Iconic skycrapers soon to rise in Cebu

Carlo Lorenciana

CEBU’s building boom will soon see the rise of iconic skyscrapers designed by global architectural firms.

Paris-based Vincent Callebaut Architectures is behind the design of The Rainbow Tree, a green building development soon to rise at the 50-hectare Cebu Business Park (CBP).

This 32-story, 115-meter high “organic” residential tower will rise at the corner of Samar Loop and Cardinal Rosales Avenue.

The project is named as such because it is an ode to Eucalyptus Deglupta, also known as Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree in the Philippines.

According to Vincent Callebaut, the building structure will be made of solid wood, as “it is the only natural, abundant and renewable material,” citing it as a radical solution to cut the global carbon footprint.

“This organic tower integrates the principles of passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies,” it said, noting the tower will also be adorned with the most beautiful plant essences from the neighboring tropical forests.

Burj Khalifa’s designer

Moreover, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the designer of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, is also reportedly tying up with Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) for a new project at the CBP.

While CLI hasn’t made an official announcement on the partnership yet, the site of the project, now cordoned with construction tarpaulins, bears the name logo of SOM.

CLI chief operating officer Franco Soberano said the groundbreaking for the project located beside Seda Hotel Ayala Center Cebu is eyed in May or June this year.

“We are also excited to build this icon for Cebu, and hoping it will be a great symbol for Cebu’s progress and being a global city,” he said.

In its Dec. 9, 2019 disclosure, CLI said it is building a mixed-use community with hotel, office and retail components in a prime CBP lot adjacent to Ayala Center Cebu.

CLI holds a 43-year lease contract for the vacant lot which is one of the last remaining undeveloped lots in the most prime business hub in the city.

Joey Bondoc, senior research manager at Colliers International Philippines, said homegrown firms partnering with global brands has now become a trend in Cebu.

He attributed this to the increasing competition and expensive land values, pushing developers to build “premium” projects.

“So now developers want to build projects that are premium,” he told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.

He added these projects give “excitement” to the market.

In recent years, developers have partnered with global players to bring world-class projects to Cebu.

These architectural masterpieces come at a time as Cebu moves higher as a hub for design.

In October 2019, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization hailed Cebu as a “Creative City for Design” for its innovation in the field of fashion, architecture and the production of eco-responsible furniture.