Filipino Houses through Time

Leandro V. Locsin
April 14, 2008, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Leandro V. Locsin

Locsion, Leandro Valencia

Born: Silay, Negros Occidental. August 15, 1928.

National Artist in Architecture.

After finishing high school at the De La Salle College in Manila in 1947, Locsin enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, intending to pursue music as a career, although he was even then interested in architecture. In 1949 he dropped the bachelor of music course and enrolled at the UST School of Architecture. While an architecture student, he worked as an artist-draftsman at the Ayala Corporation which was the beginning the development of Makati. He graduated in 1953, and is one of the very few major architects who did not train abroad.

Before establishing his practice he designed stage sets for ballets and a musical. In 1954 Fr. John Delaney SJ, the UP Catholic chaplain, commissioned him to design the Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice at the UP Diliman campus. Completed in 1955, the building was remarkable for its circular plan and 3-inch-thich concrete-shell dome. Within the next four years he designed an apartment building, two office buildings and nine residences – a small number that nonetheless created an impact on the architectural scene.

Since beginning his practice, Locsin has produced 71 residences, 81 buildings, and 1 state palace. The major buildings include

· 9 churches and chapels,

· 17 government buildings,

· 4 apartment buildings,

· 6 hotels and

· more than 40 commercial buildings.

While his best-known works are located in Metro Manila he has designed building in Dagupan City, Cabanatuan, Batangas City, Naga, Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, Mandaue, Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis and Davao City.


Locsin’s major accomplishments include the buildings at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex (CCP) – the main building housing two theaters, a museum and art galleries, 1969; the Folk Arts Theater, 1974; the Philippine Center for International Trade and Exhibitions (PHILCITE), 1976; the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), 1976, and the Philippine Plaza Hotel, 1976.

Folk Arts Theater

His largest and most spectacular work to date is the Istana Nurul Iman (Palace of Religious Light), the palace of the Sultan of Brunei which has a total floor area of 200,000 sqm, a grand reception hall accommodating 5,000, a throne room with a capacity of 2,000, and two mosques crowned by dome plated with 22-carat gold. Malayan and Islamic motifs, modern lines, and the latest building technology blend in what has been hailed as the new Versailles.

Istana Nurul iman (Palace of Religious Light) - palace of the Sultan of Brunei Istana Nurul Iman (Palace of Religious Light)

With clean lines, strong masses, and daring structural design, Locsin’s buildings are strikingly modern and original. But touches of nostalgia, the use of traditional forms and patterns, and the sculptural character of space and structure give his work a romantic spirit.

In 1990 Locsin was named National Artist for Architecture. In 1992 he was elected chair of the newly created National Commission on Culture and Arts.


Leandro V. Locsin – “Young Man With Flair”
April 14, 2008, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Leandro V. Locsin

A man famous his title, “Young Man With Flair” is a young Filipino man named Leandro V. Locsin He is well known for his interior, architectural and artistic way of building his projects. A man known for his concrete floating volume and simplistic design such as the chapel of the Holy Sacrifice was one of his first projects. At present his largest and most spectacular work to date is the Istana Nurul Iman (Palace of Religious Light), which is now the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. Locsin has produced 71 residences, 81 buildings and 1 state palace. The major buildings include 9 churches and chapels, 17 government buildings, 4 apartment buildings, 6 hotels and more than 40 commercial buildings.

One of his major accomplishments include the buildings at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex 1969; the Folk Arts Theatre 1974; Philippine Center for International Trade and Exhibitions or PHILCUITE, 1976 and many more.

Because of his well profound and original ideas during 1990 Locsin was named National Artist for Architecture. In 1992 he was elected chair of the newly created National Commission on Culture and Arts.

Evolution of the Community
April 14, 2008, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Community

One of the more significant influences to the evolution of communities in the Philippines was the American colonial government’s drive to improve education as a preparation for democracy and self-government, communication and transportation as a means for improving the economy based on free enterprise and public health. The lasting legacy of American rule in the townscapes of the Philippines would be the schools, public markets, hospitals and municipals.

American administration laid the foundations of modern urban life characterized by mobility, the quick exchange of goods and ideas, technology and the combining of populated areas into one urban center. Though American rule was perceived by many as benevolent and beneficent, nationalists were strong in criticizing the abuses of the regime.

In the years following WW II, the Philippines underwent major reconstruction. War had destroyed the means of livelihood all over the country and rural folk were compelled to migrate to the large cities in their search for employment.

To meet the needs of a growing urban population, subdivisions started to appear. Early subdivisions like Singalong and Makati catered to the middle class while New Manila catered to the rich. These subdivisions were not complete communities yet and complete communities were not developed yet until the 1950’s. The first community-like subdivisions was developed by Philmalife Homes in Quezon City which had a church, a market, a community center, recreational facilities and other amenities. These types of subdivisions or better known today as villages mushroomed during the 1960 are to 1990’s.

