found in a new building to be launched by developer AtlasLand.

When partners Fredric Chung, Albert Chung, Richmond Lee, and William Gan set out to build a revolutionary office building, they did not envision that a global pandemic would keep people at home for fear of contracting the virus at work. They did, however, envision a “breathable building” designed to protect tenants from airborne pathogens such as the common cold through the latest air circulation systems and technologies. 

These are just some of the innovations found in 107 Aguirre in Legaspi Village, AtlasLand’s latest development. The company is part of a breed of smaller, creative developers that build to exceed norms and expectations.

“Rather than follow the latest trends, we have this philosophy of continuous self-improvement,” said Albert, “That each project should be 20 percent better in every way than the last.”

From the drive-up ambassadorial entrance to the spacious lobby featuring an installation by artist Jinggoy Buensuceso, nowhere is this philosophy more evident than at 107 Aguirre. The 15-story office building at the heart of Legaspi Village, Makati contains a host of unconventional features for a building of its size. 

Jinggoy Buensuceso’s dynamic, passionate sculpture ‘Folded Landscapes,’ complements the building’s precision discipline.

A core feature of the building’s design is ease of movement. It is served by four programmable passenger elevators and one service elevator to guarantee short waiting times. Each passenger elevator can potentially serves only two floors. And of the building’s 15 floors, six contain parking spaces, which connect directly to office floors.

Another key feature of the development is tenant safety and comfort.

“Even before the pandemic, we were concerned about ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ – when viruses and pathogens make their way through centralized air conditioning systems and infect tenants inside the whole property,” said Fredric. To combat this, they installed dedicated air handling units at each office, which can be connected to a fresh air intake system, and created a much larger lobby than typical for a 15-story building to reduce crowding in an enclosed space. These decisions will prove crucial in ensuring that the building remain safe in the pandemic that was to come.

AtlasLand’s 107 Aguirre features a grand, ambassadorial drop off opening up to a spacious full depth lobby. 

This idea of “future proofing” extends to the building’s sustainable features. “By installing features to prioritize energy efficiency and indoor comfort such as inverter air conditioning systems and double-glazed windows, we attained LEED Silver Pre-Certification without even deliberately aiming to!” exclaimed Fredric.

Possibly the most unique feature of 107 Aguirre is the central atrium spanning four floors from the 10th to the 13th floors – something usually found in much larger buildings. The developer also installed a common rooftop garden overlooking the Makati skyline for the building’s tenants to enjoy, while tenants of the building’s expansive penthouse unit have access to their own private rooftop garden.

The 10th to 13th floors feature a unique four-story atrium that provides a grand space allowing for a greater sense of community.

While packing so many features into a 15-story building may seem unthinkable to other office developers, it is this habit of defying convention that sets AtlasLand apart. The company’s founders have an architectural background with more than 20 years of experience in real estate development.

“From architecture and design to construction, we do everything in-house to ensure that everything is up to the high standard we set for ourselves,” said Albert.

Double height penthouse with exclusive, private roof garden.  Occupants of other floors have access to another larger common roof garden.

The partners stated that 107 Aguirre is attracting the attention of discerning tenants who seek the amenities and conveniences of a big development, but also the exclusivity and comfort of a small building. 

As office buildings grapple with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has highlighted more the importance of a building to be flexible and resilient to unexpected circumstances. This charge is being led by AtlasLand and other developers like them who continue to push the envelope on what’s possible in these next-generation real estate developments.

(Editor’s Note: “Prop Up” by Joseph Tay would be a regular feature in Manila Bulletin’s Property Section)