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SPECIAL ISSUE 2 2015 | PHP19 9


1 8 O U T S T A N D I N G T H E S E S F R O M

PLUS Commentary Edson Cabalfin: A manifesto for 21st century architecture education Dan Lichauco: We need
specialization in architecture education Leandro Poco: Schools must build relevance and competence Grace Ramos: What
internationalization of architecture education means Henry de Jesus: Time, speed and distance Stephanie Tan-Branquinho:
Architecture as process Tobias Guggenheimer: Making architects, testing architects Maureen Araneta: Critical thinking in
design In My Opinion Graduates speak: What we wish they taught us in architecture school Something Light Manolo Noche:
Do you recognize these professor types in architecture school?

Special Issue 2 2015
08 Editors Note
10 In My Opinion
Graduates Speak: What we wish they taught us
in architecture school

Commentaries Architecture Education, with projects

14 BuIld RElEvaNcE aNd cOMpEtENcE 82 a MOdEl fOR tRaNspORt-ORIENtEd from (Clockwise, from circle)
Leandro Poco prods architecture schools to Georgiana Go (UP), Kurt Yu (UP),
dEvElOpMENt by Elizelle David,
Kenneth Estrologo (USC),
adapt to the realities of the profession De La Salle College of St. Benilde Jym Manuel (UST), and
20 dIstaNcE, spEEd, tIME Henry de Jesus 86 dEsIgN fOR a NEw wavE cIty Doni Dionisio (UST)
advocates for architecture education that strives Mixed-use BPO and commercial development
towards the expansion of conscience by Reginald Vyncent Yangzon, De La Salle
22 MakINg aN aRchItEct, College of St. Benilde
tEstINg aN aRchItEct 88 MOca Museum of Contemporary Arts by
Tobias Guggenheimer challenges schools and Kenneth Estrologo, University of San Carlos
the government to step up their game 90 thE tERMINal Southwest city-provincial
26 INtERNatIONalIzatION Of bus terminal by Aljeroe Funtila, Mapua Institute
aRchItEctuRal EducatION of Technology
Grace Ramos pushes for international 92 flOatINg hOusEs Low energy adaptable
competitiveness developed around distinct and passive house by Lara Therese Cruz,
local attributes University of Santo Tomas
30 spEcIalIzatION IN aRchItEctuRE 94 thE BEst fOR thE lEast Resilient fisher
EducatION Dan Lichauco recommends folk housing in Barangay Baras, Guiuan, Eastern
specialization courses in architecture curricula Samar by Betina Dimaculangan, De La Salle
34 cRItIcal thINkINg IN dEsIgN College of St. Benilde
Maureen Araneta includes problematization as 97 OpEN spacE NEtwORk Guidelines for open
part of the design process spaces in Ermita by Cristina Victoria Abril,
36 paRadIgM shIft Edson Cabalfins manifesto De La Salle College of St. Benilde
for 21st century architecture education 98 INtERgENERatIONal cOMMuNIty
Home for abandoned elderly and impoverished
Theses children by Paula Beanca Hapatinga, De La Salle
College of St. Benilde
40 INtROductION Architecture as process by
100 thE pEOplEs thEatRE Performing arts
Stephanie Tan-Branquinho
mobile theatre by Diandra Meredith Muassab,
46 thE NatIONs gatEway The new Clark
De La Salle College of St. Benilde
International Airport terminal by Jym Manuel,
102 MOBIlE saNctuaRy fOR stREEt
University of Santo Tomas
MassEs by Kevin Roe Singzon, De La Salle
52 a faB faB laB Invention center by Kurt Cleon
College of St. Benilde
Yu, University of the Philippines Diliman
104 valENcE aNd spacEs Military defensive
58 casa kawayaN Bamboo research and
and tactical planning for Cebu by Rey Angelo
development complex by Christian Salandanan,
Blay, De La Salle College of St. Benilde
University of Santo Tomas
106 cONclusION Designing beyond self by
64 gOldEN spIRal Hospital complex by
Leandro Poco
Georgiana Go, University of the Philippines Diliman
70 thE lIghthOusE Cultural and recreational
telecommunications tower by Victor Emmanuel Exhibition
Dionisio, University of Santo Tomas 112 pORtfOlIO REvIEw Architecture faculty at
74 EskwEla kasaMBahay Educational De La Salle College of St. Benilde mount
center for Philippine domestic workers by an exhibit of students best works to reinvigorate
Alexander Dominic Mayoralgo, University of their sense of mission
the Philippines Diliman
78 vERtIcal cONstRuct Vertical communities Something Light One of the student works at
CSB SDAs PO.RE exhibit,
by Blanche Elaine Azachee, De La Salle College 118 Manolo Noche names the different types of photographed by Ed Simon of
of St. Benilde professors you meet in architecture school Studio 100
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Schooled to Compete

his issue has thought: if the purpose is to Architects, Testing Architects. that guardians of mediocrity
been the most examine the quality of work that So when you read the thesis assiduously work to propagate
difficult to produce leading architecture schools projects, do not think about their and keep entrenched. Soon,
in the seven reward, the values and the kind authors but the educational ASEAN will be a single, borderless
years that I have of thinking they encourage their system that challenged, equipped, economy. So all the huffing
worked for BluPrint. As early students to emulate, shouldnt nurtured and guided them. and puffing for more Filipino
as January 2014, we contacted all be included? So here they are, In addition to Poco, first legislation to delay what is
ten schools across the country all 18 thesis projects from 2012 Branquinho and Guggenheimer, inevitable, and all the politicking
(including Baguio, Bataan, to 2015 that deans and faculty we are honored to include in for one professional organization
Cebu, Cotabato and Davao), members from five schools this issue essays on architecture or another to remain in power
asking them for their best thesis say are worthy of representing education by passionate voices when there are so many pressing
projects for architecture in their architecture program. such as Edson Cabalfin, Henry needs to attend to, have all the
the past two to three years. We could not have done this de Jesus, Maureen Araneta, forward thinking of an ostrich
Because BluPrint was without architects Leandro Poco Grace Ramos and Dan Lichauco burying its head in the sand.
focused last year on international and Stephanie Tan-Branquinho, (Manolo Noche closes the We cant do anything about
competitiveness in the light who with our team read each magazine with humorous digs at the old guard, but we must pour
of ASEAN integration, we also book from cover to cover, the colorful characters populating our energies to give our students
asked them questions like, analyzed each ones merits and a typical architecture school the leg up they need to compete
How is the school preparing strove to provide helpful advice. faculty). One overarching theme against economies that have and
its students to meet regional The advice is not for the authors, of the essays is the imperative are outrunning ours. In a global
qualifications? Could you do a most of who are now working in for schools to rethink 20th- economy, it wont be enough to
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, various firms. The advice is for century paradigms to respond be good enough. If we content
Opportunities, Threats) analysis the thesis advisers and schools as to 21st-century needs. Cabalfins ourselves with being the big
of your architecture program in they shape the thinking and work manifesto for architecture that is fish in our little pond, well be
the context of integration? What habits of our future architects, inclusive, democratic, equitable, eaten alive by the bigger fish
is the competitive edge of your who, because of ASEAN humane, sustainable, innovative swimming in from across the
graduates over those of other integration and the unstoppable and creative is one our schools sea. The Filipino deserves the
ASEAN countries? What should force of globalization, will should examine and measure best. Let that best be Filipino.
the UAP, PRC BoA and other soon be practicing without the their standards against.
organizations be doing to help protection offered by national The end of 2015 marks the
its young members compete borders, as SoFA Institute Dean beginning of the end of the old
in a borderless economy? Tobias Guggenheimer writes in waysof protectionism and the
Incredibly, not a single school his provocative essay, Making crippling sense of entitlement Editor-in-Chief
submitted. This year, we scaled
back our ambitions and contacted
only five schools, requested
them for 3-5 outstanding
thesis projects, and asked only
one question: Why are they
outstanding? Again, not everyone
responded as we had hoped, but
we were fortunate to make direct
contact with three Best Thesis
awardees from the University of
the Philippines; and the design
coordinator of the University of
Santo Tomas, who sent us four
thesis projects. Mapua Institute
of Technology sent us two;
University of San Carlos in Cebu,
one; and the College of St. Benilde
School of Design & Arts, eight.
Because of the
disproportionate number of
submissions by CSB-SDA, we
considered choosing only four from left to right: EIC Judith Torres, Associate Editor Adrian Tumang, Editorial Coordinator Andi Arines, Senior Photographer
out of the eight. But then we Ed Simon, Managing Editor Miguel Llona, and Group Art Director Patrick Kasingsing (Photographed by Studio 100)

8 BluPrint

What graduates wish

they were taught in
architecture school Working as project manager and
designer has taught me a lot in the
construction aspect of architecture.
While we are taught heavily on
UST should have focused a theories at school, we fail to consider
little more on the technical and feasibility and the methods in
structural aspects of architecture. creating the designs we envision. Its
In other words, we needed more essential for students to have more
exposure on how to develop our practical subjects to understand how
theoretical designs to actual built to build something.
work. Architectural details or
structural concepts couldve been Lara Therese Cruz, UST, 2014
explained better through field trips, Designer & Project Construction Manager,
manufacturer talks, and the like. Z Hostel Makati
I wish I had been taught more about
structural and technical connections,
While I was job hunting, I had the terminations, material specs. As we
opportunity to be interviewed by How to manage and act in all know, God is in the details.
Arch. Joey Yupangco. I showed him construction sites. We were taught
my portfolio. He commented on my how to do it in class, however, it Victor Emmanuel Dionisio, UST, 2013
designs, saying they were clearly would have been more educational to Registered and Licensed Architect
thought out and executed well. Then experience it firsthand.
he said something Id never heard
before while in college. He remarked
Cristina Victoria Abril
that architectural design should be like
a Porschea marriage of function
Architect Apprentice, Casas+Architects
and form. It has all the complex
The Architecture program of SDA
engineering to make it work the way
focuses on honing the students
it does, but without making the shell
creativity, and on translating concepts
so convoluted. The system and the
into architecture that is forward-
shell just fit together seamlessly.
thinking. Giving equal attention to the
That is what I wish I learned more
business and technical aspect of the
in UP. Its something that was not
profession will prepare SDA students
emphasized enough when I was in
Business and management for the real world.
school. I guess there is some form of
intuition when it comes to designing coursesthe entrepreneurial side
something that resonates with people of the architectural industry. Also, Blanche Azachee, DLS-CSB SDA, 2015
in a level more than just utilitarian. Ive the architecture curriculum in the Project Intern, Ayala Land Inc.
encountered it when I started working country should be updated to
at Locsindesigns that have depth, That drawing really well isnt all integrate new building technologies
which can be described as experiential that important. Sure, its great if and design software so that we dont
or even spiritual. From my present you can produce a masterpiece disseminate archaic information. The
understanding, it has something to with your hands, but I find it sad industry is advancing rapidly, and
do with materiality, light and shadow, that many beginner Archi students new methods are being generated
nature, and sound. Its all very new and are discouraged because they are all around the world. Its crucial to be
fascinating to me. Im not even sure conditioned to think they have to well informed and up-to-date in order
if that can be taught in school or just be stellar artists, as if its such a to be competitive.
honed through years of experience. critical skill. In the end, its the depth
and caliber of your thinking that will Elizelle David, DLS-CSB SDA, 2014
determine your skill. As long as you Technical Associate,
Kurt yu, UP Diliman, 2013
can sketch your ideas clearly and with L.A. Poco & Associates CSB SDA should give the best
Junior Architect, Leandro V. Locsin Partners
purpose, youre good. If youre not exposure that it can to its students
good at rendering or presentation, exposure on actual site projects,
eventually you can outsource or and include hardware visits as well,
hire for that. I feel bad for the early because this will help students to
dropouts who couldnt draw well become more familiar with materials
enoughsome of them might have and their costs, not just learning them
had brilliant minds for architecture. through visual aspect.

Aldo Mayoralgo, UP Diliman, 2014 Paula Hapatinga, DLS-CSB SDA, 2015

Junior Architect, Leandro V. Locsin Partners Project Intern, Ayala Land Inc.

10 BluPrint

What graduates wish

they were taught in
architecture school We should have business and basic
accounting courses. They might
Whats important is for students be a pain in the neck, but they will
to be exposed to the construction enhance our perspective on the
side of architecture in the early practice of architecture in the real
stages of their studies. This would world, and help us appreciate the
help them understand and relate to phrase earning while doing what
things taught in class. I dont doubt you love.
the quality of education USC has
provided us, but I would certainly like
Aljeroe Funtila
for them to include a Construction
Mapua Institute of Technology, 2015
Practice subject in the curriculum
Design Associate, Gruppo Arkitekto
instead of offering it as an elective.
Company, Inc.
Second, theres a misperception
as to what Philippine architecture
is. Its a constant debate how to
I wish we could have covered legal design a structure representative
concerns, knowing our rights as of Philippine architecture. Its about
graduates entering the workforce. time we earnestly consider, sensibly
Business courses on finance and study and religiously implement
personal financial management the study of Philippine architecture
would have helped. I once attended because its future depends on the
a workshop of Bronne Dytoc coming generation of architects,
where he taught unorthodox but and they should be equipped with
reliable methods of computing and sufficient knowledgenationalistic
analyzing solar and structural design in approach, and applying current
by graphical methods. Our prof technological developments. Actual site and fieldwork projects, so
mentioned plans to divide the subject students will better understand the
of tropical design into four separate construction side of architecture.
Kenneth Estrologo , University of
subjectswind, sun, water, earth
San Carlos, 2014, Junior Architect,
to be taken a term at a time. Betina Dimaculangan, DLS-CSB SDA, 2014
KORA Architects & Associates
I would have really loved to go Junior Designer, MEDCON
through this curriculum. Through
science, my design would naturally
become more responsible, intelligent
and responsive to the environment.

Diandra Muassab, DLS-CSB SDA, 2015

Research Associate, SEED Institute

Definitely model-making and

I wish they had taught us how to
more time for engineering. The
freely explore and expand on our own
congested trimester syllabus limits
architectural theories and concepts
our opportunity to learn what we
through a certain level of creative
want from the available, experienced
pragmatism. Also, how to work in
mentors. Half of what we learn from
a creatively intellectual, open and
most of the subjects comes from
shared design studio environment
UST has ignited my competitiveness where you can freely express,
because the administration, as well discuss and collaborate with students
Rey Angelo Blay, DLS-CSB SDA, 2015 and faculty at any time.
as different organizations, hold
Intermediate Architectural Designer,
batch competitions yearly. This is
20x30 Design Studio
one of the reasons why I always join Jym Manuel, UST, 2014
competitions. However, I wish they Graduate Architect, Aidea Philippines
had incorporated actual works or
simulation projects in our classes,
which would be a really great help
when we finally step into the real
world of architecture.

Christian Salandanan, UST, 2014

Architecture Designer

12 BluPrint

Build Relevance
ny discussion about
architecture education
inevitably leads to reflections

and Competence
on the state of the profession
in the Philippines, and to the
experiences of Filipino architects around the
world. Allow me to project in multiple tangents
so I could meander back into some thoughts
ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION SHOULD ADAPT on how we could work together to improve
architecture education standards in the
By Leandro Nicholas Raoa Poco
Move up, move home
Filipino architects are recognized around the
world as talented, creative and hardworking
professionals. Since the rise of the Asian tigers
and the Gulf States in the 1980s and 1990s,
our architects have been leaving our shores
to eke out a living. The contributions of these
expatriates to their adoptive economies are
immeasurable. Foreign bosses and colleagues
appreciate the gusto with which Filipinos apply
themselves at work. For most Pinoy expatriate
architects, it was more than just a matter of
survival. It was the chance to be relevant. The
chance to practice their craft at the bleeding
edge of the design profession.

Photo courtesy of National University of Singapore

14 BluPrint
Despite the lack of accepted international principals on top, and a large number of 35-and-
credentials, a handful of these overseas professionals under millennials below. Very few from the older
moved up the ranks to assume leadership roles in generation who left the Philippines came back.
their respective firms. These exceptional architects Fewer still (because of the bleak economy) were
have shown that in a meritocracy, one can indeed able to get their hands on local work and develop
go far with talent and experience. Still, most of these their skills to become competent managers
expats shared the dream of moving back home to in these firms. That gap in upper and middle
start their own practices. A handful of them have management is now being filled by architects of
been able to do so, harnessing their learnings and my generation (those with ten years experience)
connections gathered abroad. Many Filipino firms and younger, who are being primed for roles that
whose projects are featured in this magazine are require more experience.
products of this diaspora. Some young architects, seduced by
The dream to come home is always alive partly the blossoming startup culture, heed the
because an architecture degree and license from entrepreneurial call and forego the whole
the Philippines allow you to practice and use the in-office maturation process to start their own
title Architect only in the Philippines. The reason practices, only to realize that the education
is our academic programs neither fall under the and training they received are insufficient
internationally accepted standards set by American preparation. In school, were asked to submit
(National Architectural Accrediting Board) nor profiles and brochures of our future design
British (Architects Registration Board and Royal firms, but were not taught how to write project
Institute of British Architects) accreditation bodies. proposals; how to charge for services (because
Some see this as a matter of independence. the UAP documents are outdated); how to
I, however, see it as a question of competence manage projects; hire and mentor staff; and
in international markets. How do we prove that balance the books. The academe says these are
homegrown Filipino architects are indeed world- learned during apprenticeship and practice.
class if our paper qualifications dont get us on equal But last I checked, Professional Practice is
footing with peers in other countries? a course subject. So what are we teaching?

Cross-border equivalency How can you think outside the box and
If were serious about being internationally
competitive, why cant we make a concerted conceptualize something unique (which is
effort to apply our programs for NAAB or what most students think of their work) if
ARB/RIBA accreditation, or at least apply for
professional equivalency evaluation? The NAAB
your box is still empty of ideas and tools?
has been accrediting programs outside the
United States, such as Canada and Mexico. The What are we practicing? Why is there such a
RIBA has accredited programs in 17 countries, disconnect between school and practice? We
including China, Singapore, Malaysia and South need to strengthen the preparation and training
Korea. Accreditation doesnt necessarily mean of architects for practice. The Ateneo School of
referencing American and British qualifications. Medicine and Public Health, together with their
On a basic actionable level, it would help future Graduate School of Business, has pioneered a
Filipino architects if the Philippine Regulatory course that combines clinical education of future
Board of Architecture would get their act together medical doctors with the practical rigors of an
with their counterparts in the ASEAN Architect MBA. They have acknowledged that the medical
Council to institute a common curriculum based practice is, in effect, a business. Architecture
on common standards and skill requirements. schools could and should do this too.
We are ill prepared for ASEAN integration, which
takes effect at the end of this year. Singapore firms Filling empty boxes
have a foothold in Vietnam, Brunei and Myanmar, In design education and discourse, the method
and because of this, locals in those countries now of teaching is centered on developing a design
take their methods as the acceptable practice. This philosophy and concept. Its usually an inductive
is while we are still happily working within our process where the design is driven by the germ of
little bubble of Philippine independence. an idea. Ive seen design classes spend countless
hours talking about concept, only to realize during
Semi-ripe mangoes the space programming and design stage that
The diaspora of Filipino architects has hollowed the concept so eloquently crystallized falls apart
out the engine rooms of local design firms. because its a horrible fit to the site, the scale of the
Commonplace are local firms with a handful of project, and the various uses to be satisfied.

BluPrint 15

While teaching high-rise design (Arcdes 7) in Confront outcomes

by adding or adjusting
Generate alternative
College of St. Benilde School of Design and Arts, solutions. solutions as necessary.

one of the points I would emphasize is that some Development

Evolution of Prototype Improvisation
concepts dont work for some projects. You can
talk about creating a Filipino skyscraper, but it all
falls apart if you insist on creating a bahay kubo 35
storeys high. Its ignorant of so many other layers of
Definition of Design and Monitoring &
We hammer at the need for a thought process Requirements Analysis
Quality Control
distilling ideas into a singular object or theory for
the project, but we fail to teach students how to
process various layers of data needed to design in
Exploration Evaluation
an informed manner. How can you think outside the
box and conceptualize something unique (which is Collect data, observe Record learnings for
and do empirical future reference.
what most students think of their work) if your box analysis.
is still empty of ideas and tools?
Lets teach students to research from Design 1, Linear Design Process
and not at Design 9. The box has to be filled first with
sufficient substance to be distilled into something - Check actual
responsiveness of - Collect data,
unique. Instead of striving for creative expression, design to changing observe and do
Definition of
schools should train designers to process larger realities and define
new requirements or
empirical analysis.
- Learning by design
bandwidths of information and synthesize ideas into parameters.

solutions. This can only happen in a research-driven,

Evaluation Exploration
deductive and iterative process. Not the linear or
inductive process were used to in most schools.

Design honesty comes from Development

Design and
and Quality
knowing how its put together of Prototype Analysis
Woe is the young architect who, working for his
first client, finds out that design is non-linear, and
that in some cases, the concept is not his, but the
Evolution Iteration
clients. Too many egos have been fed and enlarged
to believe in the superiority of the inductive process - Refine features. - Generate
- Revise as needed. alternative solutions.
in creating architectural icons. Likewise, many - Get feedback. Implementation - Synthesize findings.

owners have scratched their heads and lost money

condoning the architects iconic vision, when
what they needed was simply a functioning piece
of architecture that serves their needs and not the Iterative Design Process
architects ego.
Architecture studios in National University
of Singapore (NUS) are tasked not only to design, of this is Samuel Mockbees Rural Studio in Auburn
but also to detail and show how everything is put University, Alabama. What started out as an
together. Im impressed by the level of technical outreach activity where students patch together
knowledge that NUS students show in their recycled materials to build houses has turned into
presentations. Design and Building Technology a formal program with students spending a year
lectures are fused and applied together in studio. or more building homes and civic buildings for
That way, they learn to be honest designers. They the poor. Students learn how to do joinery, pour
do not design buildings with amazing cantilevers concrete, weld steel and lay roofs.
made of chipboard, or with sleek, diagonal claddings While its difficult to execute a program of
wrapping a basic shell. They are challenged to draw similar intensity (because of time and resource
something elegantly in detail. Instead of cowering constraints), why cant we institute a design-build
within the box of buildability, these kids dig deep to exchange program between the major urban
figure out how to execute their designs using models Centers of Excellence and the regional Centers
and mock-ups. of Development? Architecture students from
main urban centers could rotate to schools in the
Geo-location provinces, be tasked to build actual designs using
Taking the idea of design honesty further, why local or vernacular methods, experience the difficult
not bring the students to the field and build their building conditions, and see the socio-economic
designs themselves? One of my favorite examples problems far afield.

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The student starts The student collects The student develops The student synthesizes all valid
Meanwhile, corresponding students from the with data gathering. and analyzes data. multiple ideas and hypotheses into a single solution and
solutions from the data. applies it to the project.
provinces could rotate to schools in Manila and Cebu
to see the cutting edge in design, technology and
inspect actual construction of complex projects. Information Observation and hypothesis theory
and data analysis
This would enrich the less-developed programs
by exposing them to methods in the Centers of
Excellence, and could hopefully trigger a heart- Specific to General Inductive
shift in the purpose and inculcate a sense of social
purpose and responsibilityvalues usually lost to
the attention-hungry, money-driven architecture theory hypothesis
Observation and Information
analysis and data
that the bigger programs aspire to.
Another form of geo-location would be for
schools to locate design studios closer to the cores of
The student starts with The student develops The student collects The student affirms or rejects the
major practices like Makati CBD and Ortigas CBD. Ive an idea to be explored hypotheses. data and tests ideas for hypotheses, and repeats the process until
in-depth. validity and reliability. acceptable solutions are found and the
met countless young, idealistic, capable practicing best one selected for implementation.
architects who would like to teach but are turned off
General to Specific Deductive
by the inconvenience of travel to the University Belt
in Manila or Quezon City. By locating closer to the
epicenter of dominant practices, we can strengthen professional development, and experience,
the full-time academic faculty of schools with active which the professional must accrue over the
practitioners. This is a good way to attract a different years. It is incomprehensible that our Continuing
dimension of faculty. Schools cant pay adjuncts or Professional Development program is still on hold,
part-time lecturers more than full-time academicians, our professional organizations offering ad hoc
so lets make it easier for those with thriving practices CPD courses that would not stand the scrutiny of
to share their knowledge to students. accreditation bodies elsewhere in ASEAN.
Offering stratified degrees would address
Specialization, stratified degrees the demand for increasing specialization in
and licensing roles. Not only could schools offer introductory
The ongoing building boom in our country has seen electives in their undergraduate programs, Leandro Nicholas R.
the rise of various roles that architects play in the they could also offer specialist degrees to give Poco is partner at L.A. Poco
Architects, a boutique firm
property sector. Aside from the traditional roles of students viable options off the main track of
with projects small to large,
design managers and contractors, architects are architectural design practice. The architecture such as: the De La Salle Zobel
now finding niches in the full cycle of development. education landscape in Singapore for example, Our Lady of the Star Chapel
We see architects as construction managers, includes courses in Architectural Technology and in Ayala Alabang; the Net
Lima and Net Park Buildings
quantity surveyors, interior fit-out designers, urban Visualization, or Architectural Studies offered by in BGC (with Oppenheim
planners, real estate executives, brokers, property various polytechnic schools. They acknowledge Architecture+Design
managers, etc. Theres also a growing demand for the demand for highly skilled technologists, as Design Consultant);
specialists and technicians focused on visualization visual artists and production specialists needed and several mid-rise
condominiums and retail
and BIM (building information modeling). by the industry. The best job captains Ive met centers. He previously
As demand rises for people with such skills, are holders of specialist degrees; some are now worked at Palmer & Turner
the blanket solution would be to churn out and working towards a full architecture degree. Consultants on high-end
register more architects into the licensure roll. high-rises in Singapore and
The title Architect used to mean an expert
Vietnam; and at Surbana
Architecture schools have been doing this, packing versed in the art and science of designing and International Consultants,
classrooms with more chairs and drafting tables, building. But nowadays, being a licensed architect on such townships as the
without addressing the deteriorating quality of doesnt mean you get to practice as one. Theres resort-city of Sikkim in
Indias Himalayan region; a
our graduates measured against international nothing wrong with that. To practice may be
commercial and institutional
standardsnot the local board exam. These schools the dream scenario, but it is not for everybody. core planned around a man-
are not doing the profession a favor. Producing There is no harm in recognizing ones interests made lake in North Vietnam;
quantity over quality takes away from the respected and limitations, and casting off toward one of the and the Pulau Muara Besar
in Brunei Darussalam. As
title of Architect, and lessens our credibility in the specializations mentioned earlier. The envelope an ASEAN scholar, Poco
international arena. and marketplace of ideas for design-related services acquired his Masters degree
In Indonesia, fresh architecture graduates are and know-how has expanded, allowing architects in Urban Design with focus on
automatically licensed to design a one to two-storey to find their little patch of Eden. The opening of Urban Typomorphology and
City Form from the National
residence. With added experience, they can take the career options for architects requires opening University of Singapore. His
licensure examinations for the next higher strata the educational landscape and changing long- dissertation, EDSA: From
of practice, which, when passed, permit them to established notions of success and achievement. We Urban Fringe to Urban Spine
allowed him to graduate
handle buildings and developments of increasing should educate architects to find their role in the
with distinction and receive
complexity and risk. Thus, the title Architect design universe, doing what they are good at, and the Singapore Institute of
is a rank indicative of competence, continuing what makes them happy. Architects Book Prize.

