Bright, spacious, pleasant, clean and well-ventilated. That’s the definition of our Tagalog word “maaliwalas” when we’re talking about space. If the language we use have power over our spatial behavior as Edward Hall said, are we harnessing this concept into our modern spaces? I sure hope so! I can be a bit biased since I’m claustrophobic. I really dislike small, dark places without openings.
Come to think of it, the word is a sustainable concept in itself promoting natural light and ventilation with efficient spatial planning.
What about small spaces? It can still happen with a lot of rethinking of what is possible. Smaller still? There are a lot of ways to make a space fit the parameters of “maaliwalas.” Townhouses, rowhouses and even condo units should be able to breathe. Sadly not a lot of these innovations can be utilized with all these factors: cost, torrential rain, limited space, setback requirements (building codes) and security issues.
The true test of it all: withstand the heat, calamities and years in a tropical setting. There’s a reason why tradition should never be out of the equation towards innovation. The term “maaliwalas” should always be imprinted on each space we do. Not only that it is bright but it is also airy. Always remember that the Filipino perception of space is not only bound by walls.
Light and space: does it really matter? To us it does.