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?Retail is like theater-you need to breathe new life into it every 10 years or so?
FESTIVAL SUPERMALL, the 20-hectare shopping complex in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, renews ties with award-winning global architecture/planning/ design firm RTKL for a major expansion. This is set to fortify its position as the retail and recreation center south of Metro Manila.

RTKL is behind major retail projects such as The Venetian in Macau, the Bahrain City Center, the Mirdif City Center in Dubai, Chadstone West Mall and Chadstone Place in Melbourne, Australia, and the Westfield San Francisco Center in California.

The firm designed Festival Supermall in the ?90s. The mall?s expansion plan begins in the last quarter of 2011.

?Retail is like theater?you need to breathe new life into it every 10 years or so,? says Norman Garden, AIA, executive vice president of RTKL. ?Competition will always force you to reinvent so you can offer something fresh and new to the customers.?

Nature

The four-story Festival Supermall, with over 700 choices in shops and food outlets, draws an average foot traffic of 100,000 a day. With a family entertainment concept, Festival Supermall has an entertainment area as anchor for each floor: the Festival Junction Train, the Grand Carousel, Pixie Forest kiddie theme park, X-Site teen amusement center and a 10-theater cinema complex.

With the mall expansion, RTKL shifts anchor from entertainment districts to the area?s most prominent natural feature: the Alabang Creek, which runs through the complex.

?Now that consumer lifestyle has evolved, we are expanding Festival Supermall to an indoor-outdoor experience that capitalizes on the assets of the creek,? reveals Garden.

The expansion mall will add three districts: the Festival Walk, , the River Park and the Water Gardens .

Festival Walk, the main connection to the transit hub, will be a walkway of grab-and-go kiosks, with state-of-the-art light features, paving details and potted landscape.

The River Park will be built on the Alabang Creek waterline to accommodate boating activities. An amphitheater area will be developed for open-air events.

The Water Gardens will have outdoor plazas with gardens, cascading water gardens and fountains, al fresco dining, and a three-story mall. ?An existing acacia tree will be preserved, becoming an iconic landmark with its impressive size, as it towers above the river and even the buildings, so naturally this tree will be a destination unto itself,? Garden stressed.

The expansion mall will also incorporate existing architecture pieces in the area. A façade of an old DOH research facility will be restored as part of the mall. The building has an Art Deco façade. An old statue, a replica of José Rizal?s sculpture ?The Triumph of Science over Death,? is in the courtyard, to be incorporated in RTKL?s design.

Sustainable

The expansion follows the trend in sustainable design. Garden points out that then and now, Filinvest Corporate City (FCC) has always been a nature-oriented development.

?Filinvest has always been committed to preserving the natural resources in the area, hence the new structures are more of a soft entry into the land, sliding right into what the terrain allows,? Garden says.

Because the Alabang Creek is a central element in the design, Filinvest is looking into bioremediation for the water in preparation for the expansion development, as well as the installation of a monitoring system for the water levels.

?The design takes into account extreme rainfall and flooding conditions, even projecting the water level for 10 years,? assures Garden

RTKL also incorporates design solutions that maximize sunlight, ventilation, and flexibility.

?The buildings are oriented in such a way that they obtain maximum daylight,? says RTKL principal Rodel Manalang, a Filipino architect in the project. ?We are using clerestories instead of skylights so the bounced light comes in while preventing direct heat gain.?

Creating an interplay of outdoor activities, Filinvest has devoted 1.5 hectares to park space that transitions easily from daytime to night time use.

?Landscaping will be naturalized, taming down the existing greenery and relocating trees, grasses and heavy drifts of plant material. The look is outdoorsy but not manicured.?

Manalang adds. ?Trellis devices and canopies will also be set up across the outdoor areas as protection from the noontime sun and heavy rains.?