Government efforts to provide housing and communities for the urban poor have always been inadequate. In spite of the Church and big businesses providing homes for their employees and the poor, the housing projects are below what is needed.

Pelaez Residence
April 14, 2008, 7:28 am
Filed under: Residences

This is the ancestral house of the prominent Pelaez family, which is a variation of the “bahay na bato”. This was the home of the former Vice President, Senator and Ambassador named Emmanuel Pelaez. This house is built mainly of wood, concrete and galvanized iron sheets, which were introduced by the American colonizers. The large floor to ceiling heights are like the original “bahay na bato”, but the configuration and slope of the roof are definitely 20th century, which were designed from more practical galvanized iron sheets.

The spacious 2nd floor interiors, bedroom walls are embellished by a series of elegant wood cutouts to allow the breeze to circulate in the house. The Pelaez ancestral house, a forged outcome of local and diverse external cultures, is a testament of the genteel Filipino lifestyle.

Social and Political Situation

The Japanese introduced a new cultural dimension. The Japanese wanted to eradicate all western influences and give the Filipinos a sense of nationalism. The Japanese wanted the Philippines to have collaboration with them which would ultimately lead to influence of the social and political life of the Philippines after WW II.

The relationship of the Philippines and the USA took a dive when after the war there was lack of postwar foreign aid, especially compared to the aid former enemies were given such as Japan and Germany. This was so because when the Americans “helped” the Philippines it was obvious that the Americans still had their own interests in mind. Feeling let down and betrayed by the Americans, the Filipinos became eager participants in the ASEAN.

Originally the vacation house of Rodolfo Neri-Pelaez and Elsa Pelaez, founders of Liceo de Cagayan University, it became their permanent residence in 1976.  By 1997 it was converted into a museum.  The museum showcases the Pelaez family heirlooms and memorabilia.  Antique chinese jars and wares from various Chinese dynasties are on display.

Laya-Ubaldo House
April 14, 2008, 7:27 am
Filed under: Residences

The Laya-ubaldo house is an enlarged version of tsalet which was a trademark of middle-class living during the time it was built. It is a 2 story wood and concrete structure that has a grand staircase in front of the house to lead to a canopy. Also at the front of the house there is a porch that is covered with an iron grille. There is also a canopy that is extended over the porch to protect it from rain and sunlight.

Functionality and simplicity were the importance in the styles of houses during this period. This structure however is somewhat different from the “bahay na bato” and “bahay kubo” because there are bed rooms in the first floor as well as the second floor. Because the building is simply built, it makes it easy to maintain. General areas of the house are well ventilated. This house was uses as quarters for visiting government officials during the Philippine Commonwealth period and as the office of the Ministry of tourism in the 1970’s.

<pics to follow :P>

Museum of the Filipino People (Finance Building) – Manila
April 14, 2008, 7:26 am
Filed under: Residences

The Finance building is an architectural monument designed by architect Antonio Toledo in the classical style, which was in vogue for government building in the late 1930s. The building designed with interiors of generous ceiling height around a spacious central court. Corinthian colonnades and neoclassic details are consistently found throughout the interiors. The central court allows the flow of air within the building. Even without the aid of air conditioners, the temperature in the building is pleasant.

The building was originally constructed for the Dept. of Finance a mirror-image image building, originally intended for the Dept. of Agriculture, now houses the Dept. of Tourism. The two buildings face a rotunda in the Rizal Park known as the Agrifina Circle. This ensemble of neoclassic-inspired buildings is composed of the few structures that survived the ravages of WWII in Manila. The Finance building was renovated in the late 1990s and established as the Museum of the Filipino People.

Old Post Office Building – Camarines Sur
April 14, 2008, 7:25 am
Filed under: Residences

The Post Office building in Libmanan, Camarines Sur is an excellent piece of architecture. Even in its present deteriorated condition, the small building still reflects the outstanding skill of the architect who gave it as such importance as a structure of a more significant size. The graceful cantilevered entrance canopies are a perfect foil for what would have been an ordinary quarto aguas roof. The canopies hang from the wall with iron chains and are elegantly supported by wrought-iron brackets. The rectangular windows veiled with crosshatched wrought-iron grilles crowned with curvilinear motif temper the rhythm of the arched openings around the building.

Civic structures built during the American colonial period that were not heavily damaged during the WWII should be seriously considered for restoration. There are a lot of these civic structures in the provinces that are still functional such as schoolhouses, train stations, municipal halls and provincial capitols. Instead of building new ones of substantial materials, the government should consider repairing these building of durable and historical material.

<pictures to follow 🙂 >