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y work takes me to distant
places that have been around
for a very long time. When you

Speed, Time
are asked to design in such
places, where the continuity of
human settlement is measured in terms of millennia,
you cannot escape the perspective of history. On
the one hand, the job assumes an air of significance
AN ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION as you consider its sheer scope and sociopolitical
dimension, while on anotheras you view it in the
WORTH HAVING IS ONE THAT anonymity of the vast, encompassing landscape
STRIVES TOWARDS THE it immediately dissolves into a mere strand in time.
ExPANSION OF CONSCIENCE When you look at formal education in this light
(and this is not confined to Philippine architectural
By Henry V. De Jesus education) you are struck by its relative
insignificance. If you get lucky enough to be blessed
with a 40 plus-year career (since we dont really
hit our stride until the latter years) then college is
a mere ten percent of our occupation. This is not
to diminish the importancethe privilegeof an
education in architecture in an institution; but in the
scale of time and distance five years is a pittance.
I was mentored by an architect who wasnt
even schooled in architecture. He was a literature
major who happened to interview Richard Neutra
for a book sometime in the 1950s and he ended up
as Neutras close associate for the next 11 years.
After Neutra, he spent the rest of his years with the
firm where I worked part-time while in my third
year of school. I was lucky. He has retired recently,
but we have stayed in touch over the past 25 years;
in fact, we meet for lunch occasionally at the same
restaurant because its courtyard is spare and the
tables are fully lined in white paper. We get to
sketch on the table lining as we talk, using the same
Pentel sign pens. Still teaching and learning, with no
agenda, no forethought. And thats the beauty of it.
We forget that Brunelleschi was a goldsmith,
Cairo from a distance. March 2015, photographed by the author Paxton was a horticulturist, Ando did some
prizefighting and carpentry. Wright didnt even
major in architecture. Heres the point: Dont get
hung-up on school. And another thing, which
may sound rather peculiar: Dont put too much
stock in board exams, which, by the way, prove
nothing more than entry-level competence to
any profession. What we do is so far-reaching, so
impactful, and so goddamn difficult that it takes
the totality of lifes lessons and the cooperation of
human beings from all persuasions just to make
it real and worthwhile. It can never be defined by
paper certificates obtained in the infancy of a career.
But lets set that aside for a moment and get back
to architectural education in the Philippines. One
way of framing a topic as big as that is to take a look
at the relationship between the entities of distance,
speed and time. This should be familiar to anyone
who didnt ditch physics in high school.
Distance makes us grapple with the
fundamentals: What do I want to do? Where am I

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going? What is my purpose? Its been 20 years, but Nothing, because good education and good 1
This is a topic unto itself, and it strikes home
considering there are over 10 million Filipinos
I do remember telling freshmen (and seniors with architecture should be boundless and timeless. working overseas (a million alone in Saudi
equal earnestness) at the University of Santo Tomas Excellence is not possible with parochialism. One of Arabia), and because a good number of OFWs
are architects, myself included. It is common
that not all of them would practice architecture and the mid-century Modernists, Raphael Soriano, was knowledge that the export of Filipino workers
to over 170 countriesthanks to a government
that that was perfectly fine. But all of them ought fond of musical allusions, and he once remarked that decree in 1974 to facilitate the movement
to capitalize on the unique attributes afforded by a masterly stroke on a violin is not remembered as a of workers in conformity with the national
interestis the countrys source of foreign
an education in architecture: problem solving in French stroke or a Russian stroke or whatever; it is exchange, and means of poverty alleviation. OFWs
are hailed as economic heroes even as they, and
four dimensions, critical thought, collaboration, and simply appreciated as a masterly stoke. Fair enough. ultimately the nation, bear the consequences
sheer creativity. These would serve them well in any Everything, because good education and good of separation and abuse. OFWs are treated as
second-class citizens in host countries where
endeavor they may choose to pursue. architecture should be grounded and relevant. racism and indifference are appallingly pervasive.
I had hoped that some would become And this, alas, is the crux of the matter. An 2
From Ursula Le Guins collection of essays, Dancing
entrepreneurs (and if so, be a good one and be a Architecture worth doing is one that responds at the Edge of the World, she poignantly addressed
the subject of hunger through Pablo Nerudas
good patron of the arts while you are at it); some to the spirit of the ageto the very demands description of the fabled Machu Picchu, particularly,
could find themselves in politics (and if so, be a good of the day. In the Philippines, our perennial how it was built on the suffering of its people: It
says that so long as the beautiful towers of stone,
one however dauntingly impossible that would affliction is invisibilitythe abject indifference of concrete, of glass, are not well founded, they are
not habitable. No house worth living in has for its
be!); most would practice to be sure; and some towards the poor. There are myriad technical cornerstone the hunger of those who built it. We in
yet would wind up abroad.1 In any case, distance explanations as to why the cities are unlivable, America now raise our cities taller even than Machu
Picchu. But along with what they call the real
has to do with breadth: your intellectual reach and why the infrastructure is broken, and how the city, the real estate, there is an invisible city. It is
to the stones of the city as the soul is to the body.
integrity. It is the product of work and time. School natural world has gotten fragmented. None are And thats what were talking about. That is the city
is an excellent start to develop a well-rounded view satisfactory and all can be traced one way or other were trying to build, to found, not on hoarding and
moneymaking and hunger, but on sharing and on
of things. And the more you apply this over time, the to this: You cant care for what you no longer see. justice. A house that deserves its children.
deeper you can reach into your own well of ideas.
Speed is workthe rate of motion or progress
itself. Good work depends on the quality of your
thinking and values over time. In practical terms,
An Architecture worth doing is one that
this is what gets you hired (not the manifesto); responds to the spirit of the ageto
and its progression is what keeps you hired by an
employer or a client. Work is all about the realization
the very demands of the day.
of ideas: it is tactile, physical, and vigorous (even as
the means of work has turned digital).
We casually talk about individuals and firms We have been buildingdevelopingin
that do good work without much appreciation half-mirages: half-real because they deny the very
for the fact that the actual workthe physical existence of those who build and maintain them.
manifestation of architecturedoes not even come Theirs is an invisible worldbeneath the one we
from the architect at all. We merely communicate inhabit. And the cornerstone of the one we live in
ideas to builders who make it real. And then theres is hunger.2
the ownerthe one who writes the checks and I am not suggesting that architecture will (or
determines what to buildwho ultimately makes should) cure the social ills of society. It wont. It
the whole endeavor possible. Architecture is an never has and it never will, lest Pruitt-Igoe reminds
incredibly complex act. We delude ourselves into us (and if the seniors are wondering what Pruitt-
thinking of ourselves as leaders and conductors Igoe is, they need to stay in school a little while
(a hackneyed metaphor) in this complex longer). But Architecture worth doing is one that
production when, in truth, we are at the mercy advances the common weal, however modest
of so many uncontrollable circumstances. Good or ambitious in scope. Hence, an architectural
projects and good buildings are rare achievements education worth having is one that strives towards
especially in these times, and considering the the expansion of conscience. You must demand of
Henry V. de Jesus is an
totality of what gets built at any given time on the your educators the means to achieve this end. If your Associate in the Los Angeles
planet, good architecture indeed is nothing short of curriculum needs to morph into planning, so be it. If office of Perkins and Will. He is
a miraculous act. it needs to be more inclusive of other environmental frequently on assignment in the
Middle East and North Africa.
And all of this takes time. There are no shortcuts. disciplines, so much the better. As a senior project architect,
Efficiency demands that we do the most with You must demand of yourselves the same and he oversees the technical
the least; but even getting there implies pitting more. Much more! I cannot fault you for aiming for execution of healthcare and
knowledge and observation against a great deal fame and fortune (and may that come indeed). But higher education projects.
He still devotes time with
of testing or trial and error. Arches developed whatever you may becomethat architect, that Architecture students at Cal
into domes and vaults in the same way the builder, that entrepreneur, that patron, that artist, Poly where he was schooled
production of automobiles has gone from days that policymakerI hope you will play your part in and where, for a brief quarter,
had Raphael Soriano as a
to hours to minutes. building that world where humanity is in full view;
teacher. Henry taught at the
So what does all this have to do with the where hunger and injustice are not simply invisible, University of Santo Tomas in
Philippines? Nothing. Everything. but resolutely non-existent. the late 90s.

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Making an Architect,
Testing an Architect
By Tobias Guggenheimer
Illustration by Monica Esquivel

rchitectural problems
are solved in a sequential
path meandering from the
creatively schematic to the
technically specific. The
making of an architect follows a similar
trajectorywith rung after rung to be
climbed; from design and history to theory
and practice, all to be mastered in time. But
not at the same time! Architects blossom in
the context of a slow and methodical process,
a gathering of diverse intelligences that
permit the opening of doors of a life rich in
capabilities, whether or not one elects to work
in the field. To applysimultaneouslythe
principles of art, science and philosophy
promises to enliven ones time on earth.
School is where design thinking should
be reinforced at every opportunityeven
in contexts far removed from the core.
Consider as an extreme example the
obligatory general education course on
Rizal. A tired reading of the Noli focuses only
on his political dialogue. A more pertinent
approach for design students considers how
Rizal appropriates the built environment
as a medium upon which to project social
commentary. Indeed, on the very first page
of the Noli, his character, Captain Tiago, is
found planning a party at his home located
upon the Binondo creek which plays, like
many rivers in Manila, the multiple roles
of bathhouse, sewer, laundry, fishing hole,
thoroughfare and even drinking water
By page two, we hear the narrator mock the
house, which is somewhat squat, its lines
fairly uneven. Whether the architect who
built it could not see very well or this resulted
from earthquakes or typhoons, no one can say
for sure. Soon enough, we are transported
to the second storey: finding ourselves

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in a broad expanse called the caidawhich Less crowded design studios
tonight will serve both as a dining and music Given the self-evident centrality of design
room. In the middle, a long table, abundantly studio within architectural education,
and luxuriously appointed, seems to wink reform should logically begin there, and
sweet promise at the freeloader From these every program should consider redoubling
passages, and others like them, students its commitment to an enhanced design
recognize how effectively social and political studio experience. One of the most impactful
ideas can be enriched with allusions to changes possible is guaranteeing an
physical context. By approaching Rizal from uncrowded learning environment. The
this new perspective, design students will current practice of cramming 30 or more
not only be more inclined to appreciate his people into a design class degrades a
message, but will also confirm that narrative teachers capacity to meaningfully interact
is foundational to design. Similar pedagogic with students. In my more than 25 years of
gymnastics can make every course engaging, teaching architecture and interior design,
even inspirational to the design student. I have found it quite impossible to offer
consistent, meaningful critique to more than
Slay the sacred cows 15 students. No two students have analogous
Academia is, or should be, a protected capabilities, and thus no single teaching
universea space for students to question method is universally effective. Certainly,
everything about the imperfect world a more personalized approach is costly, yet
bequeathed their generation. If only without imposing strict limits on studio size,
educators adopted a similarly necessary we fatally impair the ability to teach and
skepticism regarding the systems and learn design.
traditions deployed in the monumental task of
molding architects. Shouldnt the institutions
of school and government come together to Shouldnt the institutions of school and
reinvent practice, regulation and tradition
to face imminent challenges? Design is government come together to reinvent
undergoing a global revolution, an immediate
manifestation of which will be the diminished
practice, regulation and tradition to face
protection offered by national borders. In the imminent challenges?
past, Philippine architects worked behind a
moat where they were only responsible for
meeting local benchmarks of competence and Homework
experience. That moat will soon be breached I would also suggest a radical reconsideration
as ASEAN nations, and then the world, flood of how class time is deployed. The design
in. The only possible defense will be peerless studio is only valuable as a venue for teaching
education, an effective (and perhaps longer) what design is, how design is developed,
internship, a more pertinent testing regime, how design is understood and how design
and a reevaluation of the entire regulatory is critiquedsubjects mastered only via
structure of architecture and construction. extensive practice and interaction. Design
Stakeholders: Come together and slay your work itself should only be performed at home
sacred cows. to free up class time for the higher value
That schools are tied to a universally activities enumerated above. International
mandated curriculum leaves unearthed pedagogic norms dictate students should
alternative methodologies, approaches and minimally spend 2-3 hours on homework
priorities. Has this helped the Philippines? for every hour spent in class. This output
Has our infrastructure produced an enviable should form the basis upon which class time
constellation of the best designers in the is structured.
worldas we have every right to expect? Do
we dominate international competitions? Do Learner-centered teaching
we regularly snare plum commissions within It is likewise important for each teacher to
the global marketplace? If yes, then let us leave adopt an instructional method sufficiently
the system as is, intact and unchanged. If not, flexible as to accommodate various learning
then perhaps innovation may be the only way styles. Growth comes from different places,
to enhance outcomes for the benefit of the at different rates, for different people. Some
nation. Competing for the dubious honor of students are too shy to offer critique. Give
producing top notchers is not enough. them additional assistance in that area.

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Others develop solutions without exhausting Board exam

thematic possibilities. Encourage them Some suggest that design skills are impossible
to be more thoughtful and patient during to verify, and point to the deletion of the design
the conceptual phase. Designer teachers section in the licensing exam as proof. How
are effective when they are flexible and can we submit our students to ten grueling
compassionate, promoting strengths and semesters of design studies and then suggest
mitigating weaknesses of individual students. that which they learned cannot be evaluated?
The State is on record in supporting design
No to group projects values through legislation. In fact, the preamble
Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, we must to Republic Act 10557 clearly states: It is the
eliminate the ultimate corruption infecting our declared policy of the State to enhance the
design studiosthe group project. The very competitiveness and innovation of Philippine
idea of communal creativity is a contradiction products, create market-responsive design
in terms. Can one imagine artists sharing a services, while advocating economic and
canvas? Matisse on the left and Degas on the environmental sustainability. The State
right? When considering the absurdity of that shall also endeavor to promote an economy
vision, the responsibility of design schools to and society driven by design and creativity
every student becomes clear, especially when responsive to our fast-changing times and
supported by the regulatory admonition in reflective of the Filipino culture and identity.
Republic Act 9266 that entry to the practice of It could therefore be argued that design,
architecture is determined upon the basis of because it is central to the needs of the
individual personal qualifications. nation, should be of sufficient importance
to be returned to the architects licensing
Loosen CHED constraints examination. The final threshold a prospective
The State has stipulated an interest in
the education of the architect in order to It could therefore be argued that design,
promote a safe, pleasant and productive
framework within which our lives unfold. because it is central to the needs of the
How do we know this? The architecture nation, should be of sufficient importance
curriculum stipulated by CHED Memorandum
61 powerfully infers this objective. Under to be returned to the architects licensing
the section titled Policies, Standards; examination.
and Guidelines for the Bachelor of Science
in Architecture, design is identified as a architect must pass should be a vehicle with
cultural resource. Schools are unambiguously the capacity to demonstrate a baseline of
commanded to direct the thrust of competence and proficiency. Can it provide an
architecture education to the needs and accurate assessment of knowledge, experience,
demands of society and its integration into the capability and discernment, an effective
social, economic, cultural and environmental distillation of years of training? Given the
aspects of nation building. ubiquity of this kind of exam around the world
CHED further defines the architect as a the answer seems to be yes.
person who is responsible for advocating Yet the preparatory industries which have
fair and sustainable development, welfare sprung up in support of the board candidates
and cultural expression of societys habitat in suggest a gap between that which they know
terms of space, forms and historical contexts. and that which they will be tested on. If true,
In light of this directive, and the fact that that a uniquely presented set of concepts and
schools are not autonomous with respect to principles are served up during this exercise, Toby Guggenheimer
the architecture curriculum, the educational then perhaps the exertions necessary for success is principal of the New
York design firm, Tobias
establishment might profitably lobby for should be considered as the basis for a third Guggenheimer Architect,
looser guidelines so that schools may create body of knowledge (the first two being 5 years of PC. He taught Architecture
their own curricula to promote a diversity school and 2 years of apprenticeship) supported and Interior Design at Pratt
Institute, Parsons School
of approaches to architectural education. by a mandated addendum to the academic
of Design, and Fordham
Progressive building codes in some countries curriculum. In other words, if the typical eligible University, and is currently
encourage a more liberal, performance-based candidate cannot expect to pass the board exam Dean at SoFA Design Institute
alternative to the rigidly prescriptive tradition without additional preparatory classroom work, in Makati. Guggenheimer is
the author of A Taliesin Legacy:
we are familiar with. Why not similarly then is it not reasonable to expect either schools
The Architecture of Frank
provide space for innovation in design or government to offer such support as part of Lloyd Wrights Apprentices,
education? their mandate for education and oversight? published in 1995.

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of Architecture

Like global cities, architecture education faces the same challenge of articulating a global language and meeting internationally accepted standards while nurturing
distinct competencies anchored on unique local settings and attitudes. Bukchon Hanok is a historic traditional village in Seoul that exists within a relatively modern
city replete with glass and steel buildings. (Photo by Mark Christian P. Marcelino)

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alidating architecture Commoditization of
pedagogies is a process that architectural services
directs us to places where they Underlying the internally and externally
get translated en masse, within connected city is a production chain where goods
an international mindset and services change hands as they go through
cities. Often referred to as concrete jungles, value-adding processes. Architectural services
cities are the embodiment of prevalent are among the tertiary economic activities
architectural theories produced and reproduced typically hosted by global cities. Just like traded
in the academic realm. What do these urban goods, the services of the architect have in recent
settings tell us about how architects figure years been componentized through outsourcing
in the process that generates built forms and arrangements, redefining the creative process,
designed spaces? and raising intellectual property rights issues.
Cities clearly represent the quest for the
international. As hosts to activities that fuel the What does it mean to internationalize?
global economy, there is a growing perception Is it right, therefore, to conclude that
these economic centers are converging in internationalization, as exemplified by
function and form. Internationalization as an cities, breeds placelessness, cultural erosion,
economic concept sparks off strong emotions lopsided power structures, inflexible and
rooted in the fear of the weak being subsumed abstracted plans, and commoditization of
by the powerful, and of cities sans distinct creative services? If yes, does it follow that
cultural expression. architecture education framed within an
international mindset needs rectification if
Placelessness and iconism we are to reverse the trend?
Applying the concept of internationalization to
education instigates even more apprehension Internationalizing the product
over the prospect of knowledge reduced The free flow of information that comes
to a negotiated commodity. As such, the with a globally linked economy leads to two
power to control knowledge generation and possibilities. The first is a homogeneous world
delivery would also control the creation of resulting from the direct transfer of ideas
the spaces we move in. Is the homogenous from the powerful to the weak. The high-rise
character of cities today indicative of a generic condominium lifestyle set in a resort-like
process anchored on a universal goal to be development is being marketed as an alternative
internationally recognized? The goal to be at par to single-detached housing amidst the seemingly
with universally accepted standards results in irreversible densification trend in Metro Manila.
code-based design approaches that in the end There are products in the market that represent
yield buildings and spaces defined by a common the mass production of spaces that do not take
language. In the recent decades, this language into account factors like local climate, the way
has been manifested in glass, steel and concrete Filipino family members relate with each other
structures that make up the landscapes of so- and how we delineate public and private spaces.
called global cities. Hybridized designs allow the use of modern
The city is also marked by fierce concepts and technology while reinterpreting
competition for space and for attention. While features of vernacular houses that represent our
manifestations of mass production proliferate, own physical and social realities.
there are structures that stand out due to sheer The second is a world enriched by diversity
scale and eccentricity. Densely developed areas and novelty. One cannot seek out international
call for landmark qualities to make buildings competitiveness without developing basic
memorable. competencies in specific local cases. For
Social polarization is most glaring in the city, example, applying concepts such as design with
where architecture is a measure of status and nature entails an in-depth understanding of
a marker of class divide, distinguishing urban tropical design. Being a world-class heritage
from rural. With the physical structure comes conservation expert will have to begin with
a network of social structures that interrelate, setting a strong track record in protecting
oftentimes in an iterative manner. While the Philippine architectural heritage. An urban
network is complex and multi-dimensional, planner, who wants to work for international
the physical milieu accommodating it is organizations that upgrade living standards in
compartmentalized and oversimplified by cities all over the world, will be most effective if
internationally accepted space organizing tools, he or she can draw from personal experiences in
such as land use plans and building codes. similar initiatives in the Philippines.

BluPrint 27

To appreciate the second, it has to be noted the exercise of form-finding, which generates
that the convergence of foreign and local offers primarily physical outputs, the architecture student
opportunities for hybridization; and the point must also go through trans-disciplinary learning
of confluence of any two or more ideas can experiencesconcerns in psychology, chemistry,
jumpstart synergies. If architectural thoughts economics, law, finance and governance, among
are to contribute to the enrichment of the world many others, should figure in the formulation of
we live in, knowledge should not merely be physical design propositions. Order and sanitation-
transferred, and learning should go beyond the oriented strategies, for example, have resulted in
downloadables. Innovations beyond building physically segregated urban spaces. The outcomes
forms would take us out of the building type mode of our everyday spatial experiences reflect the
that has limited the array of spaces in present-day equally compartmentalized problem-solving
cities. Internationalization anchored on diversity approach adopted. For instance, the faddish word
calls for multi-dimensional spaces that do not reflect mainstreaming crops up in discussions related to
a one-to-one correspondence between function disaster management, gender sensitivity, heritage
and space, or between user and space. Overlapping, preservation, sustainability and accessibility. While
rather than compartmentalized spaces, better reflect these concerns certainly need to be amplified in
the dynamic social networks that are constantly contemporary times, it must be acknowledged
being reconfigured. Permutable spaces allow that they have always been in the architects so-
customization and contextualization in the midst of called checklist of design considerations; just as
mass production and product disintegration. designing with nature, user analysis, and building
on existing assets have been part and parcel of the
Internationalizing the profession programming process since ancient times. That they
Engaging architects from any part of the world in be made integral to the design process must not
the global production network is ideally based on be confused with singling them out among many
principles of reciprocity, defined by complementary other issues just because news headline events have
competencies. An architect aspiring to be a player brought them to the fore.
in the international arena can develop unique Enhancement of competencies that will
competencies around distinct geographical enable the architecture graduate to choose from
attributes, unique cultural settings, local governance a wide range of engagement possibilities in the
and political environments, among others. Here we global network of production necessarily hinges
highlight the notion that internationalization and on innovation. As with all traded goods, the
nationalism do not represent polar opposites in ability to meet the demands of the market is key
the spectrum of ideals. A profession that celebrates to survival in the international arena. Demand
the local is one better prepared to enter the is increasing not only in number, but more so in
international sphere. level of sophistication. Clients are not just after
Architecture as a career need not equate to low-cost services. They are becoming more and
a single pursuit over ones lifetime. Within the more concerned about quality. While in university,
duration of ones practice, an architect would most architecture theses and dissertations provide Grace C. Ramos, PhD
likely move from one part of the production chain venues for offering something new. This rite of is the President of GRANDT
to another, and need not follow a set sequence. With passage is supposed to indicate how able the Planners, Inc.; Program
Development Associate for
multiple paths and interventions in the designed graduating student is in processing and adding
International Linkages of the
environment to engage in, graduates of architecture value to knowledge acquired, rather than merely Office of the Vice Chancellor
should not be stifled by conventional expectations displaying knowledge retained. for Academic Affairs at the
as to what one must be doing at the various stages Lastly, while the architecture profession University of the Philippines,
Diliman; and faculty member
of ones career. Divergent paths leading to various is generally perceived as a route to material of the UP College of
unique forms of intervention account for vibrant security, its service orientation must be more Architecture. Prof. Ramos
urban environments that make each city distinct. vigorously inculcated in the academe. Architectural acquired her doctorate in City
outcomes, regardless of scale, always have public Planning from Seoul National
University; her MS degree in
Internationalizing the curriculum consequences. These, in varying degrees, influence Urban Development Planning
How then should architecture education be the way people think, live and interact with one from the Bartlett School of
preparing students for international practice? another. It can therefore be a powerful medium Architecture in London; and
Architecture degree from the
Given the intended products, architectural for addressing internationally relevant issues
University of the Philippines.
curricula are supposed to allow for a wide room for such as poverty, peace and order, and climate She also completed
creativity, making choices, and trying out various change. Design output always interfaces with the coursework in Housing and
combinations. A progressive academic program earth and the airspace above, which collectively Development Management
at the University of Lund,
in architecture is one based on a concept of space constitute the common domain. With the ability to
and has earned MBA units
not always bound by conventions, laws and impact comes the responsibility to conserve from Ateneo Graduate School
regulations, and static systems. While going through humanitys shared physical realm. of Business.

