What makes a space Filipino?

One of my main frustrations is hearing the sentence: There is no such thing as Filipino Architecture. Architecture and the use of space (even interior space) is more than what meets the eye. It is not usually in the facade or in the ornamentation.

Architectural Vocabulary and Identity is not a stagnant thing. It evolves and grows with the times. This means that all our influences (be it Pre-colonial, Spanish or American ++) contribute to our existing knowledge in design and construction methods.

Quezon City, Philippines

Is our national insatiable taste for Western design going to satisfy the spatial needs of the Filipino? Inside those houses, we’d still find traces of the Filipino culture in space planning, furniture, use of space and many many more. Colonial Mentality is a part of our Filipino Culture no matter how pretentious it is.

Image by Ar. Carlo Sayco

Structures built for the Filipino in the Philippines: sensitivity to climate, topography and disaster. The architecture put in a place is a structure built to exist with the elements. The tropical weather of intense heat and rain were taken into consideration no matter how modern-looking some structures are. Monumental architecture were placed to cultivate National Identity especially during the Marcos Era.

Modern structures: how Filipino is it? With the rise of globalization and international standards, how can our local designers transmit culture? As long as it is built for and (even partially) by the Filipino, it is Filipino. Own it, embrace it and make it richer.

Learn from the old and move forward.

4 thoughts on “What makes a space Filipino?

  1. Agree. The culture mix that we have is even unique to us alone. We bring the Filipino element EVERYWHERE we go (I’m thinking about those huge wooden forks and spoons in dining rooms), it’s absurd that people think there’s no such thing.:)

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