During the 8th Regional Workshop on Urban Nexus held in November 2018, the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Thailand, and BISCAST signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announcing their student exchange program within the framework of the Urban Nexus, integrating the application of the Urban Nexus approach in energy efficient, low cost housing design through “Micro-architecture”, focusing on resource efficiency amidst the dwindling natural resources. The Urban Nexus Project sees the “Strategic Partnership” with academe (Sustainable Development Goals – SDG 17) as a vehicle to strengthen the mainstreaming of the Nexus approach as students, teachers, trainers and professors are natural multipliers of innovations.

The “first half” of the exchange program was hosted by KMUTT School of Architecture and Design (SoA+D. Sponsored by GIZ Nexus project, six BISCAST students and two professors travelled to Bangkok and were accommodated at the KMUTT Bang Khun Tien University Campus. The “second half” of the exchange program was hosted by BISCAST last 6-15 May 2019. Twelve students and two professors from KMUTT with the BISCAST students went through design activities in the Philippine context, gaining insights from the experiences and best practices of BISCAST relative to the innovative technology developed and implemented through the CCRPH built by BISCAST with the support of GIZ.

Moreover, the students worked in conformity with the Sustainable Development Plan for Naga City utilizing the proposals from the Design Thinking outputs of the Housing and DRRM conducted during the sectoral workshops for the preparation of the 30-year SUDP of Naga City. Workshop outputs on multi-family dwelling during the Micro-Architecture workshops in KMUTT were also utilized for the proposed master plan, as one of the workshop deliverables.

Meanwhile, the KMUTT SoA+D and BISCAST is set to host a symposium and student design competition entitled “Designing Resilience in Asia” in 2020. In light of this, the said institute suggests the latest BISCAST/SOA+D student workshop project as the basis for the competition brief. The KMUTT SoA+D shall provide a detailed competition guidelines which will include information and references on the planned housing and land development project in San Isidro, where the project will be executed. This will make the competition brief as close as possible to the actual planning of Naga City. As of the moment, the KMUTT SoA+D is trying to have the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to support the competition.

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