28 BluPrint

rafting, Design, Construction
and Researchthese are
the thrusts of Architecture
education in the Philippines.
Aspiring architects are expected
to be experts in the first three, while the last
is treated merely as a means to the first.
Current school paradigms concentrate
on developing skills in one or two of the first
three thrusts, with Design perceived as the
most prestigious. Less than 1% of a batch
will develop into starchitects in the local
setting, and fewer still will be considered as
such in an international arena. The practice
of architecture is competitive the world
over, and in the Philippines, it is one of the
most overpopulated and underemployed

professions. One way that an individual or
a small firm can jump ahead of the pack is
through specialization.
The days of general practitioners

in Education
like Arellano, Nakpil, Toledo and Antonio
are over. Given rapidly changing market
demands and the explosion on the scene of
new technologies and typologies, the fact of
architecture today is that in order to develop
IN ORDER TO PRODUCE plans effectively, efficiently and correctly,
the project team should be comprised of
specialists, just like a crack surgical team
ARCHITECTS, SCHOOLS SHOULD made up of specialist doctors.
REVISE THEIR CURRICULA TO Traditionally, specialized fields were
Image from

limited to interiors, landscape design,

INCLUDE SPECIALIzATION historic preservation, building systems and
By Dan Lichauco construction methods.

30 BluPrint

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Today, specialization in the practice has to concentrate on architectural space, then

expanded to space programming, acoustics, total built area as drawn by the student should
lighting, finance and feasibility, urban design, accurately correspond to the area specified in
energy conservation, specification writing, the space program; and a variance of, say, 5%
furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) in area would be penalized in the deliberations.
consulting, and construction management. This would require jurors competent in
Architects can also specialize in specific detecting such variances, among other
building types like hospitals, schools, airports competencies.
and museums. With ASEAN integration taking effect at the
Large firms cultivate these specializations close of 2015, the best way Filipino architects
in house, which can be expensive, and so hiring can distinguish themselves is to provide a
specialists on a project basis may be the more service scarce in the region. An architect fresh
efficient way to go. These specialists take the out of college can sell himself as a product
lead in the different phases of the job, with the of a good school, but possessing skills other
lead architect (not necessarily the designer) architects have yet to develop gives him a
acting as conductor and arbitrator of the distinct edge. Aside from drafting, design and
project. Few people will ever be chosen to construction, knowledge in areas like code
lead teams, so why not be a member responsible analysis based on international codes, space
for a key aspect of the building process? programming, financial feasibility studies
Only one can be president, but many can and faade consulting will be a major leg up
be cabinet members. in the promotion process. For boutique firms,
Another practical argument for
specialization is that it offers alternatives
to students who discover midway that they Specializationknowing what
cant be designers but still want to be in the you enjoy and are good at, and
building industry. Architecture schools in the
Philippines, however, do not even broach the concentrating on that fieldis the
idea of becoming specialists in a field of the
practice. The architect is seen as a Jack-of-all-
best way for an architect to compete.
trades, and Design, the end-all of the practice.
The thesis programs of most of the schools specializing in a certain building typology
are biased towards design, not allowing for a will allow them to branch into countries less
particular concentration in the thesis project. developed than the Philippines, as well as
There have been attempts to allow students compete in other countries that are further
to choose their field of concentration, but the along than ours.
programs invariably revert to being design- If one cannot gain expertise from our
centric. This may be due to the fact that jurors schools, then the crux of the solution is to take
and advisors are ill-equipped to deal with advantage of the Internet to avail of information,
specialty subjects in depth. There often is a to network with those more knowledgeable, and
gross mismatch between student and advisor, to challenge ones thinking and understanding
and student and juror. The schools in which at every opportunity in order for one to become
I have taught or participated in as a thesis an expert in his chosen field.
juror do not take the time to match students Philippine architecture education focuses
with faculty expertise. This is a valuable on training designers, and in some schools,
opportunity missed, as professors are required draftsmen. In todays highly competitive
to have masteral degrees, which would indicate landscape, architecture education could choose
an area of concentration, not to mention, most to maintain the status quo of Design as its main
faculty with active practices do develop areas thrust, but it must, in order to be of service to
of expertise. future generations of Filipino architects, push
To support the direction towards for areas of concentration as equal partners in Dan Lichauco is principal
specialization, the curriculum for design the thesis project. architect of Archion Architects,
which he established with
students in their 3rd year onwards would Specializationknowing what you enjoy
Peter Ong in 2000. He was
show an area of concentration that should be and are good at, and concentrating on that born December 17, 1963, but
reflected in design projects, and made part fieldis the best way for an architect to says he acts like hes 20. He
of grading criteria. Then, the thesis program compete, especially in the context of ASEAN completed his studies at the
University of Santo Tomas,
would likewise be modified so that the area integration and globalization. It could even
University of Michigan and
of expertise is explored in depth during be a route to becoming a starchitect in a University of Notre Dame in
deliberations. For example: if a student chooses specialized field. the US.

32 BluPrint

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Critical Thinking Working

in Design


AROUND US By Maureen Anne Araneta Consultation

spatial Studies
Organization Conceptual Design
Sketch Models


form finding




determination tio
of context
n Experiential
Problematize and Modes
be creative


This diagram attempts to capture how critical thinking

works in architectural design in our college. It is non-
client/Brief site linear and highly iterative, with the student going back
Requirements analysis to repeat steps as needed, as we critique the students
decisions along the way. Other modes of criticism are
data obviously valid (e.g. crit session, presentation to panel,
gathering peer evaluation) but the dialogue between design student
and design professor (i.e. consultations) is essential and
comes first in design class. Not included in the infographic
are the individual attributes of the design teacher and the
design student: teaching style, learning style, inspirations
and philosophy, to name a few.

34 BluPrint
e teach you to The first is establishing a state of perplexity,
think. We teach hesitation and doubt. Steer the conversation
you to think towards the assessment of the design. Question
critically. the students train of thought that led to the design.
I was speaking Determine what basis began the train of thought
before freshman potentialsboth accepted and in the first place. It doesnt matter what the answer
waitlistedand their parents at our college open isit can be as simple as compliance with building
house, when one of the fathers asked me for my code, or as introspective as paying homage to the
opinion on the perceived strengths of architecture delights of a past experience. Allow the student to
schools in Metro Manila. While each school is answer these questions.
strong in certain areas, he related that the UP The second sub-process is an act of search
College of Architecture is said to teach design that or investigation directed toward bringing to light
leads to architecture of the present. further factsto corroborate or to nullify the
This is not untrue, but it isnt the entire suggested belief. Challenge the student to find
truth either. The ever-present complexities of the rationale behind every design decision. The
contexteconomic, historical, social, political, answer, naisip ko lang, is not critical thinking. If
environmentalprovoke complex architectural an acceptable reason cannot be found for a design
problems. When UP Architecture students tackle decision by both teacher and student, an additional
these problems in design studio, they are taught to iteration in the design process has to be made.
run these complexities through a design process.
The design process, however, is not about
finding permanent solutions. Because constant It is never boring to be a design teacher
fluidity is our reality, there can never be just one because responses to the design process
design response. Change comes from all quarters:
the impact of natural disasters in the un-shaping of yield great variety.
our cities, the insertion of technologies in buildings
that predate them, and design trends that are at
once fickle and relentless. American architect Peter Guiding students in this manner gives them
Eisenman says that what architecture proposes the opportunity to think critically for themselves.
are interpretations of the environment that are It must be done for every student in design studio,
problematized. Problematization, an important no matter how large the class. It is exhausting. The
part of the design process, firstly requires spark of understanding does not always happen,
understanding the worldthe built and the but when it does, it is utterly fulfilling.
natural, the tangible and the intangible. Organizing It is never boring to be a design teacher because
this information is the next task. Once organized, responses to the design process yield great variety.
solvable and the unsolvable problems are Design is borne of past experience and prior
recognized. Through recognition, an architectural knowledge, the sets of which are as many as there
idea is introducedan idea that undergoes are individuals. The possibilities are multiplied
permutation and iteration, builds upon itself, further by the variations of creativity that occur
and continues to take shape. It becomes feasible during the design process. Acknowledging
through translation in form, space and materials this variety redounds to acknowledging the
architecture. individuality of the person who thinks critically and
This processthe design processis a messy responds uniquely. Perhaps it is this process that
task. With critical thinking, the messiness becomes makes people say that UP Architecture students are
comprehensible. With critical thinking, the taught to design architecture of the present. But
individuality of designers emerges. How We Think I daresay the process could very well yield designs
(1910), a monograph by American philosopher and that hark back to the past or foretell the future.
educational reformer John Dewey, documents one After the college open house, we had Maureen Anne Araneta
dons a number of hats at the
of the first definitions of critical thinking: Active, refreshments outside the amphitheater. Students, College of Architecture in UP
persistent and careful consideration of any belief parents and faculty were milling about on the Diliman: Assistant Professor,
or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grass, and the parent who asked me the question Director of its undergraduate
program and Head of
grounds that support it, and the further conclusions approached. We conversed amiably, the man
the Architectural Design
to which it tends. Without critical thinkingthe sharing that he and his wife were keen to send their Laboratory. She graduated
conscious and voluntary effort to establish belief son to another architecture school, but their son BS Architecture (cum laude)
upon a firm basis of reasonscreativity in design is was adamant to enter our college. The final decision in UP Diliman in 2002, holds
a masters degree for Urban
lost, and architecture is reduced to whim. will affect a young persons life. Wherever he
and Regional Planning, and is
To elicit critical thinking from students, Deweys finally pursues his architecture studies, may critical currently studying for a PhD in
two sub-processes can be applied. thinking prevail. Anthropology.

BluPrint 35

Paradigm Shift
Written and illustrated by Edson Cabalfin, PhD

he values embodied within 19th From architecture as singular and specialized
and 20th century models of profession
architecture do not completely To architecture as diverse, multifaceted and
address the problems of the 21st multi-disciplinary.
century. The value system embodied
in architecture education and the profession Architects should go beyond thinking of
needs to be recalibrated to meet the challenges the architectural object as the ultimate goal,
of the future. This manifesto makes 35 and consider the processes that engender
statements advocating for architecture that the designed environment. Architecture is a
is inclusive, democratic, equitable, humane, system, rather than an isolated object. We must
sustainable, innovative and creative. This teach our students to learn from a wide array
manifesto is a call to action. of disciplines and fields, such as neuroscience,
anthropology, engineering, medicine, art
From 19th and 20th century models history, philosophy, and others. Schools should
to a 21st century model make students work in interdisciplinary teams.
Instead of focusing on buildings, projects can
From architecture as buildings revolve around larger issues or themes, such
To architecture as designed and built as water, mobility and resiliencytopics
environment. that encompass broader and more complex
concerns. This process requires multiple
disciplines all working together to solve urgent
and intricate issues. Teachers should help
students to simultaneously ground their work
on the designed environment with learning and
insights from other fields.

From architecture as grand gestures

From architect as singular author To architecture as small and incremental.
To architect as multiple authors.

From architecture as homogenous voice

To architecture as heterogeneous voices.

From architect as preeminent project leader

and professional
To architect as collaborator, conduit, facilitator
and team member. From architecture as elitist
To architecture as populist, participatory and

From architecture as designed only by architects

To architecture designed by everybody.

From architecture for the privileged few

To architecture for the common good.
From architecture as isolated profession
To architecture as collaboration across disciplines From architecture as cool objects
and networks. To architecture as human-centered design.

36 BluPrint
From architecture as proprietary and specialized From architecture biased towards white,
body of knowledge heterosexual and able-bodied males
To architecture as open-sourced and shared body To architecture for all, regardless of gender, race,
of knowledge. class, sexuality and abilities.

From architecture as wasteful and shortsighted

To architecture as sustainable and future-oriented.

From architecture as individual expression

To architecture as expression of multiple perspectives.

From architecture as isolated and autonomous

From architecture as top-down and autocratic form-making
To architecture as bottom-up and participatory. To architecture as a complex system of economic,
political, socio-cultural and ecological imperatives.
Architecture focuses too much on people
with money and power. Whereas the histories Architecture should be inclusive. Projects
of architecture emphasize monuments and should address the needs of people of diverse
megastructures as the epitome of great backgrounds, abilities, contexts and types. Schools
architecture, teachers should cover a broader must teach students universal design principles,
scope of the designed environment. History and to apply them in various scenarios.
and theory courses should discuss efforts of Architectural education should embody
ordinary people in shaping their environments. sustainability in every phase of design.
Architecture history needs to be rewritten to Sustainable design should engage the ecological,
include those who are voiceless and have been economic and socio-cultural dimensions of
rendered invisible. the environment. Following systems theory,
In teaching studios, we must include users architecture is understood as part of an
who may not have the capacity to pay for our interconnected system. Our next generations
services. Students need to learn to design for of architects need to learn to design within this
everybody. Schools should teach participatory complex system.
design processes that engage with the In conjunction with sustainability, schools
community. Projects should include small and must teach future scenario planning methods,
everyday scenarios. Teachers: Architecture where students are taught to not just think of
should not strive only to be iconic. the present situation but also anticipate possible
Students should be trained to listen. future conditions. Teachers, show your pupils how
Schools should teach architecture as to identify larger trends and drivers that shape
participatory designdesign emerging from architecture, and have them design accordingly.
the users. In a human-centered approach,
teachers will need to learn diverse skills such
as interviewing, ethnography, participatory
observation, artifact analysis, discourse
analysis, qualitative and quantitative analysis,
and other tools so that they can teach these in
turn to their students to enable them to deeply
understand their users. Teachers, remind your
students that they are not to impose their own
values but to serve as channels of their users From architecture as beautiful, simple and
needs and hopes. pristine object
To architecture as polyvalent, messy and complex.

Architecture history needs to

be rewritten to include those
who are voiceless and have
From architects serving only 10% of the population
To architects serving 100% of the population. been rendered invisible.

BluPrint 37

From architecture as commodity and object

To architecture as process and product.

From architecture as produced, sold and consumed

To architecture as created, experienced and shared.

architecture as always in a state of flux.

From architecture as self-referential form-making
To architecture as design thinking and problem

From architecture as blind appropriation

To architecture as critical thinking
From architecture as static
To architecture as dynamic. From architecture as uncritical following of rules
To architecture as creative, inspiring and imaginative
From architecture as fixed, immutable and
To architecture as agile, adaptive and ephemeral.

From architecture as defiant

To architecture as resilient.

While aesthetic qualities and formal

manipulation have been emphasized in the past,
architecture education in the future should not
simply focus on architecture as a final object. From architecture as artistic expressions only
Students should understand the entire process To architecture as entrepreneurial and innovative
of creating architecture from conceptualization,
to construction, to its being used. Schools While architecture has long been rooted in
should teach design as an iterative process materials and structures, it should not be reified
where learning from failure often enough into merely a type of form manipulation where
allows students to refine their ideas. the ultimate goal is to create a unique form.
Next, students also need to understand Students need to see their form-making as part
the complexity of the built environment of a larger process of innovation. Architecture
by being exposed to building processes. education should foster innovation, critical
Prototyping would be an integral step in thinking and entrepreneurship as core values.
actualizing ideas. Schools should integrate We need to teach them how to innovate by
within their curriculum design-build learning from the sciences and the humanities.
programs where students are allowed to Critical thinking should be integrated in the
test their ideas through actual construction, curriculum so that students may begin to
to expose them to the intricacies of building question, challenge and innovate.
and the material conditions within which they Highlight creativity in the curriculum
are designing. to encourage students to develop a sense of
After the design is implemented, students exploration and curiosity. Imagination should
also need to see and understand how users be at the core of the design process.
have adapted to the building, and how the While recognizing that design has its
environment has changed the building. limitations, it should not hinder the imagination
Teach students post-occupancy evaluation of future possibilities. Rules, codes and laws are
methods so they may assess the life of necessary guideposts in designing, but these
buildings after they have been turned over should not straightjacket a students creativity.
to users. Students need to learn to design Additionally, optimism should also be fostered.
architecture that is resilient to changes within A sense of hope and positive thinking should be
and outside architecture. Through a cycle practiced throughout the learning process.
of conceptualizing-iterating-prototyping- Include lessons on phenomenology.
refining, the design process recognizes Architecture is about experience. Teach

38 BluPrint
students not just to design objects, but most
importantly, experiences. Put the needs of
the users at the forefront, and architecture
becomes the creation of positive and ennobling
experiences for these people.

From architecture as passive objects

To architecture as catalyst of change.

From architecture as apolitical and amoral

To architecture as social justice and equity.
Too many studentsand
From architects as passive bystanders architectsthink they will
To architects as active agents of change.
change the world by simply
From architecture as apathetic
To architecture as empathetic. dropping their icons and
monuments on the land.
projects for the community, focusing on
urgent needs and issues.
Schools should be advocates of social
justice. Lessons must include learning about
global issues that affect people, such as
poverty, inequality, global trade, modern
From architecture as firmness, commodity day slavery, environmental degradation and
and delight others. The study of history as well as current
To architecture as empowering, experiential and events should be integrated in the courses.
ennobling. Students need to engage in community
activities, not just as innocent bystanders but
From architecture as oppressive and subjugating as active participants in social change.
To architecture as liberating and emancipatory. I see pockets of genuine change taking
place in architecture education. In general,
Too many studentsand architectsthink schools make an effort to impart values,
they will change the world by simply dropping which, when taken to heart, will help direct
their icons and monuments on the land. We our future professionals towards paths
often teach architecture as passive, innocent, that contribute to society and the world in
neutral and inert objects. Instead, we should general. However, too much of our teaching is
teach that architecture has the capacity to lip service, and too much is left in the realm
instigate change in the world. Students should of theory. We have been way too complacent
be trained to become activists advocating and lazy to think and change. We also cannot Edson Cabalfin, PhD is
social causes and mobilizing the community. let money and power drive how we teach, Associate Professor in the
School of Architecture and
The world needs social entrepreneurs, learn and, ultimately, how we live. We need
Interior Design at the University
able to address social problems with an our students to get their hands dirty, to dig of Cincinnati. He received his
entrepreneurial approach and innovation. deep, to see from multiple perspectives. doctorate in Architecture in 2012
Change is necessary and designers should For genuine change to occur in architecture from Cornell University. Under a
Fulbright Fellowship from 2001
become catalysts of such change. education and architecture, we all need to to 2003, he received his MS in
Architects need to learn how to be work togetherschools, students, teachers, Architecture from the University
empathetic. Traveling should be part of the administrators, professional organizations, of Cincinnati. Prior to coming to
courses. We must immerse our students in institutions, users and clients. Architecture the US, he had received his BS
Architecture (cum laude) and
different living conditions, work situations that empowers and emancipates people, and MA degrees from the University
and social settings, including areas of intense instigates positive change in the future is not of the Philippines in 1996 and
poverty and humanitarian concern to something that will happen by chance. We 2001. He has taught in various
capacities at Cornell University,
understand what people truly need. Students cannot leave the betterment of our world to
should be required to perform community chance. The future lies in all of our hands. We teaching architecture, interior
work as well. Students can design and build need to change now. design, and art.

BluPrint 39

As Process
A NARRATIVE Text and illustrations by Stephanie Joyce Tan-Branquinho

40 BluPrint
housands of students start many questions regarding his project, his
each freshman year with the choices, and his method of thinking, his
question: What is the definition understanding. All the questions ultimately
of Architecture? The textbook boil down to: What is Architecture to you?
reply is, Architecture is the art As I was reviewing the 18 thesis projects,
and science of designing buildings. After I found that most of them follow a formula that
five years of plates, tests and projects, we looks something like the sketches below.
ask the graduating student the same, and he Although formulas help students produce
is given a chance to reply in the form of their projects, the end results more often than
a projecta thesis. not offer banal and simplistic solutions devoid
In architecture school, the thesis project of context, creativity and a deep understanding
culminates a students five years of education; of architecture. They lack rigor and depth in
it showcases what the student has learned. the journey from problem to solution. What we
The student presents it in a composition of often see are linear movements that guarantee
design and theory. After months of sleepless a project. Although there is nothing wrong with
nights, research, drawing, computer glitches following a linear process, it limits the ability
and every sort of drama in between, finally, of the student to explore and develop other
this is his defining moment. He is asked to design methods. It is like buying a pre-mixed
perform, he is asked to defend. He is asked Thesis Box with simple instructions to follow.
It is a guaranteed formula. All the student
needs to do is collect ingredients to come up
with a solution.
Often, students look only at the surface of
things and fail to see beyond an initial idea.
This stunted vision destroys the opportunity
to draw out more abstract concepts outside
of the obvious. What we are left with are
simplistic solutions that do not hold with
deeper theoretical questioning. It lacks a level
of rigor that I would define as thoroughness
in work, comprehension, coming up with
interesting questions or problems, an analysis
of relevant research, the development of
unique design processes specific to the
problem, and producing innovative and
creative solutions.

In architecture
school, the thesis
project culminates
a students five
years of education;
it showcases what
the student has

BluPrint 41

Some of the thesis projects show in their end

result ideas translated into literal metaphors.
An example of a literal metaphor would be,
say, the student seeing an interesting bottle
and then simply adding a program and a presentation and visual techniques that would
site to come up with a building in the shape hold up to international standards. The level of
of a bottle. This maybe be acceptable for a articulation of detailing, and the articulation of
freshman, but for a graduating student, clich. ideas are highly commendable. The works show
Another prevalent theme of thesis projects ambition and the desire of the student to be at
is translating Filipino Identity into a building. par with the best architects in the world.
The typical solutions are to employ indigenous Having said that, the thesis project can and
materials, add banderitas, throw in fiesta should be so much more. It has the potential
colors, and, of course, design with the climate to be a learning process that is investigative,
in mind. Voilits Filipino! If rendered well open, experimental and rhizomaticone that
with a dramatic sky, with just the right tinge gives rise to new questions and ideas; one that
of dusk or sunset with the piercing rays of furthers architectural discourse. Done right,
the sun, then weve got the hero shot. It looks the thesis project has the potential to be a Real
great. Its woeful how projects from Luzon to Defining Moment, a students personal journey
Mindanao are so similardifferent project, of What architecture is to me. Such journeys
different program, but same components. Some were manifested in a few of the projects here.
of the projects presented lack a more intensive Many faculty see thesis projects merely as a
process, and focus mainly on solutions laden requirement to pass. If schools would approach
with ornamentation that can be blinding in the thesis as the culmination of a learning
their glossiness. experience, of growth in terms of maturity and
On a positive note, the works we see now personal development, I daresay the outcome
in schools are quite impressive in terms of would be more personal and invested work.

