Horizon Manila: Winner of the 2021 WAFX Award from the WTA Architecture and Design Studio

WAFX Awards

We’re all still a little giddy in the studio after winning the WAFX Award this week. Everything is so surreal.

It is so difficult to validate ideas in architecture, especially for a project as vast as an urban plan. More than anything else, this award allows us to better develop and strengthen the ideas we came up with in Horizon and develop them further as we work on other projects.

The WAFX Award heralds the world’s most cutting-edge architectural concepts and is awarded to future projects that identify key challenges that architects will face in the years to come. Horizon Manila by WTA Architecture and Design Studio is the overall winner of the 2021 WAFX Prize at the 2021 World Architecture Festival after winning the WAFX Water category for the first time.


Horizon Manila is a 419 ha reclamation project in Manila Bay. It’s about finding space for 150,000 Manileños in the geographic and political heart of our country. It will increase the open public space available in the city by more than 50% and provide nearly 20 km of riverside living. It’s an incredible opportunity to reimagine what Manila can be in the future.

We’ve introduced geography to this pristine site by creating three islands connected by a canal park that serves as the center of the Urban Valley, which is the setting for Horizon’s various communities.


We wanted to simultaneously develop 28 diverse communities that mirror the barangays, which are the building blocks of our country. We wanted to complete this ecosystem of neighborhoods by inserting urban facilities and public spaces. We are creating new neighborhoods that develop around botanical gardens and museums, theaters and shopping streets.

The main fabric or framework of this blueprint concerns the various social interactions that lead to the growth of small hyperlocal communities. This is the solution we offer to develop and manage a megacity like Metro Manila. This creates a sort of more digestible, almost pixelated urbanity. Where each pixel serves as a hyperlocal barangay that offers a mix of typologies and uses centered around a common ground.

Master plan

Planning a city for the 21st century is about developing more organic communities. It is a very human and social environment. Each of Horizon’s 28 communities will have its own vectors of growth, different centers of gravity and different intensities of development. They are not only designed to grow individually, but also form an urbanistic relationship as we would find in any healthy ecosystem and generate faster and more balanced growth.

WAFX Awards

Human environment

We try to build human environments that will not only privilege social interactions, but also enhance mobility. We are building a city where you are always 400 meters from the nearest tram or ferry station and anywhere in the three islands is always only 15 minutes away.

This is done with three large intersecting road loops, formed by tree-lined sidewalks and bike paths, arcaded walkways, and a tram line that connects the islands. More than half of Horizon’s cityscape will be primarily pedestrian.

city ​​of tomorrow

We named this project Manileño to emphasize the focus on our employees. Cities are about people. The future is about building strong communities. Our communities are all about life – life by the water, life in our beautiful city of Manila.

We invite everyone to join in our explorations of the human environment. Join us on Instagram @wtadesignstudio and @entrari

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Joseph E. Golightly