Finch Buildings update 3

Since the last update the emphasis was on further developing the design. The results from the observations and interviews were input for this process. Furthermore, a more extensive research into implementation and materials has been conducted.


Mr. Angel Cruz, former mayor of Hagonoy, invited us to join a meeting of all municipalities in the delta that have problems with floods. During this meeting flood prevention was the main objective. Finch Philippines can contribute by making a design that tackles flood damage and multiple other problems.

After this meeting the mayor of Malolos, a board member of the province and a manager of the Development Bank provided information about implementation and shared their enthusiasm about the Finch Philippines project.

Not only improving the quality of housing should be a priority in the design, also preventing floods, reducing groundwater usage, preventing squatting and enhancing awareness of sustainable living. These five topics are taken as input, and influence the overall design.

Bad housing quality

The houses of the less fortunate citizens of Hagonoy are of low quality. The houses are built with found materials and constructed by the owners themselves. This results in unsafe houses, which are mostly dark, dirty and wet. The locations of the houses contribute to this problem. They are either built on a small lot surrounded by other buildings or illegally on the riverside. The quality of the houses further diminishes because of lack of maintenance.

A designed house that is constructed by professionals provides the solution for this problem. The Dutch Finch module is therefore translated to a Filipino version. The modular size will be smaller, because of transportability and the lack of construction equipment. The module will be made with modular frames. The quality of the frames can be controlled because they are prefabricated. Maintenance of the homes can be guaranteed by a corporation, which is part of the business plan.

Daily floods

Every day the high tide causes parts of Hagonoy to be flooded. For some citizens this means their houses are every day completely flooded. While visiting some houses this was personally experienced. It is hard to accept that this is the daily reality of the inhabitants.

A floating home, a home on stilts or an amphibious house are all solutions for this problem. The Netherlands learned to live with water and became an expert. Living on water is one of the solutions in the Netherland. This can work as well in Hagonoy. There are multiple examples of affordable floating homes in other parts of the world. A floating Finch module is therefore a feasible solution.

Ground subsidence

Due to the overuse of groundwater, the aquifers are depleted and the ground is subsiding fast. An engineer from TU Delft did research in flood prevention in Hagonoy. He concluded that ground subsidence is the main contributor to the flood problems.

Through circular water management and responsible use of groundwater, the usage can be reduced. Even replenishing groundwater is possible. This is incorporated in the design.


The fast growing population causes many problems to increase. More groundwater is used and more space is used for living. As a result of the lack of space, people start to build on the river. Therefore the river is getting narrower and the water can’t flow out. This increases the damage caused by the floods.

Resettlement of squatters is a solution for this problem. There are many unused fishponds; these could be used for floating houses. Resettlement can therefore be close to their former homes instead of dozens of kilometres away, like it happens now. Besides can stacked living increase the density, so less surface area is needed to house people.

Furthermore does overpopulation cause the schools to be overfull. Classrooms are used by twice the amount of students than it was designed for, resulting in a bad learning environment.

The design of Finch Philippines can also provide a solution for this problem by making floating classrooms, which are stackable and expandable to adapt to the needs.

Sea level rise

A worldwide problem is climate change. Hagonoy is also a contributor, because of irresponsible use of materials, fossil fuels and extreme pollution.

Homes build with sustainable and durable materials are a solution in combination with making use of sustainable sources for energy.


Sustainable forest management in the Philippines is a complex topic. Because of the political situation there are currently no sustainable managed forests. Besides, the low quality of the infrastructure in the country cause high transportation costs, making it unable to compete with other countries. Therefore importing timber from other South-East Asian countries is for now a better choice. When choosing a timber species it is important that this species in the future can be harvested in the Philippines. There are however some initiatives promoting sustainable bamboo.