Foundation University

To be a dynamic, progressive school that cultivates effective learning, generates creative ideas, responds to societal needs and offers equal opportunity for all. In its quest for excellence in mind, body and character and the pursuit of truth and freedom, Foundation University commits itself to: develop students of sound character and broad culture; prepare students for a definite career; imbue students with the spirit of universal brotherhood; and advocate truth, promote justice and advance knowledge.
Jun 11, 2014

A tale of two buildings

Building turnover
Building turnover
A tale of 2 buildings


SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…

I recently had the great fortune of getting to revisit Dumaguete with my husband. The occasion of our return was to celebrate the inauguration of Estudio Damgo’s second community building: A Multi-purpose building for the resettled community in Bajumpandan.

Estudio Damgo is a design-build studio for senior architect students at Foundation University. As one of the original founders of Estudio Damgo, my husband Ray Villanueva was eager to greet his former students and evaluate their work as seniors under the excellent tutelage of Anna Koosmann.

We were not disappointed. The building soared above its neighbors, providing a picturesque landmark for the humble settlement. The students had chosen to work with local materials (largely donated) – bamboo, brick and tile – beautifully finished. We arrived just as the sun was bearing down, but the interior was cool and well-lit with diffuse, natural light.

It was the best of times.

And then I learned that this, in fact, was not the original site that was planned for the building. As it turns out, the students had initiated their work with the neighboring settlement. Student architects were required to make decisions based on a series of meetings with community leaders and designated representatives.

The final design was not only an elegant solution that carefully balanced all the variables; it was the result of a collaborative process in which the entire community had a voice and could take ownership in.

Unfortunately, just as they were ready to begin construction, there was a change of heart. The landowner did not offer support for the student’s design. They had decided what the building should look like, and would not entertain any new ideas.

And as it turns out – they had funding – so they went ahead and built their predetermined design.

It could have been the worst of times.

Thank goodness, the project was saved by the quick action of Dumaguete city leaders who supported Estudio Damgo and the student’s original design. These leaders made it possible for the project to move to the neighboring settlement (so that residents will still get access to the building they had helped design) without too much delay, so that the students could still meet their construction deadline (graduation!).
Of course, our friends and supporters at Global Giving have also been faithful with their love gifts, enabling the project to move at a faster pace, before the onset of the rainy season.

And now there stand TWO multi-purpose buildings in Bajumpandan.

And if you’ve ever wondered about the true value of architecture – these two buildings built nearly side-by-side for the same purpose – are a radical example of what happens when you chose to build by design, rather than by carbon copy.

I invite you to make a visit for yourself! We came all the way from Seattle, and it was worth every penny.

Hats off to the graduating students of Estudio Damgo II and their instructors – you are already making a positive difference in your community – and I am confident that it is only the beginning.

P.S. Keep an eye out for Estudio Damgo III next school year. Community discussions underway.

Amy Villanueva
children at play
children at play
Mar 26, 2014

The Final Weeks of Estudio Damgo

Estudio Damgo Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Estudio Damgo Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

With only six weeks left until graduation, the Estudio Damgo team was able to shape up and make a lot of progress shrinking the gap in the construction schedule; from four weeks behind, to two weeks. The biggest tasks on site were finalizing the bamboo truss and roof framing and securing all the joints. The bamboo purlins were also fully installed. The structure was getting fastened with bamboo pegs, nylon, and non-slip epoxy at all the joints. After completing all the work, the team tied all the joints with rattan for additional strength and for aesthetics. Other works included filling in grout at the brick wall and welding and painting steel doorframes for the folding doors.

The students and FU workers were doing their best to get the building complete in time. They worked over time 7 days a week. The multipurpose has 100% of the bamboo roof structure and the GI Sheet roof is about halfway installed, two weeks before graduation. There are nearly 300 bamboo joints that needed to be tied with rattan or "uway" to cover the epoxy. And though it takes a lot of time to tie just one joint, the team doubled their work force and many tasks had been worked on simultaneously.

Wrapping it all up, the final week marked the week before graduation, March 22, 2014. Finishes were major priority: Bamboo structure is getting its final clear coat, black enamel paint finish at metal frames, and finish paint at the concrete walls. Electrical is being installed. Plumbing fixtures are finally in and CR tiles are grouted. It's getting there. Students are happy to see the light at the end of this tunnel. 

It has been amazing to see the progress at the multipurpose hall for the past few weeks. Thanks to the number of volunteers from Entheos IT and the Office of Administration, the long wait is finally over.

Jan 6, 2014

Estudio Damgo II: Foundations

After all the rainy weather....
After all the rainy weather....

It's been over three months since we started construction in September. We are two weeks behind schedule due to typhoon season. Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ripped through the Central Visayas on November 8. The islands located Northeast of Dumaguete (Leyte Island and Tacloban City) were hit the hardest. Dumaguete was fortunate to receive little damage from wind, rain, or floods. However, Haiyan set a tone for weather as the weeks continued with heavy rains.

On site, the students and workers managed to pump the water from the footing trenches, pedestals, and the septic tank. Lately, the weather has been drier and we're able to make more progress on the concrete foundation work. Meanwhile, we're treating bamboo with a solution of pesticide, kerosene, and diesel mixture.

We are only 1 week behind schedule from our estimate on pouring the slab on grade concrete floor. This is great news! There was much preparation for this monumental day: securing 50 sacks of cement, 100 sacks of sand, 150 sacks of gravel, tying re-bar matting, tamping the soil and soil poisoning. By Saturday we had everything prepped and ready with four volunteers from Sir Marlon Tanilon's engineering class. At the end of the day on Saturday, the slab was about 2/3 poured.

Additional progress on the clay block walls at the CR and Storage Room are piling high. The building is starting to take form and we continue to move forward.

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