Filipino Houses through Time


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 :) >



Post Office Building – Philippine Postal Corporation Main Building – Manila
April 14, 2008, 7:24 am
Filed under: Residences

The main building of t he Philippine Postal Corporation, so named by Republic Act 7354 in 1992, is one of the best examples of the neoclassical style, in vogue for government structures during the Commonwealth period. Architect Juan Arellano designed the grand, elegantly proportioned reinforced concrete structure. It was in complete mastery of visual effect of the building from all points of the city center. Located around the Plaza Lawton, McArthur Bridge, Jones Bridge, the Escolta are the Pasig River. The Post Office was crafted with a keen sensitivity to the visual impact of the building site. The mastery of neo-calssical medium is best appreciated when the building is bathed in the golden afternoon Philippine sunlight and reflected in the waters of the Pasig River. The main pedestrian approach is a set of concrete steps that terminates in an awesome row of fourteen grand lonic columns. These columns slightly project off the façade, creating a framed effect.

The building continues to be used as the main post office of the country, but the cavernous interior is in need of major renovation and technical upgrading to accommodate the increased requirements of postal system. The first postal office in Manila was established in 1767; it eventually became a postal district of Spain and a member of the Universal Postal Union. With the takeover of the American colonial government, it became a bureau of Dept. of Trade but suffered the same tragic fate as that of the many beautiful buildings of Manila during WWII. But repair and reconstruction was immediately effected in 1946. The postal office was placed under the Dept. of Transportation and Communication and named the Postal Service Office 1987. Architecturally, the Philippine Post Office was one of a series of civic structures that symbolized the takeover of Imperial America of the Chino-Hispanic influence in construction.



Gota De Leche – Manila
April 14, 2008, 7:23 am
Filed under: Residences
  • Built to adhere the needs of the La Proteccion de la Infancia Inc. that is an outreach organization for the protection of infants from sickness through the distribution of fresh milks. A philanthropist Teodoro R. Yangco founded the organization in 1907. Architects Arcadio Arellano and Juan Arellano, based from the design of Osepedale Degli Innocenti, designed the original structure, an orphanage in Florence, Italy designed by Renaissance architect Brunelleschi in 1421. The arcaded loggia, semi-circular arches on round columns and medallions on the spandrels, shaded veranda for the generous window of the clinic are features incorporated in the Gota De Leche – indeed very appropriate in the tropical climate of the Philippines. The building, a two-storey rectangular plan, is constructed of brick masonry. A tall arched portal serves as the main entrance to the building. The decorative motifs used throughout the building are images of robust infants. The Gota De Leche is one of the few success stories of heritage conservation in the Philippines. The careful restoration of this structure is a welcome model for preserving Manila’s rich architectural and social history.



William E. Parsons – architect
April 14, 2008, 7:18 am
Filed under: Interior Design
  • known for his quiet creativity and practical wisdom said Burnham
  • studied at Yale where he got his got art’s degree and got his master’s in Architecture at Columbia University
  • on Burnham’s return to the U.S, he was in search for an architect to supervise his implementation in Manila and in Baguio
  • He chose Parsons due to his supreme credentials
  • Burnham advised to Parsons that granite, marble, are out of place in the Philippine Tropic Climate. The inspiration must come from the Spanish and Filipino structures
  • He had an attempt is regionalism in architecture
  • Had a mixture and abstraction of Spanish, oriental and modern industrial building styles
  • Made use of plain solid pastel colors, deep archways, shaded porches, and covered loggias to keep heat away from the interior of buildings
  • 1905- Parsons organized an American and Filipino consultant architectural office of Bureau of Public works
  • His supervision also included preparing city plans for Cebu and Zamboanga, planning provincial governments, and designing buildings for Manila and Other parts of the country
  • Major structures were: PNC, PGH, The Normal School, Manila Hotel- Known to be his finest work, ANC, Elk’s Club, YMCA building, and designed first buildings of U.P on taft avenue and Padre Faura street
  • His works are characterized as modern, simplified revivals of the 19th century Spanish- English Architecture
  • In his early designs, he reinforced concrete use
  • In his later works, he went to neoclassic



Daniel H. Burnham, Planner and Architect (1846-1912)
April 14, 2008, 7:07 am
Filed under: Interior Design

Burnham, Daniel Hudson.

Born: New York, USA. Sept 4 1846.

Died: Heidelberg, Germany. June 1 1912.

Architect, city planner. He was educated in Chicago and Waltman, Massachusetts. Work on the Chicago World’s Fair, 1893, and his designs for Washington DC, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Chicago established Burnham’s reputation as a city planner. As president of the Amercan Institution of Architects

in 1894, he established close friendships with high government officials, including Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. He recommended a young friend ambitious for a foreigh assignment William Forbes, whom Roosevelt appointed to the Philippines in 1904.