42 BluPrint
Developing new design processes One example is the way of looking at a site.
The thesis presents an opportunity to Although data is present like the usual topographic
discover new design processes. This is a great map, land use map, wind analysis, historical
opportunity for the student to develop his own background and other data, the site is so much
technique and learn more about himselfhis more than this. I notice that the dialectic of the site
ways of seeing and developing architecture. and its translation are missing in many of the thesis
He can do this by looking beyond what is projects we reviewed.
prescribed, by looking at a problem in a different Understanding a site and its unique fabric is
way; by observing and creating patterns out of critical in developing a project. What is the context
seemingly unrelated things, composing them of the site in terms of history, economics, politics,
intelligently, and creating linkages between light, memory, space and creation of place? What is its
sound, wind, shadow, movement, people, culture, identity and how has this evolved? What are the
and so many other invisible elements that create memories that are there? How does the design
space and make experience and memories. process respond to these abstract ideas?
Seeing a process unfold is beautiful in Abstracting the site in all its layers makes for an
itself; it is the development of an idea. It is the interesting development in architectural program
language of thought. The design process can and solution. If a project responds to this dialectic,
indicate the values the student holds dear and it becomes richer and can develop into a more
how his mind works. The design process gives layered and thoughtful theoretical solution.
argument to an architectural solution. It is where
the ways of seeing a problem combined with Seeing architecture as phenomena
research and data can evolve into creative and In school we are taught to observe wind, sun,
innovative solutions. circulation, etc. These are definitely important
It is such an important part of education aspects, but how about the architectural
because it reveals how our schools educate. Do experience? Observe a group of people: What noise
we teach our students how to think? Do we teach do they make? What does this generate? How do
them new ways of seeing? Or do we simply want they sit? How does their body language reflect and
them to be good followers of prescribed formulas? affect their relationships? How do people relate?
Can their ideas hold up to argument from a What kind of environment is created? How do
theoretical standpoint? people use space? How do people use the city?
The value of focusing on process over final Questions could be developed to create even
work is that it demonstrates the kinetic nature more questions, reiterated and regenerated to give
of Architecture itselfthat it is not static, that birth to new processes and new solutions. How
it is not the final answer, that it can be the start can this affect the community? How do people
of discourse and that Architecture is only part interact in a setting? How can this solution create
of a narrative that contains space, space that new networks? Challenge the obvious solution and
transforms with peoples interpretation and push it one step further!
memories. A building is not the end.

Abstraction as a way of seeing

The abstraction of an idea is a powerful tool
that students could use. Abstraction does not
mean presenting illegible projects, but should
be understood as a way of seeing. Abstraction
is the ability to look beyond what is obvious,
to see something from many angles, it is the
process of exploring an object, deconstructing
its components, taking them apart and putting
them back together again. It is the experience of
investigating unseen components of an object,
a site or a concept.
Abstraction is the experiential process
that asks: What do I see? What can this be?
What makes it the way it is? The process of
abstraction would ask the student to go beyond
obvious solutions, delve into unfamiliar territory
and ask less generic, cookie cutter questions and
develop more specific queries related to the idea/
site/object/material qualities.

BluPrint 43

The importance of seeing Architecture not openness to learning. Openness is important in

only as an art and science, but also as a cultural the creative process, as empathy is integral to
and social event, calls for the student to see it designing successfully for people and their needs.
as an experience. The underlying phenomena Seeing in multi-dimensions through different
are important in the process of design. This disciplines reminds the student to set his ego aside
breaks away from the traditional top-down as new ways of pluralistic seeing are introduced.
approach to problem solving. Rather than Instead of simply becoming one who builds, he
imposing a solution, let it come about through will be one who builds for people.
understanding the multi-dimensional fabric of
spaces and places. Plural
Architecture is a powerful way of creating spaces Stephanie Tan-Branquinho is
principal architect of SpaceFabrik,
Multi-disciplinary for people. The way things are planned can control which does conceptual
Students asked to create solutions for problems how people feel, react, relate to others, affect faade projects such as Urban
who only see from one perspective fall into the their comfort and inspire. As a phenomenon, it Hive in Davao, and hotel and
idea that all issues are addressed in the form creates environments, events and chances. It masterplanning projects around
the country. Previous experience
of a building. One-dimensional projects come can create identities of communities, people and includes HSH Architekten in
about. When these projects are interpolated with culture. It is a kinetic library documenting the Berlin, and later, Foster+Partners
components such as identity, people, culture, they past, understanding the present, and predicting in London, where she worked on
multi-billion dollar projects such
fall apart. the future. Architecture constantly deals with
as Bab Al Bahr in Morocco and
Places and spaces can be and should be numerous issues, metanarratives, experiences West Kowloon Train Terminal in
understood in different ways. A multi-disciplinary, and seeming states of ambiguity. Hong Kong. She completed her
multi-dimensional approach to problem solving We live in a pluralistic world, permeable Masters of Architecture at the
Dessau Institute of Architecture
can help in creating a bigger trajectory in the and integrated. I wish that our architectural am Bauhaus, in Dessau,
study of Architecture that goes beyond mere definitions be more permeable to new ideas, new Germany, focusing on algorithmic
buildings to include politics, economics, sociology disciplines, have more discussions on Architecture methods, biomimetics and
and anthropology. Architecture thus becomes as a living, evolving study that is beautiful with its theories that bring sociology,
anthropology, psychology
richer as it makes new connections and networks. complexities and symphonies. As he will not get it and critical theory into the
The study can move between observation and in school, it is important for a studentindeed, it is understanding of architectural
interpretation. Philosophy and views widen as vital for architects who must be students for life spaces and processes. She
graduated with highest honors
multi-dimensionality takes place. to branch out and find new ways of study to find
with her paper, Diaspora Space,
In a way, a multi-faceted and contextual a meeting point between distinct and separate on finding identity through
response to an architectural project shows areas of thought to produce new ways of seeing. space and architecture.

44 BluPrint

The Nations
UnivErSiTy oF SAnTo TomAS, oUTSTAnDing ThESiS 2014

An unreliable aviation industry costs tremendous loss of opportunities in tourism and trade. Manuel wants to change the frayed image of the Philippine airport
system into an improved, efficient and modernized aviation destination that offers complete and sophisticated aviation facilities meeting global standards.

46 BluPrint
nlike many students, Jym Manuel extensively quotes John Kasarda, the proponent
started his thesis with a problem of aerotropolis or airport cities in his research,
he was itching to solve, not a Manuel sensibly limited his objectives to two:
building type he just wanted solve the problem of congestion in NAIA, and
to design. His father being an design an airport terminal reflecting the cultural
overseas worker, Manuel and his family have identity of the Philippines.
had more than their fair share of trips to Ninoy What the government is doingis all
Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to welcome facelifts, says Manuel. He reasons that the new
home and send off their dad. And as a frequent terminal should be located outside Metro Manila
traveller himself, Manuel has endured, like because NAIA no longer has room for expansion.
millions of others, the long queues and flight Citing the Study on the Airport Strategy for
delays at NAIA because it cant handle the volume the Greater Capital Region of the Republic of Vital Statistics
of flights in Metro Manila. The terminal and its the Philippines initiated by the Department of
grubby waiting area for family and well-wishers Transportation and Communications, Manuel Project Name: The New Clark
International Airport Terminal 1
were in need of more than an aesthetic overhaul. endorses former US air base Clark, now a
Unlike many students, Manuel didnt aim Freeport zone, as site of the new terminal. Location: Clark Freeport Zone,
for the sky. He had no lofty illusions of his By diverting international flights to Clark, Pampanga
proposal as an urban catalyst or solution to passenger volume in NAIA would be reduced to
Client : Clark International Airport
the countrys innumerable woes. Though he the capacity it was designed for. Corporation

Projected/Target Completion
year: 2020

Targeted Annual Passengers:


Site Area: Approx. 96.86 ha

(phase 1); Approx. 411 ha (full
gateway development)

Gross Floor Area: 99.87 ha

Number of Levels: 5

Building Height: 42.65 m

Number of Contact Gates / Fixed

Loading Apron Stands: 38

Number of Remote Loading

Apron Stands: 16

Commercial Aircrafts that can be

accommodated: Boeing 747 up to
the Airbus A380

Structural Concepts:
Backstructure Modular Unit
Construction, Point Freed Glazing

Materials: Glass Fiber Reinforced

Concrete, Steel, Photochromic
Reactive Glazing

Technology: Photochromic Reactive

Glazing / Suspended Particle Devices
on Smart Glass

BluPrint 47


01 Roofs of airports are the first thing that a passenger in flight will see upon take-off or descent. Hence, as an iconic statement, Manuel
designed a sculptural and fluid roof that suggests movement and activity. 02 One of the challenges of the project is accessibility. Located 83
km north of Metro Manila, which it primarily serves, the New Clark International Airport Terminal 1 needs to be supported by transportation
infrastructure to be viable and feasible.


48 BluPrint
One would argue that airport terminals have
standard typological solutions easily adapted given
the space, especially with the advent of Fosters
Stansted and Chek Lap Kok, wherein a big roof is
draped over the procession from landside to airside,
but to execute the said application of typologies to
specific site conditions and requirements is still a
challenge for any student. Manuel could have tried
to push into further resolution by detailing his roof,
which which offers challenges in structural span,
heat gain from his large skylights, and drainage
especially at the Welcome Pavilion.
Fellow consultant Stephanie Tan-Branquinho
adds that the success of Fosters airports and
transport hubs are creating sequences of traveling
through space in a very instinctive man-ner: The
airport plan should tell the passengers what to
do even without signs, and create a feeling of
familiarity and seamless navigation, which the
airports at Chep Lap Kok, Beijing and Stansted,
with their clear spaces and lit passageways succeed
in doing.
Another layer that could have added depth and
complexity to a straightforward solution, Poco says,
would have been the integration of a future rail hub
(which is supposed to connect Clark with Manila)
into the Welcome Pavilion, similar to the transit
terminals in front of In-cheon and Chek Lap Kok.
In his travels abroad, Manuel has found that
airports in other countries allow more space and
liberties for well-wishers compared to NAIA, an
amusing observation considering Filipinos are
highly family-orientedand proudly vocal about
it. So he allocated approximately 2,000 square
meters for a congenial social space where well-
wishers can send off and wait for their friend or
family member.
It is Manuels second objective that poses
a bigger challenge, one that cannot be argued
purely by logic.
In a multicultural society such as ours, how
do you synthesize various local cultural symbols
First impressions are Clark is operationally ready with two parallel and articulate it in the architecture of an icon and
crucial. As the gateway of runways capable of handling simultaneous opposite agent of globalization? Manuel found inspiration
the Philippines, the New
direction landings. It has space for expansion, in the ubiquitous banderitas hung during fiestas
Clark International Airport
Terminal 1 should, according and can accommodate even up to four runways and galas around the country. This, for him, best
to Manuel, act as concrete in the future. The project assumes the realization represents Philippine culture. So he articulated
cultural identifier of the of a government-initiated mass transit project his concept of 7,107 Islands, 7,107 Cultures,
country and city it serves.
connecting the former air base to the financial and 7,107 Colors of the Philippines, in roof
centers of Metro Manila. Manuels logic, as he argues louvers that modulate natural light similar to
his case, is entirely sound. that of Singapores Changi Airport. This roofs
In terms of architecture, BluPrint consultant photochromic properties emit a colorful play
Leandro Poco praises Manuels clean execution. of lights mimicking banderitas, and acts as a
He adds: The plan is logical and legible enough for counterpoint to the monochromatic scheme of
passengers to navigate and undergo departure or the terminal, following Manuels concept of design
arrival formalities. As Manuel reasons The basic contrast. While pretty, the idea of banderitas as
sequence of processing functions for the enplaning quintessence of the Filipino is a bit of a let down,
and deplaning of passengers has remained fairly especially after the excellent manner in which
constant from the inception of air travel. Manuel achieved his first objective.

BluPrint 49


This is the most sensibly executed

project from UST. I think UST students
do well when the premises are set
and correct - L E A N D R O P O C O
BluPrint consultant Stephanie Tan- as a domestic and international passenger,
01 Hoping to enhance
Branquinho, likewise finds the banderitas and a family member welcoming a loved one passenger experience as they
concept wanting. Though she admires Manuels home. Poco adds: This is a sensibly executed get off from the curbside to
skill at visualization, she says, The sense project from (his alma mater) UST. I think we the boarding gate, Manuel
used automated roof louvers
of belonging could have been more defined do well when the premises are correct, and the that control the amount of
not just through colors and banners. Poco designer keeps within bounds of typology and light into the building. Its
immediately noticed hints of Changi Airport brief. Expounding beyond an architectural made of SPD Smart-Glass
Terminal 3s aesthetic, and commented that it brief, innovating beyond typological norms, with photochromic properties
that change color upon
could use a bit of romance and Pinoy heart. or overreaching the physical bounds of what exposure to light. 03 The
Overall, Manuels thesis demonstrates a architecture can do to solve socio-economic design concept focuses
clear understanding of his target users. He problems, these are all too common pitfalls on colorful, vibrant and
heartwarming aspects of
executes and plans soundly, says Poco. That in thesis projects. As can be seen in Manuels
the Filipino culture translated
surely has to be because of his deep empathy Clark International Airport, he wisely chose not into architectural forms and
and intimate understanding of what its like to give in to such temptations. applications.

50 BluPrint
Says Manuel, citizens
leaving and coming back
to the Philippines must be
provided with a terminal
building conducive to the
Philippine traditions of
balikbayans and despedida.
The Filipinas Pavilion, a mini-
mall, is a place for greeters
and well-wishers to stay, dine
and mingle while waiting for
the arrival of or preparing for
the departure of their friend
or family member.


BluPrint 51

A Fab
Fab Lab

Located within the Science and Technology Park in the UP-Diliman

campus, beside the Ayala Foundation Technology Business Incubator
(Ayala TBI), and near the Department of Science and Technologys Art
Science and Technology Institute, the proposed Invention Center will
house facilities for three phases of the invention process: conception,
creation (fabrication of prototypes) and implementation (as a business).

52 BluPrint
What is a Fab Lab?
Created by Massachussetts Institute
of Technologys Center of Bits and
Atoms, a Fab Lab is a fabrication
laboratory designed for communities.
Stocked with digital fabrication and
electronics tools, and using open
source software and programs, its
purpose is to serve as a technical
prototyping platform for innovation
and invention, providing stimulus for
local entrepreneurship.
Launched in 2001 with the How to
Make (Almost) Anything class in MIT,
the school calls Fab Lab a platform

for learning and innovation, a place
Using the Internet as design concept, the author to play, to create, to learn, to mentor,
aims to replicate a similar liberal and receptive efore you scoff at the idea of to invent. Fab Lab users learn by
environment, which supports collaborative institutionalizing innovation and designing and creating objects of
production. The facility, Yu says, must itself creativity, think of one of the personal interestEmpowered by
serve as a model for translating generated the experience of making something
information into physical output.
most boring places on the planet:
for themselves, they both learn and
Singapore, circa 1990sorderly mentor each other, gaining deep
and predictable, its citizens notorious for their knowldege about the machines,
diligence, bland conformity, and unquestioning materials, design process, and the
engineering that goes into invention
compliance. But after 30 years of establishing
and innovation.
efficient institutions, Lee Kuan Yew decided it was Typical activities are woodworking
time to invest in culture, the arts, and out-of-the (manual and machined), metal
box thinking. With almost grim determination, the working, sewing, assembling
electronics, mold-making, laser
government set about promoting straight-laced
cutting, 3D printing, finishing and
Singapore into a fun and exciting center for art, final assembly. Fab Labs also require
architecture and culture. Overnight, members of documentation of production for
the underground gay community who before were sharing, particularly because they
allow free-access days.
persecuted (police raided gay establishments Over 200 Fab Labs in 30 countries
regularly, and those caught soliciting sex by around the world are networked,
undercover cops were caned) were not only the idea being that all the labs can
tolerated, but their artistic brethren invited to share knowledge, research, best
practices, designs, and collaborate
lead cultural endeavors. Many Singaporeans at across borders.
first scratched their heads in bewilderment at the
command to Go and be creative! but eventually,
little enclaves of home grown bohemian and
artsy scenes, and unexpected left field design
and architecture began sprouting in the little
garden state.
Filipinos, on the other hand, have no problem
being creative or inventive. We just dont have the
fab Fab Labs (and other support systems) that
Singapores students and man on the street have
access to. But what if we did? What if we had leaders
with the vision to build the fab-est Fab Lab of all?

BluPrint 53

Sun valley passive cooling & natural lighting diagram

How to make the funnels work

Some may reason that getting the Fab Labs funnels to actually work is a mechanical engineers job. is heated. Cold air would be able to come down if the tube were cold, which would be in the evening
But seeing how many hot buildings there are that supposedly incorporate passive cooling techniques, when there is no sunand less need for cooling.
an explanation of how the funnels should work is in order. The remedy is to simply use all the funnels (and atrium) for exhaust, since it is so much easier to
The drawing shows both intake of cold air and exhaust of hot air happening simultaneously throw hot air up. Cut the tops of the funnels evenly for a level rim so that from which ever side the wind
in one vent, but that is physically not viable. The funnels are cut diagonally on top. When the wind blows, it will cause a suction effect, exhausting air up to the top. All vents for exhausting from all of the
blows across the high leading edge of the cone, it will create a low pressure area, causing the passing floors should be on the high edge of the wall where it meets the ceiling. And all the floors/rooms should
wind to suck up air from below. Conversely, wind blowing across the lower lip of the cone will create have a source of cold air, which should be located near the bottom of the wall, close to the floor.
a positive pressure area, forcing air to go down. Whether the funnel will suck air out or push air in As a rule, so that there will be a complete exchange of air for the whole room, the source of cold air
would be subject to the weathers whiman unreliable system. One could, with the switching on of should be diametrically opposed to the vent for exhausting. If both exhaust and intake are on the same
dampers and fans, have a measure of control over whether to blow hot air out or suck cold air in, but it side of a room, only that side of the room will be exhausted, while the other end of the room stays warm.
still wouldnt work effectively. Additionally, the source of cold air should always be from a shaded area. One cannot just have
Part of the reason it would be impossible for cold air to enter the funnel is it is glazed. Once an opening to the outside, say, a parking lot where there are no trees, and expect the air to go into the
the sun shines on the glass, it becomes a heated tube, and all the air in this tube will be hot. Hot air room, because the air above the heated concrete would be hot. With hot air both inside and out, there
always wants to go up. A cold layer of air above would have difficulty coming down because the tube would be equilibrium, thus, no movement, much less exchange of air.

Section through atrium

54 BluPrint
The Invention Center:
Exploded Diagram
Atrium roof Sun valleys Four
The central focal funnels, which serve as
point providing balance columns for the structural
and spatial legibility floor mesh below, let
daylight and cool air in,
and hot air out.

Roof structure A series of

shed roofs connected by its
own structural steel frame.
Separating the roof system
from the buildings frees
them from columns, allowing
great flexibility in the use of
interior spaces. The chainlink
fence along the roofs vertical
supports allows climbing
plants to shade hot spots of
4th floor
the buildings.
Admin Above the atrium
is the Admin office
The Hive: Business
Pre-Incubator Functions Eureka: Innovation
as a shared office for startups Center A space where
of products created in the multi-disciplinary users
Invention Center. A training collaborate to generate
3rd floor
center for future entrepreneurs, novel concepts and
it aims to shape the values of ideas. The environment,
future companies toward open with its huddle rooms,
innovation, collaboration and white rooms, colorful
productivity. surrounds, and random
spatial elements to disrupt
routine, is designed to
Structural System foster creative insight.
Composed of steel columns,
the Sun Valleys and meshes,
on which rooms on upper
Digital and
levels are built. At the west
intermediate Fab
wing, steel tube columns
Lab Houses lighter
support the co-working area.
fabrication activities such
2nd floor as electronics, molding,
sewing, laser cutting and
Advanced Fab Lab 3D printing. Flex studios
Applying the concept provide expansion and
of interconnected multifunctional spaces,
compartmentalization, this while the gallery deck
area has rooms for heavier Upper ground
allows people to view the
fabrication activities (wood fab spaces below
and metal work, welding,
lathes, etc.), classrooms for Atrium The main
fabrication courses, and a vertical circulation
materials shop, all connected area of the building, it
by a central walkway. connects the parking
and Ayala TBI via a
Utilities The comfort rooms,
ramp through the indoor
mech-elec rooms, and two
Lower ground public lobby, while the
staircases (one of them an
private lobby serves as
enclosed fire escape) are
checkpoint for users.
stacked in the utility core of
From here, ramps to
the structure.
the fourth floor can
be accessed. A spiral
staircase and elevator
add ease of circulation.

BluPrint 55


02 03


Kurt Yu takes this crazy idea (not just of leaders needs without encroaching on anothers working
with vision) a step back and a step further: Before environment; of architecture as phenomena, in that
fabbing, what if we had a collaborative workspace it must foster creative, empowering, collaborative 01 Yus work won Best
Thesis for 2013 because
where people could ideate and innovate concepts and sharing behaviors; and finally, of optimization
of the rigor with which he
first? And then, after fabbing, what if we had a to lower construction and operational costs. For his questioned and re-evaluated
business pre-incubator, where entrepreneurial design concept, Yu chose the Internet because of its the usual forms one would
minds and investors could meet about taking qualities that he wants the architecture to embody: expect from an education/
institutional typology.
fabricated prototypes to the market? How would 1) interconnected compartmentalization, with According to his adviser,
such an innovation center be designed to facilitate separate but interconnected realms of knowledge Gerard Joson, Yu was able
these purposes, and indeed, institutionalize 2) customization, where users readily shape and to present a unique design
innovation within its community of users? re-shape the environment according to needs; brief, and was able to translate
his design approach into a
For his research, Yu studied the spaces of and 3) random opportunities for user insight concrete and exciting design
Fab Labs and other community-operated and interaction. solution. 02 The Innovation
innovation spaces, in search of physical and Sited in the University of the Philippines, Centers proliferation of white
business models. Because his Invention Center will spaces for brainstorming,
and with Ayala Foundation as partner, Yu envisions
huddle rooms and colorful
house activities other than fabrication, Yus layout the Invention Center to be used primarily by nooks are intended to provide
and business model are hybrids of and innovations students and faculty of UP and nearby schools, with quiet places for focus, and
on existing setups. project types revolving around engineering, design stimuli for creativity. 03 Areas
directly beside the atrium
Yu then defined his design problem as one and architecture, in collaboration with disciplines
and Sun Valleys may be hot
of flexibility to allow customization of the users such as business administration, marketing, spots given their exposure to
working, manufacturing and entrepreneurial information and communication technology. direct sunlight.

56 BluPrint
Yu envisions the Invention Center to Design or Fine Arts programs. This is not so, if
one sees the performance requirements of the
be used primarily by students and architecture. Yu systematically listed 10 goals,

faculty of UP and nearby schools. each with 3-4 performance requirements (for
a total of 38), which he then translated into
design requirements accompanied by sketches
to illustrate how the spaces, paths, systems and
Yu succeeds in fulfilling his goals, which he furniture would work and interrelate when the
frames with this mission statement: To create a Center is built, and when expanded in Phase 2.
liberal and receptive environment that supports At the start of his thesis, Yu quoted from his
personal and collaborative production similar research, a compelling argument for a creative
to the Internet by translating the degree of environment like the Invention Center: Once
personalization and frequent opportunities for a person has inadvertently committed himself
interaction from virtual space to physical space. to a partially effective living or working space,
If there were one matter to take issue with, economic considerations make drastic change
it would be the architectures defining features: difficult. Whats more, lacking concrete knowledge
a large atrium and four sun valleys, which are of improvements that could result from a more
Other Community
Innovation Labs structurally vital to Yus design. The five funnels appropriate environment, the individual is
serve as the inner columns for the buildings, hesitant to risk additional expense and effort for
There are other community-operated to which the floors of the upper stories will be elusive gains. And this is why, as in many other
facilities with the same collaborative- attached. They allow Yu to do away with structural realms of life, people continue to live with what is
peer production environment as Fab
columns inside the buildings, to maximize only partially satisfactory, discouraged by the cost,
Lab. Yu researched the layouts and
operations of the following: flexibility of interior spaces. The steel and glass effort, and the risks of drastic experimentation
funnels provide daylighting, passive ventilation with change.
Sharing Platforms is a shared and pleasant views of greenery. But no promise of Singapore is an example of a country that
workshop equipped with typical
fabbing machines
passive ventilation can make up for the unbearable took the risk of drastic experimentation with
heat and glare users will be subjected to at the change. They were stable, all systems running
Open Source Hardware In addition height of summer, which, as we experienced with smoothly, everything painted by the numbers
to open source software, they provide last Mays blistering 41 heat wave, seems to be what possessed them to encourage people to
equipment and machinery (laser
cutters, CNC routers, etc)
getting hotter and hotter each year. think for themselves, to create, and to make
Yus Invention Center may seem overly large design a national priority? The same vision that
Hackerspaces has as its focus and unnecessarily fancy. Naysayers will opine that made Singapore one of the worlds most livable
computers, technology and digital
its functions can be housed in modest classroom cities, and the second most competitive country
or electronic art, and describe
themselves as places where people buildings, as an extension of UPs Engineering, in the world.
can learn about technology and
science outside the confines of work
or school.

TechShop has a more solid

commercial business model requiring
paid membership for facility use.
It focuses on the physical product
and targets inventors, D.I.Yers,
entrepreneurs, artists and designers.
Both TechShops and 100k-Garages
focus on constructing the final design
of the user, playing very little to
no part in the design process. The
difference between these two is
TechShops constructs designs made
by their users, while in 100k-Garages,
user designs are bid out to fabricators.

The difference between all of the

above and Fab Lab is the latters
commitment to commons-based peer
production. A product constructed
by an individual is not an end in itself,
but a means for others to build on.
FabLab does not focus only on the
technical aspects of constructing an Kurt Yu smartly did not propose the Invention Center as the solution to the countrys unemployment woes, or moribund
invention, but the innovation journey architecture and design industries. He simply (and rightly) assumed that Fab Labs are good for communities. His thesis is a
itselfthe design process in creating success because he identified a solvable problem: How can the design of the Invention Center adapt and respond to the
an innovative solution to a problem. dynamic working, manufacturing and entrepreneurial needs of each user on a personalized level?

