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Filipino Architecture may not be globally popular yet, but it is not far off in the evolving structural design industry. Our bahay kubo has come a long way with architects in the Philippines showcasing their talent in the contemporary designs seen on churches, theaters, schools, and a lot of other structures. Even if you haven’t heard of Filipino architecture before, I can bet it is not a first for you if I start singing “Bahay namin…maliit lamang…” Rings a bell? Yes? Then let me introduce Filipino architecture using the words of this catchy Eraserheads song.

 

Bahay namin…maliit lamang

The traditional Filipino house, bahay kubo, is usually made of indigenous materials such as nipa, bamboo, wood, and grass. It also characterizes the Filipino tradition, bayanihan. The house can be transported from one place to another, and this is done by people helping each other out and carrying the entire house to the new location. This humble shelter is made of stilts to keep water from reaching the house and its huge windows allow natural light and sufficient ventilation. Architects in the Philippines were descendants of these ingenious people who built sustainable and functional houses.

 

Kumain man kami’y laging sama-sama

Let me introduce the people on the table who served our country with remarkable architectural structures:

 

Leandro Locsin, the Poet of Space

                Creations: Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippine International Convention Center

Ildefonso Santos

                Creations: San Miguel Corporation Building, Nayong Pilipino, Paco Park

Pablo Antonio, the Pioneer of Modern Filipino Architecture

                Creations: Manila Polo Club, The Far Eastern University

Juan Nakpil

                Creations: University of the Philippines Theater and Carillon Tower, San Carlos Seminary

Francisco Mañosa

                Creations: Pearl Farm Resorts, EDSA Shrine

 

This list of famous architects in the Philippines will surely have additions in the coming years.

Kahit namomroblema, basta’t kami ay magkasama

The Philippines have faced (and is still going through) many economic challenges, and this does not hinder Filipino talent from growing and developing further. One of the effects of being colonized for a long period by different countries is our people’s extensive knowledge about different cultures and artistic influences. This makes Filipino architecture more interesting and flexible. Modern architects in the Philippines have now started to push for more eco-friendly designs that aim to address environmental issues along with other architects around the globe.

 

They try to tell us we’re too young…

Filipino architecture is not too young to keep up with international competition. The earthquake-resistance of the University of Santo Tomas main building (first in the country), the fortress-style Brutalist PICC, the “floating” effect of the CCP National Theater, the Banaue rice terraces-inspired San Miguel Corporation building, and the amorphic form of the Mind Museum are just a few examples of how promising architects in the Philippines have become.

 

Like the famed Toyang of Eraserheads, we can anticipate that more people will be hearing about Filipino architecture in the near future.