Forbes sought to improve infrastructure and listened to William Howard Taft, then Secretary of War, who suggested that a landscape architect help design Baguio, “ a new city 5,000 feet above the sea, which will be to the Philippines what Simla is to India”. Consulted by Forbes, Burnham volunteered to go; he stayed in the Philippines for about six weeks in 1904. He proposed a grand plan for Manila involving a gridiron street pattern with diagonal thoroughfares converging at rotondas of various sizes, plenty of open spaces, greenery and fountains. Government building would be the focus of the city’ and he chose the sites for the , Army-Navy Club, Philippine General Hospital, and, apparently, the Post Office. For the design of Baguio, he proposed to site government buildings on the ridge surrounding the central meadow, however cautioning that monumental hilltop constructions be avoided so as not to mar the beautiful landscape.

Neither in Manila nor in Baguio were Burnham’s recommendations strictly followed, but he left his mark on the Philippine landscape. A park is named after him in Baguio.

In 1910 he was appointed chairperson of the National Commission on the Fine Arts by US President Taft. At the time of his death Burnham headed one of the largest architectural offices in America.

Post Office



Art Nouveau
April 14, 2008, 6:50 am
Filed under: Sources and Influences | Tags: ,

French for “New Art”. This international style, mainly in the applied arts, flourished from about 1890 to 1905. In Germany, it was known as jugendstil, bandwurmstil, or tapeworm style; in Italy, stile inglese or English styple, or stile liberty, after the furnishings and textile shop Liberty of lOndon; in Spain, modernimo; and in Austria, sezession, since its advocates seceded from the Academy of Art in Vienna.

In 1895 Samuel Bing, a native of Hamburg who had an art shop in Paris, began promoting a new line of art objects – stained glass, sculpture, paintings, posters, and jewelry by contemporary artists – and appropriately called the shop Art Nouveau, the same later adopted by the movement.

The origins of Art Nouveau go back to the 1850s in England when the development of arts and crafts was promoted by the government. In France a similar movement began with encouragement from state. Exhibits were organized, societies were founded, and interest in the decorative arts was promoted through publications.

The long, curving, flowing, rhythmic line that characterizes art nouveau began to appear in the 18800s in graphic art, particularly on book covers and illustrations. It later found its way into architectural ornament, in wrought-iron grilles, railings, and tracery.

Art nouveau rediscovered the power and vitality of the line, i.e., the line as active, restful, disciplined, expressive, austere, sensuous, and unifying. The sinewy line, while significant by itself, provided a suitable underpinning for organic forms – buds and tendrils, leaves and branches, seaweed, fish, reptiles, and birds, bats, dragonflies, flames, and the slender woman with long flowing hair. While art nouveau could be quite naturalistic, it could also be abstract, exploiting the potentials of pure line and pure form.

The best-known art nouveau works are those of Victor horta, Henri Van de Velde, Hector Guimard, and Antoni Gaudi.

Art Nouveau in the Philippines

Art Nouveau was hospitably received in Philippine upper-class residential architecture in the 1900s. Following the integrated approach of the style, painter Emilio Alvero used the circle as the basic form for arches, furniture, and trellises when he remodeled the sala of the Bautista-de los Santos house in Malolos, Bulacan in the 1900s. Anahaw and areca palms, banana leaves, and the camote vine provided the motifs for Tampinco’s version of art nouveau which graced many elegant homes. Arcadio Arellano designed Ariston Bautista Lin’s house in Quiapo, Manila, around a set of Vienna sezession furniture that the latter had brought home after a European tour. Large, assymetrical picture frames with curvilinear and floral motifs are among the relics of art nouveau. Painted floral decorations on walls, ceilings, and window shutters in a number of houses attest to the favor once enjoyed by art nouveau in the Philippines.

Art Nouveau lines

Art Nouveau Architecture in Mexico



Art Deco
April 14, 2008, 6:48 am
Filed under: Sources and Influences

French for “art decorative”.

This was a style of design and decoration promoted by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was organized by French designers and held in Paris in 1925. The Exposition had more than 100 pavilions and 20 European, African, and Asian nations participating. The aim of the exhibit was to raise the status and expand the application of the decorative arts and to stimulate contemporary design.

Art deco, also called style moderne, reached its peak in the 1930s and is associated with Jazz Age. Because its primary objective was the applied arts, it had no influence on the fine arts, but was, on the other hand, influenced by such modern art styles as cubism, fauvism, futurism and abstraction. Its impact on architecture was limited to surface ornament and decorative work and to streamlining forms and motifs. It did not contribute to developments in the concepts of space and structure. It became the fashionable style for movie houses, hotel interiors, and ocean liners.

In the United States art deco’s influence on architecture is seen in the Rockefeller Center, the Radio City Music Hall, and the Chrysler Building.

The introduction of art deco in the Philippines in the 1930s marked the end of the neoclassic dominance and the beginning of modern architecture. The style is found in the Metropolitan Theater, the Central Seminary of the University of Santo Tomas, the Perez-Samanillo building, the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the Capitol Theater, the State Theater, and the Times Theater.

Metropolitan Theater




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