BluPrint 57

Casa Kawayan

58 BluPrint
The site is a 3.5-hectare piece of land in Antipolo, hristian Salandanan is bent
along Sumulong Highway. To the north is the on one thingdoing bamboo
Our Lady of Fatima Antipolo campus, and to the
south, a private rest house. The site is ideal for
architecture and helping
the research center. The temperate climate and grow the bamboo industry
the loamy soil make it a good planting ground for in the Philippines. His model
bamboo, and its proximity to the city proper, as
is Vo Trong Nghia Architects, a leading
well as Antipolos proximity to the major urban
centers, assures that the researchers wont be and multi-awarded Vietnamese firm that
working in isolation. experiments with indigenous materials
like bamboo to explore new ways of doing
green architecture with an Asian essence.
In search of a mentor, and a great admirer of
Bobby Maosa, Salandanan went to intern at
Maosa Architects to see whether the firm,
under Maosas sons, was doing experimental
work with bamboo. To his disappointment,
they hadnt used the material in a significant
way in years. Unfazed, Salandanan decided
his thesis project would be his head start on
his chosen career path as bamboo architect.
But first, why bamboo? The author
presents compelling arguments for its use in
construction, agriculture and manufacturing
sectors. Some of the grasss positive
qualities include versatility, low weight,
resistance to strong winds and earthquakes,
tensile strength (comparable to steel) and
fast growth. Apart from opening up job
opportunities, the author argues that the
widespread use of bamboo could help create
a national identity and a sense of place.
Developing the bamboo industry would help
reconnect us with our roots.
Salandanan attributes the lack of
appreciation for bamboo to the perception of
it as poor mans timber, lack of knowledge
in its utilization, and the absence of
collaboration between the three government
agencies tasked to develop forest-based
products. Salandanan therefore proposes
Casa Kawayan, a research center for
scientists, manufacturers and designers using
the material, which will also showcase the
beauty and possibilities offered by bamboo
through its architectural design.

The author argues that the

widespread use of bamboo can
help create a national identity
and sense of place.

BluPrint 59


03 04


Casa Kawayan is composed

of seven main buildings, with
a one hectare area allotted for
a bamboo plantation.

60 BluPrint
02 02


Casa Kawayan is composed of seven main
buildings, with one hectare of land allotted
to a bamboo plantation. Through interviews
with scientists and experts from government
agencies developing forest-based products,
the author ascertained what facilities were
needed for the research and development
of bamboo: a main building for researchers,
a gallery building, in-house training center,
treatment facility, material science division
building, utility building and a canteen.
Each structure is made from bamboo
poles to showcase their use in construction.
Salandanans research shows examples of
bamboo architecture from around the world to
illustrate that it can be done. We are doubtful
about the advisability of bolting bamboo poles
01 The main building where research into bamboo construction products, techniques and together, which BluPrint consultant Leandro
innovation will be housed. A tri-layered roofing made of bamboo matting serves as the Poco says is doable but not very advisable: The
architectural highlight of the structure. 02 In this section, the author shows how his structures
will use engineered bamboo shingles for durability, multi-layered roofing to allow maximum air
moment you penetrate the shell, you weaken
intake and insulation against the tropical sun, and bolted bundled bamboo on concrete pedestals it because you compromise the continuity of
for columns. 03 Through sketches, Salandanan shows how he will bolt bundled bamboo poles the fibers and expose the bamboo members to
and bamboo members together to make trusses and other connections, a method that BluPrint
linear shear. Thats why bamboo structures and
and its consultants doubt the feasibility of. 04 A nursery building designed to shelter bamboo
propagules for their first few months, before they are transferred to the plantation grounds. scaffolds are lashed together, rarely bolted.
Bamboo grows fast, developing a root system supporting the soil in a matter of weeks. Three A quick check on the Internet shows there are
to six-year old bamboo can already be harvested for construction purposes. 05 Three spiralling bamboo builders who do bolt bamboo poles
bamboo water collection towers will be constructed using a most unique methodmushrooms!
together, but have to reinforce the bamboo by
The hollow bamboos will be filled with mycelium (mushrooms) and natural composite materials.
Within weeks, the mycelium will grow, compact, then harden like concrete, preventing water from lashing them together, as well as by placing steel
escaping through cracks and openings. and even concrete inside individual members.

BluPrint 61

01 02


For the design concept of the research center, choice of project and the amazing graphics,
Salandanan takes from the bamboo rhizome and and commends him for demonstrating process,
its ability to reproduce by sending out shoots and and for being creative and very articulate
roots, the new growth interconnected with each in bamboo construction. She says: The
other and the mother node. Such connectivity positioning of the buildings on the site would
is meant to symbolize that the previously be better if it really had the true essence of
uncoordinated efforts of government agencies, Deluze and Guattaris rhizome. It is very top-
would, in Casa Kawayan, be harmoniously down planning versus the bottom-up
interconnected. The author succeeds in applying rhizomatic process.
the rhizome concept on a micro level (within With the growing interest in re-discovering
the structures), but on a macro level, achieves it and developing bamboo in other Asian
merely by connecting the buildings via pathways countries and in Europe, Salandanans thesis is
with interactive nodes as interlocking elements. refreshing in its optimism and enthusiasm for
BluPrint consultant Stephanie Tan- a material that too many in our country hold in
Branquinho praises Salandanans work for the low regard.

62 BluPrint
01 The gallery building, where the
prototypes and bamboo product
For the design concept innovations will be displayed.
02 Housing units on site will

of the research center, accommodate visiting scientists and

guests undergoing training or study.

Salandanan takes from

03 Casa Kawayan will also be home
to a training center where builders,

the bamboo rhizome

artisans and manufacturers learn basic
weaving, bamboo pole treatment and
04 construction techniques. The author
and its ability to even drew up a module for seminars.
04 As the technical data backbone

reproduce by sending for the research center, the Material

Science Division building contains

out shoots and roots. physical and chemical departments

where scientists can experiment on
the plants properties and enhancing
these. Openings on the sides allow
for ventilation. 05 Casa Kawayans
canteen and events space with high
ceilings and leaf shaped roofs


BluPrint 63

Golden Spiral
UnivErSiTy oF ThE PhiLiPPinES, oUTSTAnDing ThESiS 2012

The aerial perspective shows a prettily landscaped complex, whose greenery will be seen by few patients in the main building. Who is supposed to utilize the
green roofs, particularly on the Support Facilities and Parking buildings (bottom and right structures)? There is no discussion on the design and landscaping of
these roofs, and it is doubtful such trees will survive typhoon winds, particularly since the site is beside Manila Bay. Schools would do well to make students work
in multi-disciplinary teams.

64 BluPrint
hen the author
submitted her thesis
project materials to
BluPrint, she included
scans of the jurors
handwritten notes, and a transcript of the
panels comments during oral presentation and
deliberations. In the latter, she incorporated
her responses to judges queries that she was
unable to answer during deliberations, as well
as schemes that she revised to incorporate
their recommendations. (This is the norm in
UP. If a juror wants additional drawings or
explanations, the student has to submit them
before the juror approves the thesis.) The The author placed the Parking Building (left) beside the Admin Building (center) because the
employees would use the parking more than anyone in the complex. Doctors, nurses and
material was too good not to use, so here we patients relatives and visitors may walk to the Main Building (partially hidden by the Medical
present a unique perspective of Georgiana Gos Center building on the right) from the Parking Building via a bridgeway, but that would make for an
Fontana Vitalis, a hotel-like hospital village unnecessarily high volume of traffic passing through the Admin Building. People heading for the
medical center must first pass through the Admin Building, then the Main Building.
that incorporates biophilic principles in its
design, which she says will serve as urban
catalyst. The consolidated transcript was the two spaces are in one building, yet they seem like two The Hospital Village
edited for purposes of brevity and clarity only. distinct entities, as their functions do not overlap. According to the thesis author, the
proposed design breaks down a
PCL: If the dietary is in the support facilities, how do you massive tertiary hospital into a series
Prosperidad C. Luis: You have a beautiful smiling face, propose to deliver food to the patients? of smaller spaces. One functional
excellent Powerpoint presentation and commanding voice. GG: In my concept, I break down the massive tertiary hospital goal is for inpatients to receive care in
close proximity to their room, leading
The graphics helps understanding; the walk-through animation typology into a series of smaller spaces in order to provide a
to the decentralization of diagnostic
whetted my appetite into wanting to enter the facility. more efficient means of service. As such, the main dietary is and treatment functions of typical
Georgiana Go: Thank you! in the support facilities building where food is prepared and healthcare facilities.
PCL: Your layout of healthcare spaces was excellently subsequently distributed to other parts of the building and
planned and carried out. Very professional, very impressive! stored in respective storage and pantry areas provided for in
I found no mistakes, except I am concerned about your support the floors.
facilities wherein you located the morgue and the dietary in PCL: How can your facility relate with the School of Biophilic Design:
one building? MetrobankManila Tytana College? The Architecture
GG: Yes, the morgue and the dietary are in one building, but GG: A bridgeway connecting Manila Tytana College was of Life
By Stephen Kellert & Bill Finnegan
the morgue is in the lower ground of the facility building, proposed and discussed in the proposal.
and its fenestration orients to the south, while the kitchen PCL: How can the curved faade be maintained in the long Biophilia is the love for life or
is located on the upper ground and will never have ducts runwindow-cleaning equipment? living systems, and describes the
connected to those of the morgue. The kitchen complex GG: The facility will be cleaned using the Skybot robotic connections that human beings
subconsciously seek with the rest
likewise has an entrance oriented opposite the morgue. The window washing system, which gets windows cleaned
of life; and mans affinity, attraction
plan is laid out in such a way that there is no connection at all faster and cheaper than human teams. A Computer Building to and need for contact with the
between the two floors in terms of ventilation and circulation Maintenance Unit (BMU) controls the Skybot, and these natural world. Biophilic design can
for the morgue and the dietary. This can be loosely compared robots can be placed on any shape, position; it can also reduce stress, enhance creativity and
expedite healing. It:
to the arrival and departure wings of an airport terminal where operate in any weather. Integrates sustainably produced
natural materials, natural elements
(like water) and natural processes
Front elevation of Fontana Vitalis (like wind)
Echoes the forms and patterns
of nature in graphic, symbolic,
biomorphic and biomimetic (human-
made processes or systems that
imitate nature) ways
Values the spirit of place and
heritage, and promotes an integrated
human and natural community

BluPrint 65


Georgiana Gos Fontana
Vitalis is a hotel-like hospital
village that incorporates
biophilic principles in its
design, which she says will
serve as urban catalyst.

01 The five buildings (starting from center, clockwise), Admin, Parking,

Support Services, Main Building and Medical Center, spiral out like
the inside of a nautilus shell. The Parking building has a bridgeway to
the Admin Building, the Admin Building to the Main Building, and the
Main Building to the Medical Center. 02 Main Buildings second floor
plan shows three landscaped areas that few in the building can enjoy.
The large roof garden on the left is beside an imaging room, various
labs, storage and lockers. Toilets are adjacent to the interior garden at Second
the center, and the tiny pocket of green below is blocked from view by Floor Plan
elevators. Rooms like the gym or rehab and waiting areas could have
been located and oriented to enjoy these greens. The same problem
occurs on the fourth floor, with a pocket garden enclosed by disposal
area, soiled/clean linen rooms, and an instrument decontamination room.

66 BluPrint
This will be positioned on the concrete and cladding areas to any rectangular or curvilinear shape, and even installed
of the faade. Another method I propose for the ease of on the ceiling. In any case, if this proposed LED-imaging
maintenance of the curved surfaces would be hydrophilic technology is still questionable, I have also refurnished my
self-cleaning glass. architectural drawings to include actual windows in the
wardrooms that open to real outside views. Kindly refer to
Gerard Thomas F. Joson: Hi Geo, youve been my student my sheets for the revised drawings with window layouts. If
in past classes and this is actually the first time Ive heard the city view is starting to get really ugly over the years, the
you speak! windows can be subsequently filled with LED.
GG: Hi Sir! GTJ: Where is the ambulance bay in your main building?
GTJ: Really good concepts (nautilus-blobitecture-biophilia) GG: Its right here, Sir!
create sensuous forms; maybe it can be expanded to interior GTJ: The floor-to-floor heights are too low, you have to
materials, colors, etc. Why are the admin building and parking allot additional clearance for beam depth, ducting for A/C
building too close to each other? and utilities. The spiral of the nautilus
GG: Because users in the admin building, where the GG: The floor-to-floor height is enough to provide shell inspired the
executives stay, would utilize the parking building more than sufficient crawl space for maintenance of machinery configuration of buildings
in Geo Gos Fontana Vitalis
anyone in the complex. It is directly accessible to the Main within the interstitial space. I have also included a revised hospital complex.
and Med Center via bridgeway, thus the circulation and the detailed drawing with increased floor height as per your
transition of spaces would be good in terms of sequence. recommendation. This will entail an overall increase in the
GTJ: The Main Building seems too massivehow does height of the main building, which cannot be reflected in the
nature enter the interiors? design drawings due to time constraints.
GG: It may be massive but it does not waste land space in
the city. The initial program was broken down as much as Enrico B. Tabafunda: Hi George, how can the therapeutic
possible as a means of incorporating biophilia into the overall benefits of biophilic design be quantified in studies?
design. Nature enters the main building through interior GG: Evidence of natures benefit to healing was extensively
pocket gardens that help enliven the inpatients biophilia. discussed in the review of related literature.
GTJ: The segregation of buildings is too distant; the forms are EBT: How do you strengthen biophilic ideas in how the
too separate from each other. interiors are designed?
GG: Forms should be kept distant for fire and disaster GG: For the interiors, I generally followed the checklist from
management. Segregating the forms into mini buildings within Biophilic Design by Stephen R. Kellert, et al (2008):
a complex will result in a more structurally sound development Concept of
1. Incorporating vegetated atria and interior planting beds
Urban Catalysts
especially during earthquakes, as opposed to one massive 2. Providing potted plants and small garden strips by Dorm Logan and Wayne Attoe
building form. Curvilinear structures resist loads far better than 3. When views to nature are very much impossible (most
rectilinear structures of connected flat planes, disseminating especially in urbanscapes), natural building materials A catalyst is an urban element
loads evenly throughout the structure (Tsui, 1999). If I make (wood grain, patterned stone, etc.) and artificial high shaped by the city that in turn
shapes its context. Catalytic urban
the five buildings into one structure, this would make the form definition nature views can be used. design works not from a master
even more massivethe aforementioned comment on the 4. Organic forms should be incorporated into buildings; plan, but from a master program.
main building was it is too massive. Moreover, segregation organic, curvilinear furniture if possible in the years It sets out intentions and methods
but not solutions. It uses zoning as
of the buildings into distinct forms was the intended design to come.
combined tools of control, guideline
translation of biophilia. I wanted to make a healthcare village I had also initially provided operable windows with views to and incentive. It is characterized
which entailed the breaking down of the tertiary hospital the core waterscape in the development. by sequencing of development.
into a more distributed body that still functions as well, if not EBT: Did you consider healing colors, natural materials, It thus calls for both idealism and
pragmatism: idealness about
better, than a mega hospital. biomorphic furniture? the specialness of the place, and
GTJ: The wards have no windowshow does the concept of GG: Yup! pragmatism about making the place
biophilia and nature views relate here? EBT: Did you consider biophilia in terms of the color scheme? work in relation to contemporary
GG: Because of rapid urbanization, there is barely anything GG: I sure did! White is the applied color since it has the traffic needs and local culture and
values. This dual need calls for a
therapeutic about Manilas city views. Windows of the wards highest heat reflectivity and it harmonizes with the green unique vision for each urban place.
facing the core of the facility have nature views, so I included surroundings.
windows in that direction. But wards on the other side have
little to no nature viewsthey face the Manila Bay area, Ruel B. Ramirez: Hi George, consider removing the columns
but many views are obstructed, and in the long run, any that block the lobby and atrium of the main building.
unobstructed views will be blocked by towering developments GG: Sure, sir. I have removed the columns as per your
that are beyond the control of the client, Metrobank. recommendation, since the main building will not be
Consequently, I proposed that illusions of nature be provided expanding any further as it has reached the maximum number
by the installation of LED windows showing high-resolution of floors (10 floors) in the development.
photographic images of lush, moving, picturesque landscapes RBR: Also consider removing the columns that obstruct
far from the city. These LED panels have been used in vehicular circulation in your parking building.
healthcare settings. The viewer experiences little difference GG: Actually, in the plans, these are not columns but
between a view of real nature scene and the high-definition directional arrows of the intended/planned vehicular
image of the same scene. The LED windows can be designed circulation in the parking building.

BluPrint 67

RBR: Why did you choose that site? GG: Actually, I already consulted with a structural engineer 01
GG: First of all, it was located in Pasay because as per the DOH beforehand. The columns were already planned for future
bed need computation, there was a lack of beds in Pasay City. expansion, hence the number of columns.
RBR: But why place it in the reclaimed area? RBS: No further questions, then!
GG: The project was located in the Metropolitan Park GG: Thank you Sir!
because Federal Land/Metrobank will be the principle client.
The client owns a significant portion of reclaimed land in Reading the authors thesis leaves one with
Pasay City, and has plans of constructing the Metropolitan many unanswered questionsperhaps more
Park development. They have allotted a significant parcel of information was imparted during the oral
land right next to the Manila Doctors College (which they presentation?
also own) with the intention of building a hospital. The initial One of the jurors inquired how food,
hospital plans for construction were of the mega hospital prepared in Support Facilities would be
typologytall and imposing, etc. I proposed a different delivered to the Main Building. Where do they
take by introducing biophilic design principles into a new pass, especially when it rains, as there is no
healthcare typology, the healthcare village, while still retaining connection between the two buildings.
the land in which they had already zoned to be a healthcare Just as there is no connecting corridor
institution in the Metropolitan Park. for food and linen services to make it from
RBR: Good answer, George! the kitchen and laundry area to the main
GG: Thanks, Sir! building, there is no passageway for taking
the deceased to a proper holding area; and the
Romeo B. Santos: Geo, you spoke with enthusiasm morgues plan does not indicate a receiving
and conviction and I would like to commend you for that. area for family members to claim their loved
Moreover, I believe that the translation of your concept was ones remains.
very successful. Go says that the future hospital typology 03
GG: Thank you, Sir! will move away from the mega hospital to that
RBS: Can you please stress again: How exactly does the form of a healthcare village, and decentralizing
influence the therapeutic character of the hospital? diagnostic and treatment services will bring
GG: The shell is a natural structure that mollusks possess to them in closer proximity to patients rooms. But
provide protection for their sensitive and weak bodies. The wouldnt decentralization mean patients having
nautilus shell became the inspirational form since it has a to go to more floors or even buildings because
rational and dynamic symmetry that follows the golden ratio. The these functions have been spread out? There
function of the proposed development is just like the shell where is no discussion of how it would work, which
inside lies the weakest, most vulnerable part of the nautilus. one would expect of an innovation claiming to
RBS: Why follow the golden proportion? improve on a typology.
GG: The spiral plan is natures perfect solution. The golden Why are mothers rooms on a separate floor
ratio as computed by Fibonacci is a natural number system from their newborn infants? Isnt it the more
expressed in the golden spiral that is found all throughout progressive practice for mothers and babies to
nature. One of the most common examples of this is even room in together?
the nautilus. By programming a space based on natural Views from the Main Building of roof
01 & 02 With the exception
dimensions, I hoped to reinforce the experience of nature as a gardens and interior landscapes are of the use of wood-like
means of providing a therapeutic environment. Moreover, the disappointingly few for a project that aims surfaces, and some hints
spiral-shaped plan nicely integrates this reduction in space in to uplift the spirits of the weak via scenes of of green, its a bit of a
stretch to claim that the
its tighter portion while simultaneously creating larger, open nature. Configuring buildings to fit within
Main Building atrium and
spaces for the core. An added benefit of the shell shape is its the nautilus shells golden spiral is a facile entrance lobbys design is
gradual winding spiral that increases in height. The form of interpretation of biophilic design. Go says biomorphic, biomimetic, or
the complex also follows the shape of a shell with the support people cant tell the difference between views one that enlivens biophilia.
The intense heat and glare
facilities being the smallest, gradually winding off in a counter of nature and high-definition video of it, so why coming through the glass
clockwise direction up until the last structure, the main not just fit all the windows of monolithic mega cladding during summer will
building, which is the tallest of the five structures. This plan is hospitals with LED screens? increase cooling costs and
perfect for natural ventilation with regard to wind circulation BluPrint consultant Leandro Poco gives his have people avoiding the
area. 03 & 04 Renderings
because the varying heights of the buildings keep the wind comments: Innovation by bringing in nature show the authors intent
circulating inside the complex for longer. into the hospital. The greenery was put onsite, to offer hotel-quality
RBS: Can you please elaborate on the phase expansion? How around the buildings and on their roofs. There patient rooms with a mix
of soothing and lively color
many additional floors will be added to the parking building? were some attempts to create garden atriums
palettes. 05 Rendering of
GG: All buildings in the proposed structure may rise only but in most cases, the technical requirements one of the Main Buildings
up to 10 storeys for structural integrity since it is a lot in a of the hospital typology tended to overrun interior gardens. Located on
reclamation area. these pockets of interior greenery. the sixth floor, this will be
enjoyed by patients in the
RBS: Because this is on reclaimed land, I think you have In some cases, the functional typology womens wards. Patients in
to consult with a structural engineer on the stability of ended up erasing these interior pockets, the floors above may enjoy
the expansion. creating deep floor plates with interior spaces the view below.

68 BluPrint

04 05

Vital Statistics

Client: GT-Metro Foundation,

chaired by Dr. George Ty
Site: Metropolitan Park,
Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
(reclaimed land)
Project construction cost:
without any windows and away from these but hollowing out a larger open space in the P5 Billion
green spaces at the exterior middle from which her biophilic design intent
The thesis aims to become an urban could germinate and permeate the program. Phase 1:
Main Building (inpatient) - 300 beds
catalyst, but does not help establish any urban That would have done great to establish an Medical Center Building
edge or activate any interaction with the urban artifact in an otherwise blank area (outpatient) for diagnostic services
surrounding blank urban fabric. It is essentially devoid of context. and 104 doctors clinics
a building placed in the middle of open spaces, Admin Building
It seems the project took the narrow view
Support Facilities Building
shying away from the street edge. of what it means to be an urban catalystto Parking Building - 300 slots
An alternate strategy would have been to set out intentionsbut not solutions. Its
push the building blocks out to the edges of the disappointing to see the academe swayed by Phase 2:
Additional 6 floors to the parking
lot, creating an edge with landscaping, intentions. But then we werent there.
building for a hotel
Bridgeway to nearby Manila
Doctors College

Left elevation of
Fontana Vitalis

BluPrint 69

By the authors own reckoning, one of the threats to the project is flooding at the site due to its low elevation and proximity to the Pasig River. BluPrint
consultant Arch. Leandro Poco concurs: It is next to the river, and in a portion of Makati that is probably not in the hard strata of soil to allow for such a tall
structure to get built.

The Lighthouse
OF HOPE UnivErSiTy oF SAnTo TomAS, oUTSTAnDing ThESiS 2013

70 BluPrint
01 he problem, says the author, is
Manila doesnt have a modern-
day landmark to propel the city
and the country into the league
of developing countries, the way
Singapore has Marina Bay Sands, and Kuala
Lumpur, the Petronas Towers. We dont have 01 About the design, author
an icon of progress, prosperity and hope, and Victor Emmanuel Dionisio
says: Without extravagant
the Lighthouse is the project to answer such
form, this project would not
problem, writes Victor Dionisio. It will provide be a viable project to build.
cultural development, economic growth, The Lighthouse aims to
national pride and a central hub for leisure and create a distinct archtectural
character in order to be known
recreationa benchmark of progress for the worldwide. 02 At 86 stories
new Manila and future of the Filipino race. high, the Observation Deck
If only life were that simple. The rendered promises to have unrivalled
images are magnificent, and if built, would views of Makati CBD, Fort
CBD, Ortigas CBD, and sights
indeed be a spectacle to behold. of Quezon City, Manila Bay,
Whats to keep this from being a white Antipolo mountain ridge, and
elephant? There is no discussion beyond the Laguna de Bay n the distance.
conviction, If you build it they will come. The
mixed-use tower complex includes leasable
space for retail, restaurants and events space,
a convention center, theater, and art gallery/
mini museum, but the research is insufficient Design concept:
for one to conclude that the owners, the Lopezes The Triad
of Rockwell Land, Smart Telecom, and the The Triad, otherwise known as the
Rule of Thirds, is a numerical pattern
Department of Tourism, will get returns on their evidently found in every aspect of the
investment from this public-private project universe. Much like the Golden Ratio,
(PPP). Lets assume theyd invest anyway, even this concept is a proportion ratio that
with the hurdle of Smart Telecomm being owned is tried and tested, proven efficient
in nature, artwork, mathematics and
by Manny Pangilinan, who also owns ABC-5, a engineering, to name just a few. This
rival TV network of Lopez Groups ABS-CBN. conceptual pattern, transcended
Would it work? One curious lapse from a mere idea to the actual design
process, can be an efficient tool in
is the assumption that broadcast and
designing both function and form of
telecommunications functions and operations any architectural project.
are one and the same, as can be seen in the space The above paragraph is the
programming. A 37.28-sqm office space located totality of the discussion on the
towers design concept. Apart from
at the Administration Level on the third storey of mistakenly equating the Rule of
the Tower base is allocated to: Thirds (a guideline used for framing
Broadcasting & Telecom GMs office (5.2 sqm) subjects in photography and painting)
Broadcasting & Telecom Engineers office with the Golden Ratio (which Greek
philosopher Euclid, circa 300 BC,
(5.2 sqm) computed to be 1.6180339887), the
02 Broadcasting & Telecom staffs office (12 sqm author is silent on how it was used in
for 2 pax) the design.
Common area, storage and restroom
It is unclear what scope of telecom facilities will Design criteria
be housed in the tower, but it is reasonable to Avant-garde as well as applicable
to the Philippine setting draw
anticipate that Smart Telecom, as one of the three inspiration from Philippine ideals to
owners of the property, would want a visible and embody a modern Manila as well as
beneficial presence in the iconic landmark. express the dreams and aspirations
More lapses can be seen 80 storeys up in of the Filipino peoplethe design
shall relate its three main uses of
the TV Broadcast Level, whose space program telecommunication, recreation and
shows a lack of appreciation for the operations culture as its defining traits in order to
of broadcast news. For example, there are four build cohesion and synergy
TV studios, with an average dimension of 8.3 by
7.7 metersminiscule by industry standards.

