Balani Place, stemming from the traditional translation of the suburb name ‘Macabalan’ - or ‘magnet’, is a community hub for the residents and visitors of the oldest slum in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines.
A slum is the product of an urban city centre that has grown much faster than it can accommodate, leaving behind the poorest of society. However, slums are not places of despair - the inhabitants are all striving for a better life. What architecture can provide for these places are opportunities for social and cultural developments, and a sense of civic pride.
First established in the Post-WWII period, the aged slums of Macabalan have previously received upgrades to its infrastructure, but have yet to see an upgrade in its community facilities, inherently halting the suburb’s ability in social and cultural growth. This project aims to highlight the importance of public urban space within slums - spaces for learning, playing, and socialising, the essentials of human health and happiness, and a stepping stone to greater opportunities.