The towering St. Francis Shangri-La Place is currently the tallest residential development project in the Philippines today. The architectural landmark has two 60-floor towers and stands at 212.88 meters in a 6,172-square-meter lot located in the Shangri-La Place integrated community at the heart of Ortigas Center, adjacent to the Shangri-La Plaza mall and the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.
The high-rise condominium is specifically located on Shaw Boulevard corner St. Francis Street, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. The condominium is directly linked by walkways to the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel and has covered access to Shangri-La Plaza Mall, which in turn provides easy access to the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).The district where St. Francis Shangri-La Place is located is known as the Ortigas Business Center, home of the San Miguel Corporation, Asian Development Bank, Meralco and the Philippine Stock Exchange. Nearby facilities include the New Medical City Hospital and the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club. Several of the countrys top schools are right nearbySt. Paul College Pasig, St. Pedro Poveda College, University of Asia and the Pacific, La Salle Green Hills, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, Immaculate Concepcion Academy, and Xavier School. The district also is home to several high-end business establishments, malls, and other high-rise condominiums.
St. Francis Shangri-La Placebroke ground in 2005 and was completed in 2009 at a cost of around P5 billion. The high-rise condominium’s interiors are spacious and feature large windows, high ceilings and individual balconies. The condominium houses studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with a floor-to-ceiling height of 2.9 meters. The three topmost floors were allocated for eight tri-level penthouse units with a floor area ranging from 510 to 650 square meters. Each penthouse unit has its own garden and private infinity pool.
St. Francis Shangri-La Place was developed by The Shang Grand Tower Corporation, a subsidiary of Shang Properties, the real-estate development arm of the Kuok Group in the Philippines. St. Francis Shangri-La Place is the second residential project of Shang Properties, after the P2-billion, 46-story Shang Grand Tower in Makati City. The Kuok Group’s other development projects include The Enterprise Center in the Philippines, and the Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and other luxury development projects in Asia.
The Kuok Group of Companies has 47 properties world-wide included in the property portfolio of Kerry Properties Ltd. In Beijing, China, HongKong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, Kuok Group of Companies has developed communities and high-rise condominiums par excellence.The St. Francis Shangri-La Place project was contracted by the EEI Corporation and the architectural design was done by Wong Tung International Ltd. in cooperation with Recio + Casas Architects. Structural engineering was done by Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd. in cooperation with Magnusson Klemencic Associates. The model units were interior designed by Brennan Beer Gorman Monk Interiors of New York.
St. Francis Shangri-La Place has 60 floors above-ground and five more floors below-ground. It has seven high-speed elevators to serve the high-rise condominium’s 1,200 units (600 units in each of its two towers). The high-rise condominium has seven podium parking levels and one basement parking level.It has a two-level clubhouse equipped with Wi-Fi and indoor and outdoor facilities for work and play. Built at a cost of over P200 million, the clubhouse also features a large and spacious 420-square-meter gym equipped with treadmills, cross trainers, recumbent and upright bikes and rowers, as well as hot and cold Jacuzzis, adult swimming pools, sauna and steam baths, male and female changing rooms and lockers, a billiard room and a karaoke room. There are also multi-purpose function rooms that can accommodate up to 150 people as well as play areas, a toddler’s room, and a small pool for kids. The high-rise condominium also provides an Internet center, a laundromat, and a 24-hour convenience store.
Groundbreaking for the towers were held on January 2005, months ahead of its official launching. Topping-off ceremonies were held on June 24, 2008, although at that point just one tower was actually topped-off. The two towers were completed and opened in 2009, taking away the title of the “tallest twin-towers in the Philippines” from Pacific Plaza Towers.
The construction of St. Francis Shangi-La Place took four years due to some issues with contractors, although these were eventually resolved and construction proceeded smoothly. Moreover, the high-rise condominium used modern damping technology which considerably lengthened the construction time.
The St. Francis Shangri-La Place is touted as the first building in the world to feature a revolutionary ‘damping’ system designed by international engineering company Ove Arup & Partners. The new system, which minimizes the standard wobble in high-rise buildings, employs the same technology used to strengthen the Millennium Bridge in London. This makes the St. Francis Shangri-La Place one of the safest buildings in the country.
The usual methods employed to strengthen buildings and high-rise condominiums are to reinforce these buildings with significant extra structure or to install tuned mass dampers. Both methods are not only expensive, but also make the building stiffer and heavier while consuming valuable space. The Arup solution works by inserting Viscous Dampers into the St. Francis Shangri-La Place structure to act as energy absorbers and damp out vibrations. Not only is this a lower-cost solution, it is also more sustainable as it uses less material, and leaves more valuable space inside the building.
It is a fact that all tall buildings sway sideways due to wind and other exterior forces. This movement is safe and expected. However, it needs to be controlled to maintain comfort inside the building. To do this, engineers make bigger columns and walls or install supplementary damping, which reduces the motion felt by residents in the same way as a cars suspension makes the trip more comfortable on rough roads. Dampers have been used successfully in some of the world’s most famous buildings. Many high-rise condominium buildings in California and Japan use dampers to control movement during earthquakes.
Reductions in the quantities of concrete and reinforcing steel in the St. Francis Shangri-La Place tower structure due to the incorporation of the Arup damping system and performance-based seismic design considerations saved the buildings developer more than $5 million in construction cost and allowed the developers more net floor space. St. Francis Shangri-La Place used 32 dampers in its construction and these were manufactured by FIP Industriale of Italy.
Prior to its official turnover, the St. Francis Shangri-La Place project encountered problems with contractors. As such, the turnover of some units were delayed for quite some time. The problems were sorted out eventually and the high-rise condominium’s units were eventually turned over to the owners without much delay.