BluPrint 71


03 the tv Broadcast level (950 sqm) provides four TV studios approx. 60 sqm each, which leaves
little room for cameras to move, back lighting, and back-of-house for sets and props. Adjacent control
rooms accommodate only 3 personnel and 4 TV monitors each, which are below standard broadcast
needs. The plan makes space for 18 editors, housed in two rooms (for 12 and 6 pax) instead of individual 03
suites with acoustic insulation, which is standard. The number of editors indicates a large volume of
material to be edited at once, indicating production of several programs simultaneously. However, there
are no workstations for production staff (producers, writers, directors, production assistants) and for
technical and engineering staff (lightmen, cameramen, etc.) 04 Radio has a floor to itself, despite the
need for less equipment and staff than TV. The plan provides for six studios, which could house all of
ABS-CBNs needs. DZMM, for example, broadcasts out of one studio only, with announcers going on
board when it is time for their show. A separate studio is used for recording voice-overs and the like. As
with the TV Broadcast level, what is lacking here are workspaces for producers, writers, etc. 05 Located
at the third story, the administration level houses The Lighthouse Company, which owns and runs
the Tower complex. Included here are the Presidents office (24 sqm) and the offices of Accounting and
Leasing (59 sqm), Buidling and Grounds (212 sqm), Marketing and Events Management (59 sqm), HRD
and Legal (41 sqm), and Broadcast and Telecomm (37 sqm), plus office support facilities.

Without extravagant form, this project

would not be a viable project to build.

72 BluPrint
02 While the four studios would offer four different
vistas of the metro, what are the chances of
four TV programs all wanting skylines as their
backdrop? On the other hand, if programs using
the studios do not avail of the skylines, and use
instead built backdrops, what a waste of precious
real estate that would be! They could very well
have stayed in ABS-CBNs studios in Quezon City,
and no one would be the wiser. Instead of four
small studios, which cannot contain more than
two news anchors, and room for studio cameras
to maneuver; one large studio to accommodate a
variety of setups, creative camera angles, guests
(including bands, etc.), and perhaps a live audience
would optimize the studios singular location.
This could have made a great exploration of
fascinating what ifs for the TV network. Its a
shame the author did not interview creatives
from ABS-CBN who could have helped him
01 Dionisios vision for his project: To be the defining Vital Statistics imagine the possibilities for such an extraordinary
structure that embodies Philippine progress; to be the studio setting. (Oddly, the author interviewed staff
premiere telecommunication facility in South East Asia; and to
be a total experience to see and witness. 02 The 300-person
Client Public-Private Project (PPP) from rival network GMA for pointers in designing
owned by The Lighthouse Company,
capacity Sky Restaurant, which is above the observation deck, this facility.)
a merger of Rockwell Land,
is envisioned to have a triple height ceiling, and a mezanine bar. Smart Telecommunications, and More importantly, I would have liked to see
Department of Tourism the thought process that went into site selection
Location Makati City, the Colgate- and design development. In choosing the site, the
Palmolive lot beside Rockwell Land
Development and Pasig River
author considered orientation, zoning ordinances,
Typology Mixed use development accessibility, safety and security, utilities, lot size
with transmission tower and terrain. One special criterion was probable
04 Lot area 4.6 hectares viewswhat one would see from the tower. I
Total building area 18,000 sqm
FAR of site 4.0
want to know how the tower would be seen by
Construction cost estimate the city. The author chose Makati City, citing it as
P2.16 Billion (120,000 / sqm) a Techno City and the countrys Urban Tourist
Total height of tower
Desination. However, would people walking in
414 meters incl. 42-m antenna
Gross ground floor of tower the shadows of Makati Citys skyscrapersor for
916 sqm that matter, the high-rises of Ortigas, Mandaluyong
Total useable floor area of the and Taguigbe able to see it? The reason the Eiffel
tower +/- 11,874 sqm (not including
Tower retains its primacy as the symbol of France
mechanical & refuge floors)
Depth of tower below ground is that modern Paris made sure its high rises would
75 meters keep their distance from the citys historic core.
Number of floors 96 (typical floor Washington DC, Seattle and others do the same,
to floor height = 4 m)
Number of steps approx 2156
imposing height limits to ensure sightlines to their
Height of observation deck iconic landmarks, including views of mountains, as
341.25m above NGL in the case of Montreal, which safeguards views to
05 Observation deck capacity its namesake, the majestic Mt. Royal.
+/- 540 (based on code standards of
2.4 sqm/person in the1300 sqm area) From an intellectual and emotional standpoint,
Diameter of observation level one is left unsatisfied. No story is told; no narrative
70 m including outdoor walk unfolds. There is a claim to embody Filipino culture
Height of restaurant 374 meters
and values, but where is the evidence? There is a
Restaurant capacity seats
380 pax in GFA 1,234.28 sqm; bar promise to create a whole new experience for
capacity 280 pax users, but what is there, apart from ascending a
Gross floor area of Broadcast great height? If only height assured might and
level 1,126.44 sqm
Number of elevators
delight. I feel for this beautifully rendered project,
5 @ 25 pax capacity which just might have, with guidance, made a
Speed of elevators Otis skyrise good case for its existence. The author is clearly
elevators 8 meters/sec, approx 43 technically gifted, a young man with panache and
seconds to the observation deck
(same elevator used in Burj Kalifa)
soaring aspirations. What a shame the school failed
Number of service elevators to imbibe in their student the lessons and values one
1 @ 30 pax capacity hopes he is now learning in the real world.

BluPrint 73

UnivErSiTy oF ThE PhiLiPPinES, oUTSTAnDing ThESiS 2014

01 The site chosen for the educational center ong Kong columnist Chip
is a 10,000-sqm plot of land along the Alabang- Tsao caused an uproar
Zapote Road in Las Pias, right beside the
University of Perpetual Help. Originally, the
among Filipinos back in 2009
parking area on the left corner was more than when he infamously called
twice as long. Mayoralgo reduced it after the Philippines a nation
exhibiting his preliminary designs in school and of servants. Though Tsaos statement was
receiving a comment that few of his target users
would need parking spaces. 02 The layout of intended to be derogatory, it is false pride to
Eskwela Kasambahay funnels visitors through take offense, given the millions of Filipino
the entrance into the campus square, opening domestic workers all over the world who we
up sightlines of the surrounding structures, with
laud as heroes, and whose remittances power
the tallest one looming up aheadthe main
education building. 03 The area right above the the Philippine economy year after year. In 2007
lobby entrance is meant for a library, with spaces alone, their remittances totaled 13 billion pesos.
for commercial use on either side. Curtain glass The plight of domestic workers is hard to
allows views of Alabang-Zapote Road and the
commercial developments beyond.
ignore. In his thesis, Aldo Mayoralgo says that
entry into this kind of employment is typically


74 BluPrint

characterized by sacrifice in response to a

financial crisis, with many young people
The authors thesis, which he dedicates to
foregoing education, formation and personal his late yaya who served his family for
development in pursuit of a living. Reports of
abuse at the hands of their employers pop up 27 years, is built on the Kasambahay
in the news every year; and should they intend Law passed in 2013 that provides
to quit the job, reintegrating into the economy
is difficult given their lack of education. safeguards for local domestic workers.
Mayoralgos solution is an educational center
he calls Eskwela Kasambahay, envisioned to
be a beacon of hope and empowerment for a
sector of society that is so wrongfully belittled 03
by many.
The authors thesis, which he dedicates to his
late yaya who served his family for 27 years, is
built on the Kasambahay Law passed in 2013
that provides safeguards for local domestic
workers. Apart from outlining basic needs
such as work hours and wages, the law also
emphasizes the right of domestic workers
to education. A center such as Eskwela
Kasambahay would serve as a tangible and
integrated response to this need, and a
more comprehensive version of the program
currently being offered by TESDA (Technical
Education and Skills Development Authority)
for domestic workers.

BluPrint 75


02 03

Eskwela Kasambahay, in theory, will serve as 04

the stepping-stone to better opportunities for

domestic workers.

76 BluPrint
Empowering domestic workers is a noble be key in establishing a typology which could be
idea, and would better serve our economy in the replicated in different locations with a method
long run due to the businesses that educated and or language to handling scale and proportion,
skilled workers could set up. The educational explains consultant Leandro Poco.
centers target demographic includes those Branquinho likewise praises Mayoralgos
already working in local households (according work as a good exercise in proportion. Poco,
to Mayoralgos research, 1.8 million households however, questions the scale of the project, saying
in the country employ domestic help), those a program that could have fit in a few classrooms,
intending to work abroad, and those returning to was enlarged to something thesis-able. Mayoralgo,
the country. The center will provide primary and however, argues that creating a university feel
secondary education, and technical-vocational for the center will help domestic workers feel
courses to equip them with the skills, values elevated into the context of higher education. The
and knowledge necessary to ensure better experience of passing through the grand lobby
opportunities for them. One of Mayoralgos design entrance, emerging into the open plaza and seeing
goals is to make the architecture adaptable and the main buildings is also meant to make the worker
replicable for other uses, and as such it could serve students feel the world opening up to greater goals
as a model for government-owned buildings. and opportunities. Whether these will inspire or
BluPrint consultant Stephanie Tan-Branquinho intimidate domestic workers is a question whose
lauds Mayoralgo for his good process and answer we probably will never know.
articulate arguments, leading to solutions focused Says Poco: I think its great when architects use
on the problem. After identifying the problem buildings to shape outdoor public and open spaces,
and researching the needs of domestic workers, as this project tries to do, though most architects
the author collates the functions and programs (even successful practitioners) run into a wall when
of three separate government agencies for his it comes to activating and articulating these spaces
educational center: NRCO (National Reintegration beyond the usual crossing pathways, geometric
Center for OFWs, provides monetary assistance patterns, lawns and planting beds. These require
and loans), ALS (Alternative Learning System, teamwork with landscape architects to bring these
a free education program for people who cant outdoor spaces to much better use.
afford a formal education), and TESDA (provides Eskwela Kasambahay, in theory, will serve
technical skills for specialized jobs). From there, as the stepping-stone to better opportunities
he draws up the layout of the campus, with a for domestic workers. Both BluPrint
central plaza surrounded by the main buildings for consultants are in agreement that it is a thesis
teaching and laboratory, administration, faculty, with heart, one of the few featured in this issue
service, security and public/commercial. He uses they consider a real architectural project with
pattern language in iterating form. This could [a] program and project brief.

01 The 4-storey educational building is the biggest structure, with views of the whole complex. Laboratories go on the first and second floors, and classrooms
on the upper floors. One of Mayoralgos design goals for Eskwela Kasambahay is for the buildings to follow a standard footprint, so that replicated campuses
may simply be scaled up or down as needed. 02 & 03 The layout of the laboratories is designed for adaptability, so they can be modified with ease in the event
of a change of use or renovation. The labs range from 128 to 160 sqm, and can accommodate up to 40 people. Some of the technical subjects that the author
designed laboratories for include dressmaking, landscaping, housekeeping, massage reflexology, culinary arts and bartending. 04 Tambayan corridors connect
the different building zones, and function as communal spaces. 05 Since the target demographic will be using public transportation, the complex is set back from
the main street to make way for a transport hub and drop-off point for buses and jeepneys.


BluPrint 77

Many condos are gated

vertical developments.
Providing porosity or
permeability by allowing the
outside community into the
mixed-use space at the ground
level (with consideration for
natural access control, natural
surveillance and residents
privacy) will help establish a
postive social space.

Vertical Construct

Theres no arguing that the

buildings irregular design,
which the author says was
arrived at in part by being
sensitive to its surroundings
in Pasay City, will be a
memorable one, and just
may help the project achieve
a sense of place. Blanche
Azachee provides the
development with two big
scale communal spaces: an
amenity deck at the podium
level (Level 5), and a town
center in the middle of the
tower (Level 11). These heights
allow people at the amenity
deck to see movement at the
town center and vice versa,
enabling them to surveil their
surroundings and feel a sense
of security.

78 BluPrint
ost of us will agree that
condo towers, despite their
developers marketing
hype, look pretty much
the same wherever one
goes. Some developers go the extra mile to
make theirs look different. But stripped of the
trappings of glamour and the borloloy cladding
and crowning the buildings, they too are basically
stacks of boxes connected by long corridors with
elevators, stairs and utilities at the core.
The problem shown by Blanche Azachees
prodigious research is not simply condo
dwellers dissatisfaction with their buildings
architecture, communal areas and quality of
amenities. The essential sameness with which
the condo typology is designed in our cities
will have insidious effects in the long term. In a
detailed survey of 402 condo residents, and focus
group discussions with managers of different
real estate developers and representatives
of condo homeowners associations in Metro
Manila, Azachee found a large majority say
they value having a sense of belonging and
community but do not feel it where they reside.
Azachee cites anthropologists, sociologists and
psychologists around the world who note that Neighborliness is the most important principle in designing housing, the critical aspect of which lies outside
people living in high rises without a sense of the individual homes. Planning how residents interact determines the vitality and sense of community
community develop social apathy, a sense of of the development, and clearly, this is where Azachee poured most of her efforts, to the detriment of
the layout of unit interiors. One lauds the authors vision but deplores the inattention of her adviser to the
isolation and disconnectedness from the rest of
fundamental flaws of the individual units.
the community, depression, and a decrease in
a sense of wellbeing and satisfaction with ones
place in life. Azachee puts forth a straightforward objective:
One could argue that Filipinos, being highly A holistic approach to condominium design that
sociable, could satisfy their need for belonging
outside their condo homes. But Azachee points to fosters active social relations among residents and
research that children growing up in such places the surrounding community.
are hindered from learning the social skills
needed to maintain well-being throughout life,
and to strengthen resiliency in avoiding
social pathology. The consequences in children
and adolescents not exposed to positive
community social interaction are depression,
bullying and shyness. And because they were
raised without appreciation for the importance
of community interaction, they will not be able to
pass this knowledge on to the next generation.
Having adequately buttressed her concerns
about high rise living, which she formed upon
coming home to a friendly neighborhood in
Manila following a lonely childhood in a high rise
abroad, Azachee puts forth a straightforward
objective: A holistic approach to condominium
design that fosters active social relations among To enhance proximal relationships beyond ones own floor, Azachee zones the tower into neighborhood
residents and the surrounding community. units of five floors each, and provides them with medium-scale communal space

BluPrint 79

Her design goals are to: 01 02

create a sense of belonging amongst
foster neighborliness between residents
promote a sense of ownership for
communal spaces
provide natural mechanisms for safety
within the development
facilitate social interaction at a
community level

The thesis project has evidently served as a

journey towards self-awareness for the author,
who describes her eight years growing up in a
condo as one of isolation and deprivation.
When she quotes Christopher Alexander on the
problems of vertical communities as symptoms
of a disconnected, sick society, one can feel the
sense of urgency underlying the breadth and depth
of her study. Aside from examining traditional
neighborhood design and Alexanders Pattern
Language, Azachee supports her design solutions 04
by synthesizing insights gleaned from the 402
survey respondents preferences and complaints
with her understanding of Filipino values, place
making, proxemics, crime prevention through
environmental design, territorial reinforcement,
deterritorialization (the weakening of ties between
culture and place), spatial order, social capital and
other social phenomena. There is nothing glib about
her justifications, which puts her above her peers.
Azachee makes a sincere attempt as well to
optimize the buildings efficiency in terms of gross
floor area (GFA) versus gross leasable area (GLA),
and a study of the minimum annual income a floor plates, and to aggregate together open spaces
developer would require for buyers of the different and amenities to create an impressionable marketing
unit typesstudio, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units, and effect. Homebuyers will want to get the most value
single detached units. for their investment, and most attribute this to space
The final design, however, is not without within their units. These huge pockets of communal
problems. The towers are Jenga-like structures spaces could be seen as trade-offs versus larger 01 By providing gradations
that are anything but common. BluPrint consultant living-dining rooms for the individual units. of public-private space in
communal areas, Azachee
Leandro Poco points out that some units do not Compared with the simple grid of most condo
allows residents the freedom
have views out. Indeed, an examination of the floor projects, the complicated floor plans and profusion to choose different degrees
plans shows that some units bedrooms look out of uneven volumes of Azachees proposal will of privacy, and how they
to another units kitchen and bedroom. Further undoubtedly cost more to construct. Aforementioned interact with others. In
her project, medium scale
detailed review of the plans show that some of the problems aside, will Filipinos be willing to pay communal spaces like this
loft units have a bathroom for the maids room, but the price for the thoughtful pockets of spaces and one are connected via a green
none for the family on the lower level. The living activity nodes that will give them opportunities to Emerald Necklace.02 Large
areas of some 2-bedroom units face the door of the be neighborly, and their children safe places to play? and segregated communal
spaces can be intimidating
bathroom and the dining area, with no wall space for Will they take ownership of communal property, and to users. And because they
an entertainment system. The bathroom sizes are considerately maintain and share these spaces with have no relationship with the
quite small (1.5 by 2.75 meters) and have difficult one another? Will they tolerate and watch out for users private spaces, they
tend to be underutilized. To
clearances, and do not have size transitions for each other, and learn to solve problems collectively?
extend the residents sense
different unit types. Can architecture overcome the kanya-kanya of ownership to common
BluPrint consultant Leandro Poco, who has mentality, bring out the best in people, and promote facilities, the author provides
worked on a number of condominium projects, mid a sense of community? them at different scales, big,
medium and small, with the
and high-rise, locally and in Singapore and Vietnam, Azachees optimism, earnestness and
medium and small communal
wonders whether the project will fly: Locally and industriousness make me want to believe that spaces in closer proximity to
abroad, developers aim to maximize efficiency of the answer is yes. their homes.

80 BluPrint
03 By bumping out and
recessing groups of units,
Azachee creates different
configurations for floor
plates to avoid a monolithic
structure. According to
Christopher Alexander, The
more monolithic the building
is, the more it prevents
people from being personal,
and from making human
contact04 The provision
of parks and walkable
spaces and interesting public
settings will ensure that
activity nodes provided by
the develoepment will be
used by residents and the
surrounding community.
This, Azachee says, can
help establish community

05 According to Christopher Alexander, apartment buildings are stealing people from

the streets. The corridors inside condo buildings would seem to give the opportunity for
pedestrian movement, but these spaces are most often dead. This happens because indoor
space is not as public as outdoor space; and in a multi-story building, each corridor carries
a lower density of traffic than a public outdoor street. It is therefore unpleasant, even 07
unnerving, to move through them; people in them are in no state to generate or benefit from
social intercourse.06 Heeding Alexanders and other experts standards for liveability,
Azachee breaks up the straight long corridor of the typical condo with small scale (6 x 6 sqm)
communal spaces around which small groups of units are clustered. Clustering, Azachee
says, will encourage social interaction because of Filipinos propensity for small group-
centeredness. 07 The diagram shows where the big scale green spaces will be. The podium
level will accommodate community garden plots, a jogging and biking path, picnic areas,
pools, and other typical amenities.

05 06

BluPrint 81

The MRT Tala Station will be located along Araneta Avenue near the intersection with Quirino Highway. The station will be connected to a mall, market area and
office establishments (pictured). Dont judge the architecture. In the scope and limitations section of her book, the author says, Architectural design and details
will not be given priority, most especially in terms of material and structural feasibility.

A Model for

82 BluPrint
Below A view of the outdoor
elieving that transit systems form the gentrification of the community. To control market from the transit station,
the backbones of cities, Elizelle gentrification, David proposes the implementation with an indoor market and
David proposes creating transit- of a mixed income development (MID) with the high-end grocery nearby (the
building with the brown roof).
oriented developments (TOD) to TOD. Mixed-income developments are designed to
The author created this area
decongest and improve Metro eliminate segregation of neighborhoods according to serve as the identifying
Manilas existing transit experience. I want to income levels, especially the concentration landmark of the site, and a
developers and government sectors to realize of rich households in exclusive enclaves, versus melting pot of all income
levels where higher-income
the potential of our transportation systems the concentration of low-income households in households can buy food
and how to efficiently build around [them] to impoverished neighborhoods. sold by the lower-income
enhance transit experience and sustainable To demonstrate how this would work, David population of the TOD, and
development, she says. TODs are high-density applies the principles of MID and TOD in the produce from the northern
provinces. The sunken area
mixed-use developments within a 600-meter setting of Northern Caloocans Tala station can also be converted into a
radius of a high-volume transit station designed on the soon-to-be-built MRT-7 line, which space for community events.
to create a pedestrian-friendly and car-
independent community. Davids vision is to create an exemplar of
Using case studies in developed cities like
Hong Kong, Singapore, Portland and Bogota, an inclusive Philippine TOD (transit-oriented
David shows how TODs connect low to middle- developments) in a hilly setting.
income workers with jobs within proximity or
walking distance of their homes, greatly reducing will stretch from the North Avenue station in Definition of Terms
travel time and transport costs, which constitute Quezon City to San Juan Del Monte in Bulacan.
a significant chunk of their daily expenses. Tala station will be located within Pangarap Transport-oriented development
An urban planning strategy that
Davids research also shows, however, that Village, home to 40,000 residents of low- to builds a high-density residential
TODs often displace the low-income households middle-income range, with 45% working or and mixed-use development around
that they are intended to benefit. The rising value studying in Metro Manila at the time of the a mass transit station, so that all
of properties close to the transit station (a market authors research. Her vision is to create an are within 10 minutes walk away
from the transit hub. This strategy
behavior explained in the Bid-Rent Theory) exemplar of an inclusive Philippine TOD in a lessens the need for cars, reduces
pushes out lower-income households, leading to hilly setting. carbon emissions and transportation
cost, and promotes healthier

Mixed income development

Housing or multi-family dwellings
that deliberately include different
socio-economic groups, a type of
development that helps prevent
the concentration of poverty in
neighborhoods, and encourages
social awareness between different
income groups.

A phenomenon that occurs when
higher-income residents displace
the working class residents of a
community, through urbanization,
increasing land values, and other
socio-cultural and economic factors.

Bid-Rent Theory
A spatial-economic model by planner
and economist William Alonso that
says that the closer the space is to a
central business district, the higher
its rent or property costs will be.

BluPrint 83

In Davids master plan, she changed the existing road scheme of the area into a semi-radial layout to promote connectivity and divide the development into
different catchment areas. Bordering the primary catchment area is Main Street, a 500-meter walkway surrounded by commercial establishments. A 2.1-kilometer
creek runs along the site, which David assimilated into the development with landscaping and parks for a pleasant walkable experience for pedestrians.

Site Layout Transit stop 01 Market

Residential 02 Office
Commercial-Residential 03 Park
Commercial-Office-Residential 04 Mall
Commercial 05 College
Institutional 06 Main Street

12 Parks and Recreation 07 University

13 Utilities 08 Business Park

09 Barangay Hall
08 10 Church
08 11 Elementary & High School

12 Chapel

04 13 Medical Center

02 06
01 03
TODs usually have three zones: the transit stop, the primary
catchment (the area with the highest density due to proximity to
07 the transit stop), and the secondary catchment. Commercial and
office establishments are concentrated in the primary catchment
to take advantage of the influx of transit riders from the stop, while
the secondary catchment is populated by residential buildings.

