Design For Villages— 08.06.2020

After Typhoon Yolanda, Storm Signal Community Outpost got shelved and Design for Villages (D4V) got fleshed out.

Immediately after Yolanda ripped through the Visayas on November 3, 2013, destroying 1.1 million homes and displacing 4 million people, the Sydney-based creative initiative Little and Loud mobilized its network to send relief goods to the Province of Capiz. Manila-born Australian Michelle Boyd, co-founder of Little and Loud, also arranged for her friend and colleague Leonie Tillman (also from Sydney) to come to the Philippines to personally meet their beneficiaries in the town of Pontevedra, an hour’s drive from Roxas City, the provincial capital.

I was with her on this trip and saw first-hand the devastation brought by the super typhoon on affected communities. We also met with the municipal mayor to get a sense of how the local government was responding to the disaster and how private organizations can effectively help.

Upon our return to Manila, I had made up my mind to reconsider putting up Storm Signal and instead explore the possibility of bringing disaster rehabilitation efforts to the countryside. After a series of consultations with Papaya colleagues and prospective partners, we came up with Design for Villages, or simply D4V.

D4V was a mobile design laboratory seeking new ways to rebuild typhoon-battered villages in rural areas. It proposed scientific and socio-cultural interventions in communities affected by typhoons during periods of reconstruction. Conducting on-site research and studies for redevelopment, D4V aimed to find the best design solutions for cost-effective, ecologically attuned, and typhoon-resilient houses that can sit securely and firmly on land even during a strong typhoon. D4V planned to operate as both a creative and technical laboratory and would have involved multi-disciplinary collaborations among artists, architects, engineers, industrial designers, environmentalists, carpenters, farmers, fishermen, and social activists. With a diverse composition mixing participants and stakeholders, D4V aspired to build climate-resilient and sustainable villages.

With Little and Loud and other prospective partners like the Japan Foundation, Kiito Creative and Design Center (Japan), De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, Mapúa University, Capiz State University, and the Municipality of Pontevedra, D4V was aiming to launch its pilot project in Barangay Solo in Pontevedra by 2014. But there was a snag. Aside from a huge funding requirement for Phase 1 alone (there were 4 phases), it was difficult to get clearance from the municipal mayor’s office for D4V to set up camp on-site. The frustration had pushed us to find another location but the project eventually lost its steam.

We hope that this idea becomes useful for those with similar advocacies. The most that we can do considering our exit in 2021 is to share our concept paper and archive (in PDF) as open source.

Norberto Roldan
August 6, 2020


D4V visual identity designed by Touki Roldan.

Pontevedra is accessible by small boats along Panay River, the longest river in Panay island. Courtesy of Christian Lucas Sangoyo.

Aerial view of Capiz in the aftermath of super typhoon Ursula. Courtesy of Office of the Presidential Assistant in the Visayas.

Types of houses in Panay island that don’t withstand the onslaught of a strong typhoon. Courtesy of Leo Solinap/SunStar.

Types of houses in Panay island that don’t withstand the onslaught of a strong typhoon. Courtesy of Leo Solinap/SunStar.

D4V blog poster designed by Touki Roldan.