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Local architecture firm nabs B1M’s Construction Story of the Year award

By Patricia Avila
November 29, 2021

Sporting over 2 million subscribers on YouTube and racking up around 200 million views a month, B1M is easily the world’s largest video channel that features some of the best feats and innovations in the industries of architecture, construction, and engineering (or AEC).

In partnership with Bluebeam, B1M developed the Construction of the Year award in the hopes of shedding light on the brilliant projects of unsung changemakers who have impacted the world through AEC industries. 

This year, Philippine firm WTA Architecture and Design Studio beat out 13 other shortlisted entries for the Construction Story of the Year award for their Emergency Quarantine Facilities.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, WTA created Emergency Quarantine Facilities, or EQF, to directly address the rapidly decreasing availability of hospital beds. 

The plan details the framework of a temporary structure that can house 15 beds, 2 toilets, different entrances for patients and healthcare workers, an external testing box for doctors to test their patients without having to enter the facility. Even more impressive is that an EQF can be built in 5 days, by only 18 to 20 people.

Additionally, the plans for building the EQF are open-sourced, which means that the plans are available to anyone. WTA’s Principal Architect, William Ti, says, “Because the Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands [...] the best way to reach the other islands was by making the plans open source and then forming like a technical working group to help them out.”

Plans for EQF have also been adapted in countries like Singapore, which allowed them to set up an additional 3,000 beds.

Other finalists for the prize are Nairobi-based engineer Nzambi Matee, who fabricated a machine that repurposes plastic into blocks stronger than concrete, and an off-campus program run by students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio dedicated to building homes and giving them away to those most in need of shelter in West Alabama, USA.

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