84 BluPrint
Anticipating that upper-income families may be insights and responsive solutions to user needs, 01 The creek extends to the
reluctant to live with low-income households, behavior and interface. The thesis could also secondary catchment area to
the east of the TOD, passing
the author allots almost 50% of the residential have provided more convincing plans for how a couple of blocks filled
spaces to middle class households, for them to the proposed MID-TOD in Northern Caloocan with commercial-residential
serve as bridge between the two. would provide a healthy environment, as it structures. The author didnt
limit the secondary catchment
The research into TOD and urban design will be pierced through the middle by busy
area to residential buildings
guidelines in Davids thesis are excellent, and Araneta Avenue, and bound on one side by because she wanted to allow
her presentation, well executed, impressing Quirino Highway, both notorious for air and lower-income households to
both BluPrint consultants, Leandro Poco and noise pollution. conduct business at the lower
floors. 02 From Main Street,
Stephanie-Tan Branquinho. Both agree that In conclusion, Davids work is larger and the town plaza and church can
Davids planning and application of the guidelines more important than an enriched and inclusive be seen, which are located on
are very well done. While the urban planning transit experience. Her thesis presents the second highest point of
aspect of the thesis is solid, the architecture thoughtful and commendable urban planning the site. The author thought it
would be a good idea to place
component, Poco says, lacks a sense of scale models that have succeeded elsewhere for local the public spaces on higher
and urbanity, and a sense of how the buildings government and developers to consider, with elevations.
themselves will tie together, and relate to each excellent research for planners to sink their
other as part of the larger whole. Branquinho teeth into.
comments that for the thesis not to appear as a
collection of successful existing city models, the
author could have focused on creating a sense of 01
place and space specific to the locality.
The author herself cites a number of local
developments that attempt to implement TOD
principles, such as Eton Centris, Ayala Center
and Araneta Center. The latter is home to one of
the largest transit hubs in the country, with its
sprawling Farmers Market, Araneta Coliseum,
residential towers, malls, restaurants and
recreation establishments. One could say that
it is also an ad hoc MID. As such, Araneta Center
would have made a good case study, given the
opportunity for up-close observation (or even
immersion), and perhaps even more relevant


BluPrint 85


02 03

01 A wide view of the development shows the modern BPO building on the right and mid-rise condo on the left, with lower structures hidden in foliage. 02 View of
the BPO building from the frontage of Tatak Bulakenyo tourist hub and commercial center, which Yangzon says is a modern interpretation of Spanish colonial houses.
03 The drop off at Tatak Bulakenyos commercial area. The wood and glass faade in a grid pattern of one of the stores, Yangzon says, is a modern adaptation of
capiz windows. The balcony above clad in brick is Yangzons translation of the volada.

Design for a
New Wave City

86 BluPrint
oughly 50% of BPO employees by the application of solar panels on the south faade
in Manila come from outside the of the BPO.
National Capital Region, says One, however, doesnt get a sense of place
Bulakeo Reginald Yangzon, and from the architecture, despite the authors efforts.
tapping neighboring provinces to With the exception of the solar paneled faade, the
host the next BPO hubs will not only provide jobs monolithic BPO building could have been lifted out
and keep families together in these provinces, but of Manila. BluPrint consultant Leandro Poco whose
also help relieve overcrowded Manila. firm has worked on BPO building typologies, says
Historic Malolos City in Bulacan, site of the this projects office floor plate configuration wont
first Philippine constitutional convention in 1898 be efficient for locators who require contiguous
The south faade of the BPO
and home to Barasoain Church where the first cuts closer to 1,800 to 2,500 square meters. Closer is installed with solar panels
Philippine Republic was established, was declared inspection of the plans opens up finer details for to help reduce its 24/7 power
by the Department of Science and Technology and improvement: The commercial centers security is requirement
Business Processing Association of the Philippines leaky. The fire exit configuration at the residential 04 The red arrows show how
as one of the countrys New Wave Cities, or urban block creates dead ends at opposite locations the tallest building (10-storey
centers outside of NCR that are best fit to host IT- thats a firetrap right there, says Poco. The doors of BPO) has pleasant sightlines
BPO structures and attract foreign investments. the auditorium in the BPO building open inwards to greenery, and shades the
commercial establishments
Yangzon proposes a mixed-use BPO center- instead of outa no-no for congregation spaces. below. The second tallest
cum-tourism hub in Confradia, Malolos, just And, the condo building has parking slots for only building (6-storey condo) also
200 meters away from McArthur Highway, and 23 cars and 2 for motorcycles, which is questionable enjoys views of greenery
and activity below, while the
near the site of the proposed Philippine National given building code requirements for residential
commercial establishments and
Railway Central Terminal. The variety of mutually developments of this scale. tourist hub look out to a tree-
supporting uses (residential, commercial, office Still, Yangzons adviser Sauco has the highest lined avenue.
and tourism), Yangzon says, will help make the expectations of his former student. He will make
development sustainable and promote tourism in a great architect. He has the right attitude. He has
the province, thereby generating more jobs outside design flair. His design teachers told me they were
of the development. All in all, the complex will house surprised that he played it safe for his thesis. One
a potential 10,000 workers, and the residential wishes indeed that Yangzon would live up to his
building, 500 people (900 with expansion), as teachers hopes, and that experience will teach
Yangzon assumes most of the workers have their the passionate young man what he needs for his
homes within the city. Tatak Bulakenyo, the tourism envisioned projects to be executed more sensibly.
and commercial center, which can accommodate
1,000 visitors at any given time, is where people may Yangzon proposes a mixed-use BPO center-cum-tourism
buy goods made in Bulacan. It serves as information
hub in Confradia, Malolos, just 200 meters away from
center and dissemination point for tourists who
want to see Malolos and other parts of the province.
McArthur Highway, and near the site of the proposed
In addition, 20 shops will serve their various needs. Philippine National Railway Central Terminal.
According to Yangzons adviser, Carlos Sauco,
Yangzons work was recognized as Best Thesis, a
distinction Mapuas Architecture department hadnt 04
seen in years, because of the need for the project; the
manifold issues it would address; the authors vision
of sparking the business district of Bulacan; his
thorough analysis of the site; and smart orientation
of structures, with the BPO building sheltering the
commercial/tourist center from afternoon heat and
glare, which in turn will offer pleasant views for
computer-weary eyes at the BPO.
The pioneer development is designed to
represent modern Bulacan. Yangzon translates
the capiz windows and volada of Spanish colonial
architecture as a nod to the many heritage homes
still proudly standing in Malolos historic core.
Yangzon is proudest of his sustainable solutions,
achieved in great part by building orientation, and

BluPrint 87

Museum of

Arts (MOCA)
UnivErSiTy oF SAn CArLoS, BEST ThESiS 2014

The faades perforated steel mimics the holes of Philippine crafts made of rattan, and is painted white in reference to a blank canvas.

01 Estrologo finds it strange that a metropolis such as Cebu has no museum for contemporary arts given most Philippine local artists come from the central and...southern
parts (of) the Philippines. He believes theres more than enough material to display in his proposed museum. 02 The Museum of Contemporary Arts has green building
features such as double piping system, rainwater harvesting, LED lights, and use of low maintenance materials (perforated steel). 03 The buildings footprint depicts a top
view of the human being embracing the old acacia tree representing a Filipino embracing, owning and loving his own.

88 BluPrint

Five elements of
contemporary art

Appropriation. We live in a
culture that overflows with images
and objects that todays artists
incorporate into their work in pursuit
of creative expression.

Time occupies an important, but

invisible, place in human culture.
Space. In traditional drawing or
painting, artists have often been
concerned with creating illusions
of space or depth upon a flat

surface using light and shadow.
Contemporary artists focus on real
or many years, Cebu has not only the building, but also acts as an acoustic buffer spacethe dimensions of a room
been the major economic force in the and an added layer of protection to the interior and the spaces we move through in
Philippines next to Manila, but also spaces against UV and Infrared rays harmful to the the city. Technologies like television
and smart phones have transformed
the creative center of the Visayas artworks. The buildings take full advantage of the
our conception of time, a key element
region. While the city hosts a number sites rectangular shape and the fact that its longer in the work of many artists today.
of museums that exhibit historical, cultural and sides face north and south and the shorter sides,
religious artifacts important to Cebuanos, it lacks east and west. And it is on the south, east and west Performance art describes artists
explorations of the processes,
a proper venue to showcase contemporary sides that Estrologo wisely protects his building motions and actions they use to
artworks. Kenneth Estrologo proposes a from the sun with the perforated metal shields. create art. Some use paint brushes
Contemporary Filipino Arts Museum that will The general layout, however, is uncomfortably or musical instruments while others
promote todays local artists and educate the similar to that of Ayala Museums, complete with create multimedia events in which an
artwork is the by-product or part of
public about the visual arts. the ground floor void, central fountain, and glass the documentation.
As with all museum projects, space interconnection between massings with stairs
requirements, lighting, acoustics and security inside. However, unlike the Ayala Museum, which Hybridity. In science, a hybrid is
created by mixing characteristics
are just some of the challenges that confronted serves as a gateway to an expansive interior park,
of two different species in order
Estrologo. Aside from showcasing artworks, this one opens out to the acacia tree and a road to create one that is better. This is
he wanted the museum itself to embody behind. There is no attempt to use the gateway the aim of many contemporary art
contemporary Filipino culture through effect of the structure as a means to visually link works today.
architecture. In contrast to the solid and massive or physically connect the museum to the
architecture of most museums in Manila, surrounding context.
transparency and permeability are central to
Estrologos design. He located the vehicular 03
drop-off on a side street at the rear and designed
a roundabout around an existing old acacia tree
that he wanted to preserve. Pedestrians enjoy
the landscaped open spaces fronting the building
along the major road. The ground floor is planned
with an outdoor central plaza that divides the
building into two wings and connects the front
entrance with the rear entrance. A water feature
with a deconstructed statue of man at the center
of the outdoor plaza gives a strong focal point to
the area while activating the spaces around it.
The building itself is wrapped with perforated
steel material gradually offset from the buildings
glass skin, which not only makes for an interesting
envelope that controls natural light entering

BluPrint 89

mAPUA inSTiTUTE oF TEChnoLogy, 2013

01 02

03 04

01 Funtila designed the centralized bus terminal to resemble the shape of an eagle in flight, something one might be able to appreciate from above. 02 Aside from
the air filters, air curtains are also used right outside the exit of the boarding area to prevent fumes from entering the building when passengers make their way to the
bus. 03 Instead of a gutter, a skylight runs through the middle of the butterfly roofs for daylighting. 04 Funtila visited bus terminals to observe user behavior patterns.
He discovered that arriving passengers stay up to two hours in the terminal, departing passengers up to three hours, and transfer passengers up to four hours. This
convinced him of the need, not just to provide better indoor air quality, but also a pleasant, engaging and productive environment for commuters.

90 BluPrint
Front elevation

etro Manila residents
are no strangers to the
perennial woes of our urban
Polluted air

Fresh air
transport system. Day in UV light
and day out, commuters
suffer not only the monstrous traffic but also
pollution caused by smoke-belching vehicles
plying our thoroughfares. As a commuter himself, Pre-filter HEPA filter Nano Silver filter Photocatalyst filter Activated Ionizer Fragrance
Aljeroe Funtila had had enough, so he proposed carbon filter diffuser

a centralized city and provincial bus terminal

with integrated office and retail spaces, and a Source:
mechanism that reduces passengers smoke
intake. The site is within the vicinity of the the better place for a bus to be located. Second,
temporary Southwest Integrated Provincial Bus the platforms where passengers queue during
Terminal along Coastal Road in Alabang. boarding time are enclosed, and access doors will How the air
Regarding the site planning, BluPrint only open once the bus is in position to pick up purifying system
consultant Leandro Poco points out the non- or drop off passengers. Third, smoke-reducing works
intuitive circulation for buses: There are too many devices that absorb, filter and purify air are
forced turns, and the plan requires buses to back installed just outside all access doors to reduce The thesis highlights an air-purifying
mechanism, commonly used in cars,
into a driveway or road. The plan is also premised smoke intake by passengers at the moment they to be installed in the terminal to
on having a bus drop off in one location, and then cross the threshold and hop onto the bus. It not reduce passengers smoke intake.
pick up in another location, which is very non- only prevents the smoke from entering the body Polluted air passes through eight
intuitive for both bus driver and passengers. Poco of a passenger but that of the bus driver as well, purification filters that will turn it
into clean air.
adds that the student would have benefited from says Funtila.
undertaking case studies of successful bus hubs Air filtration is hardly an architectural (1) The Pre-filter is where large
like Denvers Union Station Bus Concourse, where solution, and its benefits to commuters, in the way particles like threads are filtered.
(2) The Hepa Filter is where
circulation is clear and movement of buses is Funtila uses it in the thesis project, are doubtful.
smaller particles like allergens,
unimpeded. It also creates a centralized passenger The research focused too much on the air filter pollen, dust and smoke are trapped.
concourse that is airconditioned and protected mechanism, but bus passengers will stand to (3) The Nano Silver Filter
from the elements. benefit from it for a minute at most. More than eliminates germs, viruses, fungi,
and bacteria, and eliminates
As for the architecture, the terminals arrival anything, it is the air conditioning of the terminal foul odors.
and departure wings feature butterfly roofs that that will make the commuters wait (Funtilas (4) The UV Light kills whatever
slope downward to the middle, where skylights research shows that commuters wait for buses germs, viruses, fungi, and
are installed. Clerestory windows and glass anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours or more) bacteria make it through the
Nano Silver Filter
curtains in certain areas are more than enough less injurious to their health. (5) The Nano TiO2 Photo-
to allow for natural lighting; the skylights will The thesis projects proposed responses are catalyst Filter breaks down
just add to the energy load needed to cool the sophomoric in relation to the big problems it is poisonous volatile organic
airconditioned building. It is also unclear how this trying to solve. Funtila claims the structure itself
(6) The Activated Carbon Filter
glass valley will handle storm water runoff, given will be able to lessen the traffic in Metro Manila, further absorbs unpleasant smells.
the lack of gutters. and that it will improve the sustainability of the (7) The Ionizer filter improves
The highlight of the thesis is Funtilas defenses society in terms of reducing the pollution brought air quality
(8) The fragrance diffuser
against smoke inhalation. As a first line of by the smoke emission released by buses. Why
releases fragrance
defense, the waiting area is vertically segregated hasnt anyone told him that achieving urban
one floor apart from the bus platforms. Funtila sustainability requires more than a central bus
reasons, The farther the location of people, terminal with air filters?

BluPrint 91

01 02



01 In 2014, Lara Cruz won a design competition with a similar proposal inspired by the same principles and design of the LEAPHaus, a low-impact and adaptable
housing prototype that floats when flood water reaches critical level. 02 As part of the storm water management, the author designed the subdivision with
porous asphalt with subsurface infiltration, bioswales, permeable walkways, and lagoons acting as water catchments. However, the subdivision plan suffers from
code violations of such basics as road hierarchy, fire lanes, block widths, and lengths of cul-de-sacs. One area even has a five-meter road right-of-way, something
not permitted even in socialized housing. 03 Lara Cruz believes that, Architecture should be progressiveNatural disasters cannot be prevented but our homes
should at least be designed to adapt to extreme weather conditions. 04 The concrete barge is reinforced by a welded steel frame coated in plaster and treated
with waterproofing agents. The guide posts are supported by subsurface concrete footings.

Floating Houses
rECommEnDED By ThE DESign CoorDinATor oF UST CoLLEgE oF ArChiTECTUrE

92 BluPrint
05 06

05 Following the principles of passive tropical design, all LEAPHaus models feature a three-meter high ceiling for air circulation, and vertical louvers and wide
overhangs for shading. 06 Double glazed glass panels allow natural light to come in while blocking excess UV rays from the sun. They are encased in perforated
metal as protection against gale force winds.

magine a world where developable sites problem at an urban scale, so a site for a proposed
have been built up, and whats left of our subdivision in Laguna was selected to offer
brownfields are rendered inhabitable due LEAPhaus houses as selling point. Now this
to rising water levels brought by climate changed the parameters and premises of the
change. Such was the premise behind project completely.
LEAPhaus by Lara Cruz. Standing for Low-Energy, The new rationale purported to decongest Utilities
Adaptive and Passive, LEAPhaus takes inspiration Manila, and build a model community promoting
from similar projects like the Amphibious homes in new urbanisman ironic assertion, as suburban Utilities are an important
consideration in designing
the Netherlands, and the Float House in the US. villages are associated with gas-guzzling, amphibious houses. The following
LEAPhaus is built atop a barge made by a carbon footprint-enlarging urban sprawl. The strategies are used to address this
combination of autoclaved aerated concrete and rationale latched onto the Filipino dream of land critical aspect of the project:
high-performance lightweight concrete. As water ownershipan aspiration ostensibly so strong as
Storm Safe Service
level rises, the concrete barge carries the house to outweigh the risks of buying in a flood-prone Entrance Connection
up to five meters above ground. The barge is subdivision. The LEAPhaus subdivision was then A technology patented in the US, this
supported by dolphins or vertical guideposts to presented as a private venture of a developer service entrance device automatically
disconnects electrical lines to the
resist horizontal force, securing the house in place catering to the upper middle-class. No estimate
power main as soon as a significant
when marooned in water. of the concrete barges was made, but assuming magnitude of force is exerted to
The project aims for a Filipino identity and a developer would be willing to spend for it, one the cable.
climate responsive design via the use of indigenous wonders why the investment would not be put
Vacuum Pump-out
materials, pitched roof, high ceiling, eaves, etc. into better site planning and drainage facilities Septic System
The design, however, presents problems on instead. BluPrint consultant Leandro Poco adds In this septic system, a waterless
several fronts. Elevated on a barge, the house is his notes: The planning of the subdivision does toilet is connected to a holding tank
accessed by a staircase. Railings to keep residents not attempt to innovate beyond the linear block where sewage is collected and then
pumped out when the tank reaches a
from falling off the platform prevent them from devleopments so usual in our current housing critical level.
accessing garden spacebut if frequent floods context. The author could have attempted to
are expected, better uses for the perimeter space foster a stronger community feel with a central
should have been explored. The carport is at street common green, instead of relegating open spaces
level; in the event of flooding, car resellers will to the edges.
enjoy a surplusis this a deliberate strategy to The LEAPhaus is a novel idea, which could
discourage car-dependency? have made for interesting explorations, given
The authors intention was to build prototypes the right premises. Without guidance and a firm
of the house, which would have been complex foundation for the authors ideas to build on, it is
enough for an undergraduate thesis; but the difficult to imagine anyone taking a leap of faith
adviser instructed the student to attack the with the LEAPhaus.

BluPrint 93

The Best
for the Least

t is always refreshing to see students method of construction provides a continuous
eschewing iconicism and tackling instead load path, where the structural frame members
unglamorous yet urgent problems such from roof to foundation are tied together,
as social housing. Betina Dimaculangan enabling the house to hold out during high-wind
started with a belief that properly events or seismic activities. As an added feature,
designed, affordable and disaster-resilient housing the house is shielded by louvers at high angles to National Housing
will uplift the self-worth of the people living in resist wind. Authoritys
vulnerable coastal communities. Beyond the BluPrint consultant Leandro Poco raises structural design
physical, she touched on the psychic value of questions about practicality: Its steel-framed. standards post-
Typhoon Yolanda:
architecture in establishing human dignity. How do you weld or bolt these when fishing
She wanted to design a disaster-resilient villages have rarely enough electrical supply wind load - 250 kph for 1-2 storeys,
community for fisherfolk in Guiuan, Eastern to power equipment? He asks: Why are 300 kph for 3-storeys
Samar. Of the 60 barangays in Guiuan, 44 are we building in steel next to the sea? Did she or higher

coastal including Barangay Baras by Leyte Gulf, consider alternate materials which could be Strength of walls and
one of the communities most vulnerable to locally sourced and assembled instead of steel superstructure - 3,000 psi
disasters because of the absence of mountainous which has to be shipped in and would require
Soil bearing capacity - 95 kpa
areas that decrease the strength of winds special coatings to resist corrosive salty air and
blowing inland from the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, seawater? Seismic - Zone 4
when super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) first made Dimaculangan has numbers to showcost
landfall in Guiuan, it left 101 people dead, 16 and structural analysis to support her design. Loading - 50 psf
missing, and 4,089 injured. The National Disaster Fellow consultant Stephanie Tan-Branquinho Fire resistance - 2 hours
Risk Reduction and Management Council gives her credit for a lot of research and good
reported social housing as one of the most vital development of thesis. Indeed, the research is
forms of assistance needed. Dimaculangans methodical and crafted around existing studies
project, therefore, aims to provide the survivors and policies, building on what is already being
and their families with quality dwellings that done by the national and local governments
can withstand similar typhoons as well as and NGOs. In addition, she made an effort to
earthquakes, without relocating them away from do bottom-up planning, conducting in-depth
their livelihood source. profiling of target users through extensive
Dimaculangans proposed house sits on a interviews to grasp the realities on the ground. It
concrete foundation with a floating device made is a thesis with a sense of social conscience, and
of plastic water drums, enabling it to float three we hope to see more of it taught and encouraged
meters above ground when water level rises. The in architecture schools.

94 BluPrint

01 & 02 Perspectives of a single detached unit with expansion and a single detached unit. Dimaculangans designs comply with the National Housing Authoritys
structural standards for resilient structures in areas vulnerable to typhoon winds and storm surges. This includes a wind load of only 250 kphan inexplicable
underestimate, given Typhoon Yolandas sustained speeds of over 300 kph. 03 As protection against the elements, steel materials will be treated with epoxy
primer and epoxy coated paint, wood materials with coal tar and elastomeric paint, and sawali materials with varnish and fire retardant chemical.

02 03

Betina Dimaculangan started with

a belief that properly designed,
affordable and disaster-resilient
housing will uplift the self-worth
of the people living in vulnerable
coastal communities.

BluPrint 95

Having said that, we hope to see schools 01

training our students to approach data
with skepticism. Without skepticism, there
is no critical thinking. For example, by
simply complying with the governments
no-build zone of 40 meters from the sea,
Dimaculangans project, if built, would put
families in harms way with the false assurance
that metal frames, louvers and a floating
mechanism will save them in a storm surge.
The raging waters that swept over Guiuan
during Typhoon Yolanda reached five to six
meters high, and pushed by winds over 300
kilometers per hour, sped inland by over a
kilometer. Assuming Dimaculangans house
could float six or seven meters high, it still
wouldnt work in a storm surge where the
water is heaving in from one direction, as
against water that is steadily rising all around.
Typhoon Yolandas waves carried boats large
and small and dumped them in the middle of
villages. In Tacloban, the surge pushed a steel
dredging ship 100 meters inland. What defense
could the proposed house have against that?
What if the next disaster is a tsunami? The
premise that fisher folk shouldnt be relocated
far away from their livelihood is parochial,
driven by well-meaning but misguided
sentiment. The problems still besetting Guiuan
today are complex and cannot be fixed with
simplistic solutions and good intentions.
Schools must cultivate in students a healthy
skepticism needed for multi-dimensional
critical thinking, so that pieces of truth are not
mistaken for the whole truth. Critical thinking
is not merely the ability to reasonand one
can indeed see this skill in the various thesis
projects featured in these pages. One must also
evaluate information with the worldview that
things are not always entirely as they seem,
as sociologist Howard Gabennesch writes in his
article, Critical Thinking: What is it Good For?
Intellectual due process, as Gabennesch
calls it, is the best way of arriving at the truth,
and it requires being unwilling to subordinate 01 Floorplan for a single detached unit with a footprint of 15.26 sqm (3.43 x 4.45), with a 7.8-sqm
ones thinking to orthodoxiestenets, beliefs, livelihood area outside. Future expansion will bring the total footprint of the unit to 32.53 sqm, not
counting the livelihood area and a verandah. 02 Based on Dimaculangans cost analysis, a single
general sentiments, political correctnessat
detached house (total floor area 29.5 sqm) costs P431,000; a single detached expansion (TLA 40.76
the risk of being charged with heresy and sqm) costs P510,000; while a duplex unit (TLA 24.25 sqm) costs P353,000. 03 Dimaculangans
insensitivity. To paraphrase Gabennesch, thesis project assumes that buffers such as mangroves will be in place, which could be why she
architects, planners and designers who are designed structures for 250 kph only, and for them to be located 40-50 meters from the shore. One
must question the wisdom of placing so much faith in mangroves. They will not reduce wind speed,
careful about the truth are less likely to be fooled
nor stop a storm surge caused by sustained winds pushing the surface of the sea. In any case, if
by thinking that justifies reactionary resolutions there were a protective wall of mangroves lining the coast, then the objective of locating the houses
and simple solutions. close to fishermens source of livelihood is flawed.

Schools must cultivate in students a healthy skepticism needed for

multi-dimensional critical thinking, so that pieces of truth are not
mistaken for the whole truth.

96 BluPrint


01 According to Abril,
Open spaces should be the
need to go to places of a
community, rather than the
areas people need to get
away from. Says Poco of
the project: Its largely an
application of established
good green urban design
guidelines that have been
successfully applied abroad,
and the attempt to apply it
in the local context is a good
start. 02 Parks and open
spaces are important in
community planning as they
encourage social interaction
and provide opportunities
for community members to
build relationships.

