AECOM is a renowned American architecture firm that offers building services from the beginning to the completion of a project’s development. They provide specialised knowledge in economics, cost consultancy, sustainability, landscape architecture, building engineering, interior design, and workplace planning. Their teams of architects, interior designers, and landscape designers have produced enduring, award-winning work that enhances their clients’ communities and commercial performance. Since its foundation in 1990, AECOM has continuously been rated as one of the best A/E businesses in the world. They put quality, creativity, and ethical solutions first. At BCI Asia’s Top 10 Awards, AECOM was recognised as one of the BCI Asia Top 10 Architects for 2019. They are a reputable partner for Fortune 100 firms and international governmental organisations. Their projects include designing and constructing some of the most complex and exciting projects, including the Rio 2016 Olympic Park, the London 2012 Olympic Park and Legacy Framework, industrial facilities for Coca-Cola, campuses for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and multiple buildings for NASA.

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The four pillars symbolise the four pillars of

Background of the Project:

In the Philippines, Seven historic buildings have served as the Senate’s home over the 101 years since its inaugural meeting. However, it has been forced to lease its “home” in the Government Service Insurance System compound in Pasay City since May 1996, for which the Senate signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to purchase a suitable property to realise this ambition. Building a new home that embodies the values of a democratic legislature, relives the great lessons of history, and displays the dignity of this independent institution is how the Senate of the Philippines wanted to celebrate its 100-year heritage. 

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Old Senate Building_@Judgefloro

On February 14, 2018, the Senate and the BCDA started a worldwide competition for the next Philippine Senate building. The BCDA encouraged technically qualified firms to participate in designing the new Senate building to pave the way for the building phase of this project. 

The “New Senate” building, known as “Bagong Senado” in Filipino, was to be judged on its iconic and distinctive architecture, constructability and practicality, sustainable and green design, usefulness, and security. 

The Navy Village in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, was chosen to be home to the New Senate Building. The site area is 18,320 square meters (sq.m) in size, and in accordance with BCDA’s master development plan, the land use must include at least 20% open space of the total lot area, including a 1,135 square meter open public space in the centre of the site.

The BCDA finally chose AECOM’s winning design as the one that “best embodies the honour, dignity, and legacy of this independent institution” out of the forty entries that were eventually reduced to five teams. In an interview, the recently elected Senate President, Senator Miguel Zubiri, expressed his optimism that the New Senate building’s construction will be completed by 2024. 

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The green roof and terraces enhance the building’s relationship with the surrounding park._@

Reflecting the Rich Traditions:

The concept cites the sun on the Filipino national flag as an inspiration. The structure will have four connected, elegant, ultramodern buildings which symbolise the four pillars of democracy, namely justice, equality, freedom, and representation. The periphery of the tower provides vehicular and pedestrian access. The greenbelt and circulation access split the building into four parts. The session hall is located in the middle of these structures, which are formed like the sun’s rays creating four plazas along the two main axes of the project. The functional interrelationship can be seen between the four towers as they are used for office space, whereas in the middle lies a session hall. The session hall is connected to the four towers and their outdoor terraces. The green roof and terraces enhance the building’s relationship with the surrounding park. 

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Four plazas are created along the two main axes of the
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The facade of the building is inspired by the barong tagalog

The Barong Tagalog is a formal shirt often worn by men in the Philippines for special occasions. It is typically made of lightweight, sheer fabric embroidered with intricate designs and patterns. The building facade has brise soleil inspired by the Barong Tagalog costume, a national dress of the Philippines, incorporating elements of the traditional garment into the design of the exterior walls and sunshades. The building facade is visually striking and full of cultural significance, reflecting the rich traditions of the Philippines.

The Senate function floor has amenities like a dignitaries lounge, senator lounge, ceremonial hall, and session hall. The staff amenities include a library and archives, committee room, staff canteen, clinic, and gym. The public hall has Public floor has a public assistance office, food court, auditorium, museum, and a viewing gallery overlooking the session hall. 

A Symbol of Sustainability:

AECOM’s design prioritises the comfort of the building’s occupants while minimising its environmental impact and energy consumption with its use of solar shading, cross ventilation, smart controls, low e-insulated glazing, led lighting, and efficient lighting cooling equipment. The design also incorporates efficient water fixtures, rainwater collection, greywater, and condensation recovery to minimise water consumption. Indigenous plant species that are well adapted to the local environmental conditions and typically require less water and maintenance than non-native species are incorporated into the landscape to reduce the need for chemical inputs and promote sustainability. Besides this, AECOM has also included environmentally friendly materials, FSC-certified wood, locally sourced materials, low VOC finishes, and construction waste management that prioritises the health and well-being of its occupants.

The public hall has a viewing gallery overlooking the central

A Representation of the Senate:

The senate building designed by AECOM is a testament to the commitment of the Senate of the Philippines to sustainable principles and the well-being of its occupants and the wider community. From its environmentally friendly materials to its sustainable features, the building is a model of responsibility. But the building is more than just a model of sustainability; it is also a representation of the Senate itself, a symbol of its values and role in shaping the future of the Philippines. With its iconic design and enduring materials, the building is destined to become a monument for the Filipino people, a testament to the strength and resilience of the nation. As the Senate of the Philippines looks towards its next 100 years, the building designed by AECOM will be a beacon of hope and inspiration, guiding the way forward as the nation navigates future challenges.

References List:

  • AECOM wins design competition for new Senate building, Bluprint. Available at: [Accessed: December 14, 2022]
  • Bagong Senado New Senate Building, AECOM. Available at:  [Accessed: December 14, 2022]
  • Bagong Senado. (2018). Bagong Senado Entry C | AECOM. [YouTube video]. Available at: [Accessed December 14, 2022].

Currently in her 4th year of Architecture at IIT Roorkee, Avantika believes that architecture is a tool for meeting people’s aspirations and providing them with better experiences. When coupled with design thinking, architecture and research have the potential to enrich our societies and have a constructive impact. Creating socially, culturally, and environmentally sustainable spaces is what architecture means to her. Her experience as an architecture student has shifted her world view and taught her to be more observant and empathetic.