Open Space Network


ublic parks are often assigned surface runoff from surrounding buildings and
to leftover spaces after all the stores it in underground tanks.
buildings have been planned. Her study is more urban design than
Cristina Abril considers these architecture. It needed more intensive What is multi-
urban voids as breathing spaces architectural questioning, says Tan-Branquinho, functional space?
in high-density cities and places of social and adding: I would have wanted to have attention to
cultural significance to the community. A the spaces createdwhat is the sense of place? Multi-functional open spaces are
green places that provide a variety of
connected, interactive open space can unify the For his part, consultant Leandro Poco, notes: activities for different types of users.
community and improve the function of the She took pains designing street furniture when Communities and their recreational
city in terms of flooding, traffic and pollution, she could have identified a building structure and needs tend to change over time.
she says. designed it to link together these open spaces she Multi-functional and flexible open
spaces are better at adapting to
Abrils thesis is centered on a set of design was proposing. changes, allowing a range of users
guidelines for the redevelopment of open Nevertheless, Abrils thesis shows exciting to enjoy the same space and at the
spaces in Ermita, Malate, one of the oldest prospects of how neglected public spaces, when same time, allowing the space to
evolve, mature and adapt to the
districts of Manila and currently the seat of the developed, may bring new life to blighted urban
changes in the community.
local city government. Of the 14 major open corridors.
spaces in Ermita identified by Abril, she chose
fourPlaza Olivia Salamanca, Remedios Circle,
Rajah Sulayman Park, and Plaza Fergusonas 02
examples where she showed how the guidelines
could be applied. The challenge is to create a
visual connection between the pocket parks and
the buildings around it. The parks share common
elements such as public art, informative displays,
way-finding devices, benches, and multi-
functional open spaces, which can accommodate
various community activities and events. The
parks also have food stores and can serve as
venue for occasional street performances. As
part of its urban sustainability feature, the parks
have a storm water retention system that collects

BluPrint 97



01 Stramps or stairs with

ramps is a prominent
landscape element in
Hapatingas masterplan
that promotes walking and
stair climbing as a form of
simple physical exercise for
the elderly and the children.
They also serve as venues
for interaction. 02 Hapatinga
wants children and elders to
live harmoniously and build
a close familial relationship
so he designed communal
spaces that provide
opportunities for formal and
informal interaction.

98 BluPrint
he author feels for orphans and the architectural solution will be beneficial to both 03 Before they are
completely admitted to the
aged living in underfunded social social welfare dependent elderly and impoverished
community, children have to
welfare institutions. More than children? and What planning model can be go through a rehabilitation
providing for their basic need for used to physically and socially integrate social process that includes
shelter, Paula Hapatinga believes welfare dependent elderly and impoverished seminars and psychological
briefing to prepare them
that architecture should also provide for their children, which will let themfeel their self-worth for their new home and
psychological need to feel loved and cared for. She and purpose? Its difficult to conceive how the environment. Rehabilitation
says, Every child deserves to be happy...and every use of container vans per se is beneficial. If the takes place in the reflection
elderly (person), a sense of purpose even when intergenerational housing program is run well and area and provisional shelter
units. 04 Elders can teach
they are no longer part of the work force. She supported financially, the buildings will of course children about organic
rethinks the idea of welfare housing and proposes benefit its users, regardless of material, humble gardening at the Vegetable
an intergenerational community in Quezon City or sophisticated. Hapatingas research questions Garden Bridge. Vertical green
vegetation are also applied at
that that encourages the children to treat the elders are complex question fallacies that presuppose
both exterior and interior walls
as their grandparents, and the elders to treat the that architecture, by itself, can solve the problem of the container structures to
kids as their grandchildren. In her plan, Hapatinga of abandoned children and elderly, and empower serve as thermal insulation.
provides amenities like a chapel, school, parks them to find purpose and meaning. We commend
and a fitness center that will help young and old students for taking on such projects, but social
generations ease into their new roles. Her proposed issues are complex and just not solvable by
set-up banks on traditional Filipino values that will architecture alone.
allow children to feel cared for by an adult, and the
elderly to find purpose in taking care of abandoned
children as their own.
Hapatinga chooses shipping containers as a low-
cost and sturdy alternative to mainstream building 03
materials like concrete and steel. Its sustainable, she
says, and solves the problem of empty containers
crowding the Port of Manila. Cargotecture, as
this strategy is called, has been successfully
implemented in different parts of the world.
However, it only works as a temporary solution and
Hapatingas proposal is a permanent housing facility.
And, the problem of unused containers is one that
will disappear if government does what it should to
boost manufacturing and trade, in particular, export.
The glut of container vans in our port area is not an
opportunity, says BluPrint consultant Leandro Poco,
because these vans are worth more to shippers than
they are to any developer as a building material. 04
Poco raises concerns about the projects
structural integrity. The student lines up several
container vans and assumes whole walls can be
removed to combine the narrow spaces into a
large footprint. Doing so will weaken the structure
because the strength of the container rests not in
the frame but the exterior skin, which, if removed,
compromises the containers ability to handle
different loads.
Consultant Stephanie Tan-Branquinho, for her
part, questions the process that led to the design
conclusion. She asks, What are the justifications
for the way the container vans are positioned? How
does their configuration contribute to solving the
issues cited?
The problem with Hapatingas thesis premise
is that it seeks to answer the questions: What

BluPrint 99

The Peoples

he problem identified in the thesis generic tin gym for a Pacquiao fight, and the space
project is the local masses lack of of the MGMs Arena is virtually multiplied and
exposure to quality arts, particularly expanded to include the vast number of gyms in
theater. Logistical, financial and the Philippines showing the fight for free, along
transportation constraints prevent with all the living rooms around the world with
producers and performers from taking their Pay-Per-View. But that does not make the gym the
act to rural areas; and local barangay halls and MGM Arena, nor does the structure transform into
basketball courts serve as poor stages for a theater a piece of architecture.
performance. Diandra Muassabs solution: design Poco endeavors further to take Muassabs
a truck that can be unfolded to become a theater proposal seriously: Its a temporary venue
stage, making transport to far-off areas easier. to view a temporary event. Can architecture
The Peoples Theatre isnt just for plays become part of an event, or the event itself? Yes.
Muassabs plan allows lighting and sound system The world expos are examples of architecture
setups for music and dance performances too. as event, but temporal and material difficulties
The mobile theater system has three main parts: arise when this direction is pursued for smaller
the ceiling rigging system, flooring and the base. scales as in the case of this project. Searching for
The roofing, trusses, structural supports, stage similarities between Muassabs mobile theater and
panels and backstage walls are all folded inside the World Expo pavilions that enthrall millions
the truck, and can be unfolded and set up once the every year is most gracious of Poco. What is the
truck is parked. Muassab hopes that by making it theater experience here? asks fellow consultant
easier for quality arts to reach the masses, their Stephanie Tan-Branquinho. She elaborates:
potential creativity can be sparked and developed. Im looking for the architecture of space and
To appreciate Muassabs work, BluPrint place that creates anticipation of a show and a
consultant Leandro Poco recalls I.M.Peis senior performance. How would the experience of going
thesis in MIT, a mobile propaganda unit for rural to this mobile theater be different from going
China made of dismountable bamboo, off a mobile into a barangay singing contest or a basketball
container. His aim was to create a platform game? How is culture and art housed in a unique
to educate the vast numbers of rural Chinese architectural space?
using projectors and film reels carried within Like another mobile project proposed by a
the piece of mobile architecture. Of course, his fellow SDA student, The Peoples Theatre raises
tutors in MIT were taken aback by Peis use of the the question of what architecture is or isnt
word propaganda as the message the mobile valid and compelling questions. Does the final
containers carried to the masses, Poco recounts. product provide an experience of space and a
The world has changed a fair bit since I.M.Peis sense of place? Unless the answer is yes, it is a
student years, and the need for a mobile structure bit of a stretch to call it an architectural solution.
as a means of transmitting information, or for that The Peoples Theater is a set-up light and sound
matter, entertainment, to the far masses is easily system suppliers might want to add to their list
surpassed by virtual channels like the Internet, of offerings, but not something an architecture
and mass media like radio and television. Poco student should have expended so much time and
elaborates: Put up a screen in front of a packed, energy rationalizing.

100 BluPrint
01 02 03

04 05 06

Diandra Muassabs solution to
the local masses lack of exposure
to quality arts, particularly
theater: design a truck that can be
unfolded to become a theater
stage, making transport to far-off
areas easier.

08 09

01 Perspective showing the Peoples Theatre being unfolded. Here, the outer panels of the truck are being unfolded to create the small backstage area.
02 After the backstage area is set up, the next step is to unfold the truck walls that will serve as the stage flooring. The rest of the Peoples Theatre parts are stacked in
the middle: the ceiling system, crane and trusses, and the modular floor panels. 03 The floor system consists of 20 panels that are connected through a hook-and-eye
system, and measures a total of 7.2m x 13m when assembled. 04 Using a chain block and crane, the ceiling system can be lifted up to the desired height, depending on
the performance. Once the ceiling system is up, folded trusses on the side should be lowered down for structural support. 05 & 06 The author designed the Peoples
Theatre to be set up on one side of a basketball court, which, she points out, is also the events space of most baranggays. She claims the mobile theater design would
eliminate the acoustical problems and inadequacies of such sites. The bigger question, however, is whether the immediate surroundings of the typical baranggay basketball
court has enough space for a truck 6 by 2.4 meters in size to maneuver from the street into position. 07, 08 & 09 The Peoples Theatre can be used for three different
performance types: orchestral and choral music, plays, and dance performances.

BluPrint 101

According to liturgical guidelines, there must be a structure where parishioners can faithfully practice liturgy, and an altar for the Eucharistic celebration.
Furthermore, it states that a church must stand as a symbol of the community itself. The modular sanctuary therefore must symbolize the community and help
its people keep the faith. While the modular sanctuary is helpful for the disabled and the elderly, it doesnt enhance the churchgoing experience for everyone else.


102 BluPrint
evin Singzons thesis project is more abstract way, says BluPrint consultant Floor Plan
a fairly simple onea movable Stephanie Tan-Branquinho. Indeed, the projects Scale 1:50M
place of worship for people in design is simplistic and banal to the point The floor plan of Singzons
remote areas of Bulacan who find that Tan-Branquinho questions whether it is modular sanctuary provides
it difficult to reach the town church. an architectural solution worthy of a final for all the necessary liturgical
The Bishop of the Diocese of Malolos discourages thesis project. items to celebrate a Catholic
mass in an area of 4 x 2
the practice of holding outdoor masses because Says fellow consultant Leandro Poco: The study metersthe altar table at
the practice of Liturgy is not being followed in this attempts to expand the definition of architecture by the center, the crucifix and
scenario, so the author saw fit to design a modular growing it beyond what we recognize as buildings, lectern flanking it, and the
retablo behind. A retractable
sanctuary that would bring the church experience but the author does not expound on what he believes
canopy will cover the
to the different sitios in the area. would define the temporary and mobile structure sanctuary when it is being
The location chosen for the thesis is the as architecture. Can religious architecture be fleeting moved from place to place.
municipality of Doa Remedios Trinidad, which is
divided into 8 barangays with over an 80% Catholic
population. The proposed design allows for the
Kevin Singzons thesis project is a simple onea
modular sanctuary to be pulled by a tractor, vehicle movable place of worship for people in remote
commonly found in the province. A 4 x 2-meter areas of Bulacan who find it difficult to reach
flatbed hooked onto the tractor will hold the
sanctuary, composed of the altar table, lectern, and the town church.
retablo. It can also be converted into a carriage for
an image procession. and temporary without creating a spiritual sense
The authors objectives are to provide a anchored to the place where it is planted? Anyone
holistic experience of the church cathedral, who was at Pope Francis mass in Tacloban and
and strengthen the faith of the parishioners in Luneta or UST will no longer see the temporary
preparation of establishing their faith in eternal life. structures used, but they leave a ghost-like memory
It is disappointing that the school did not demand of a place that is special for this reason.
smart (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and The author said he wanted to apply the genius
time-bound) goals, or at the very least, a number of loci theorythe spirit of a place created by
indicators to measure success. Putting a sanctuary architecture and culture. That is precisely what is
on a flatbed solves the problem of bringing the missing. He could have abstracted what that is from
church to the people, but the opportunity for a more research into the people, culture and context of
imaginative solution was squandered. the area, to produce a design that would embrace,
[This] could have developed into something enhance or embody the spirit of the place, even as it
interesting if the whole idea was seen in a travels from site to site.

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Valence and Spaces


01 02

The author wants to prove that

architecture is situational and adaptive:
I want to explore its potentiality to
adapt to certain imminent happenings
and still control them by designs
considerate of the changes in the
environment. He presents several
plans for defensive lines depending

on where the attack comes from
(the harbor, city/core, or a scattered
ngelo Blay is concerned about drove 1950s-1960s American defense strategy as invasion), as symbolized by the red
the Philippine militarys inability planners consciously tried to define radii around or neutralized areas. His ideal
to defend our territory from urban cores which could be considered safe from defensive line is one allocated along
foreign invaders. The recent Soviet nuclear and ICBM strikes. Cities are difficult the perimeter and harborside districts
with reinforcement defensive cores
territorial disputes in the places to fight in, and if the conflict goes nuclear, in the middle part of the city, [with its]
South China Sea lend a measure of urgency to his are easy targets to destroy with tactical nuclear business districts and mass-scaled
thesis project, in which he proposes tactical and weapons. This paranoid thinking justified sprawl. residential zones.
physical defense lines through urban planning and But all of the above only add value if this were a
architecture. He argues that a countrys physical planning thesis and not an architectural thesis, so Core neutralization
defense is necessary not just for repelling invaders, these are largely moot.
but also for projecting an image of strength, Consultant Stephanie Tan-Branquinhos reaction
something he feels the Aquino administration upon reading Blays book: The thesis appears like a
hasnt prioritized. As a result, Blay avers, countries collection of data and planning guidelines, and could
like China bully us. The more urbanized a country have had a more specific architectural solution.
is, he says, the greater the need for superior defense As improbable as Blays imaginings of China
systems. Citing the 9/11 attacks on the US, he warns or some other bully attacking Cebu are, even more Ideal reinforced zone
that an attack on any one of our urban centers improbable is the suggestion that fortifying Cebus
would be catastrophic to our economy. coastline and projecting an image of strength
For his study, Blay chose the island of Cebu. would stop China from launching an offensive
Focusing on the areas near the coastline, he created there if it wanted to. The thesis project also touches
separate zones for defensive armaments and on how the zoning of tactical and defensive lines
reinforced buildings, and evacuation areas for could be usefuleven crucialin cases of natural
civilians in the event of an attack. Inspired by the disasters, in facilitating mobilization of the military
military strategies of Mongolian warrior Genghis for rescue and evacuation operations. His time would Legend

Khan, and the Vietnamese in the Battle of Ap Bac, have been better spent on this instead of planning Preliminary Defense Zero
Prior to Neutralization
he presents how defense lines could be mapped out for non-existent armies invading our cities, as Poco
depending on the type of invasion. puts it. Still, it wouldnt make for an architectural Neutralized Areas

It might have served his arguments better thesis, and one wonders how this proposal with its
if he had done case studies of similar defensible shaky theoretical grounding, incredible premises
01 & 02 The architectural
settlements, and of more recent vintage. BluPrint and faulty logic wasnt shot down from the get-go. component of the thesis is limited
consultant Leandro Poco cites Singapores to the design of military-integrated
Woodlands New Town as a possible example, as 03 defensive canopy clamp modules,
it was planned/designed to become a massive to be installed in buildings to shield
soldiers and civilians during warfare.
stumbling block to any Malaysian invasion over the Joint hinges allow these modules to
causeway. Poco further suggests: (Blay could have be raised up if necessary, and small
expounded) on how the USA deliberately took to openings let soldiers to fire through.
Sounds more like an industrial
suburbanization of critical industries and military
design proposal than an architectural
positions to minimize potential mass damage by solution. 03 Military-integrated
nuclear strikes on major urban concentrations. This defensive canopy clamp modules

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Beyond Self
BE OPERATING IN By Leandro Nicholas Raoa Poco

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Images from Wikimedia Commons

The projects pictured here ecause of its ideal and Iconic object buildings
are by architect and professor theoretical framework, the The best of the students are adroit in creating,
Samuel Mockbees Rural
final year architectural theses evolving or adopting forms, silhouettes and
Studio at Auburn University,
Alabama. Mockbee, who of a cohort of graduates serve profiles of iconic work. Artistic expression and
formed Rural Studio in as a canary in the coal mine style (despite our less than stellar surroundings)
1993, conceived of helping they indicate the health or deterioration of have always been hallmarks of Filipino creativity
impoverished residents of
rural Alabama while teaching
the profession in this country. The rite-of- compared to the rest of the world. Design-wise,
his students to care for their passage is the apex of a students creative most of the students were not afraid to impose a
community. Rural Studio has and intellectual output, and reflects the shape or masscurvilinear, jagged, meshed, etc.
constructed 80+ homes and architecture schools method of instruction, Some try to tie together function, narrative and
civic buildings, hailed as a
perfect storm of design-build quality of faculty, its culture and values. form by conceptualizing an idea as a shape on the
ingenuitysustainable, The thesis projects featured here cover a floor plans, e.g.: a corporations logo as the shape
cost-efficient and bold. broad range of work, with varying sites and of the building.
The American Institute of
approaches; and some common themes, This range of form is refreshing in contrast
Architects awarded him the
AIA Gold Medal posthumously motives, strengths and weaknesses can to the Miesian boxes I encountered at National
in 2004. be observed. University of Singapore studios.

BluPrint 107

(I attribute this as a byproduct of Singapores advantages, such as students with practicing

rationality, and to the NUS School of Design architects in their families), but it does not help
and Environments heavy emphasis on rational the rest of the group improve.
legibility of forms, building technology and The lack of a studio culture may also be
buildability.) indicative of the urban Filipinos desire for
Accompanying the ability to create attractive self-expression. Instead of more pastoral and
forms, the thesis projects collectively exhibit collective values of sharing and helping each
that our students are at par with the rest of other, young creatives growing up in our
the world in terms of technique and mastery crowded metro areas learn early in life the
of software required to produce the stunning need to stand apart from their peers. Ask an
visuals. Some projects have moved away from the architecture student what he or she wants to
typical orthographic (2D Plan, Section Elevation) be in the future, and the customary response
presentation, and have taken to using diagrams, is to be a famous architectnot excellent. This
cut-aways, infographics and videos to help sell pabida and highly competitive context needs
their respective narratives. to be replaced by a studio culture that values
Most projects aim to trigger a Bilbao Effect continuous improvement and learning, not self-
on the areas surrounding their site. (Most expression and winning. Schools are not in the
observers think that Bilbaos progress was driven business of creating the next Pinoy starchitect.
solely by the completion of Guggenheim Museum, This is not The Voice or American Idol. Schools
but it was actually part of a concerted urban are in the business of training learners to work
redevelopment of the whole city, rather than together and become excellent practitioners.
the result of one famous building.) These thesis
authors say that by creating iconic landmarks, we Tabula rasa
will be able to market a progressive Philippines There is a prevalence of projects sited in tabula
to the world, and attract visitors and investments. rasa conditions devoid of context, without need
This is anchored on a disproportionate value to work with surrounding urban fabric. This is
ascribed to image and perception, rather than a natural extension of the fascination for iconic
substance. The Philippines is not alone in this object buildings, which are typically standalone
thinking. The wave of starchitecture and iconism structures that dominate their surroundings.
has swept the design and real estate industries Students favor sites without strong planning
worldwide, as cities and countries jostle for jurisdictions and context, avoiding policed,
attention and mind share by building their own planned and highly contextual areas like Ayalas
versions of the Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower, Makati, Bonifacio Global City, Araneta Center,
Burj Dubai, etc. Escolta, Luneta, etc.
In most schools, glossy iconism is upheld as the Instead, most opt for vacant suburban plots and
summit of design practice; and the iconic building, ribbon developments with weak contextual linkages
the object of desire and fascination. The hero epic between buildings, like the Pasay and Paraaque
is one of joining a prestigious design competition reclamation areas, Quezon Citys many vacant
(or completing a thesis project), and submitting institutional parcels, or the rural countryside, which
something so mind-blastingly great stakeholders allow students to plunk down whatever iconic
climb over each other to get the project built, object they want. Such non-acknowledgement
thereby triggering the shining career of its designer. of context in our cities creates conditions like
Even fabric building projects (building types Commonwealth Avenues incongruent mix of iconic
driven by program, or buildings that help form buildings in non-iconic settings: soaring Neo-Gothic
the fabric of a city or campus) are styled in an Iglesia ni Kristo structures alongside boxy malls,
overtly iconic fashion. This says a lot about the and churches in the mold of Saint Peters Basilica,
competitive culture within architecture schools, shoulder to shoulder with hardware stores along
and the values and motives the graduates and the busy highway.
their schools hold. Thesis students usually identify their project,
create the program and visualize their iconic
Lack of studio culture form before they identify a site, so they naturally
The lack of a studio culture (where students will want a vacant space on which to plunk their
work in an open environment, and critiques project. Then the schools, to ensure a level of
by professors and fellow students alike thresh complexity, require a certain minimum land
out ideas and improve the collective design area for site selection. Their bias for large land
output) creates silos within classes and among cuts pushes students out to the open spaces
individuals. Instead of the cohort progressing mentioned, which is a shame because there is a
and moving the program forward, students see higher level of difficulty in working with a limited
each other as competition and keep their designs urban parcel with context. Furthermore, smaller
and proposals to themselves. Of course, this footprints would allow students to explore a
system allows for the cream of the crop to rise certain project type more deeply and in more
(out of their own talent, work ethic and personal detail than a mega-project would.

108 BluPrint
In fairness to the students, most of the plans Academic disconnection
are clearly thought out and functional, albeit some Lastly, one theme I observed among the thesis
have a weak grasp of scale and proportion, no projects is a broader concern and, in a way,
doubt caused by the oodles of space available to intrinsic to the academe: it is the disconnect
them during planning. A blank slate reduces the between thesis projects and the reality they
variables to be considered, and allows students are supposed to operate in. The theme of
to focus on creating plans that are functional disconnection is characterized by three patterns.
manifestations of their respective programs and
concepts. However, this waters down the thesis Grand government-driven
in terms of real world application, because we projects la Mitterrand
know that real projects occur in less than ideal Several students proposed government-
conditions, requiring compromise on what to driven projects for various relevant social and
give up and what to keep. Real world projects are environmental concerns, which are noble and
rife with win-some, lose-some conditions, and well-meaning, but unfortunately conceived in
we arent doing our students a favor by insulating the tradition of former French Prime Minister
them from these realities. and Paris Mayor Francois Mitterrands Grands
Projetsiconic government buildings with
Build for iconic places instead bottomless budgets and imagined proponents like
We have long abandoned slash-and-burn the private sector (any of the big conglomerates in a
farming, but we have not stopped our kaingin- PPP setup) and foreign governments. Mitterrands
like abandonment of old cities. The unabated Napoleonic proclivity for monument building and
preference for starting afresh has caused our urban self-actualization are deeply at odds with
cities to sprawl into the countryside, and is the survivalist level at which our country still
symptomatic of a 1950s disdain for our urban operates. While both proponents are instrumental
core. Metro Manila is now knocking on the
doors of Bulacan, Cavite, and Lagunaeven as
far as Pampanga and Batangas. The rest of the
world has learned from Mumford and Jacobs; in Real world projects are rife with win-
fact, there is a wave of re-urbanization of cities.
Realizing that city living is not the dark and some, lose-some conditions, and we
crime-ridden dystopia of yesterday, and
because of changing lifestyles, entire suburbs
arent doing our students a favor by
in developed countries are emptying back
into cities.
insulating them from these realities.
Instead of creating iconic buildings in space,
why not create buildings for iconic and important
spaces? We are not running short of important in delivering important government infrastructure,
parcels of land within our cities. Certainly, these these proponents do not give carte blanche to the
can be redeveloped in the theoretical realm of Philippine government to build whatever it sees fit.
a thesis. Likewise, we are not short of decrepit Because of the corruption of past administrations,
and unremarkable building stock, which could the proponents themselves design, plan and/or
be redeveloped in the academic ideal of a thesis contract the work for these projects. This means
project. Iconic areas like downtown Manila that the work itself is not of Napoleonic whim, but of
plazas, Escolta, Rizal Park (especially the vacant technocratic deliverables and measurables.
parcel of land which was supposed to be our What we see therefore is a marked disconnect
Capitol buildingcurrently a 3D relief map of between what the academe envisions as a
the Philippines), and the surrounding Kalaw, government project, and how these projects
UN Avenue and Malate areas; Araneta Centers are delivered. The fallacy of iconic architecture
Balai Roxas and surrounding greenery; and as a cure-all permeates these theoretical white
Makatis Ayala Triangle are all opportunities to elephants designed for a populace that has yet
create buildings for iconic and important places. to evolve. I understand some schools push this
Schools (especially those in the University Belt) because they believe that they are educating
can show their commitment to their respective students for the future, but the thesis project as a
cities by theming thesis projects around urban future thought or theoretical experiment falls
redevelopment, or grouping together thesis apart because there is a gulf to be bridged in terms
projects around certain clustered locations of of values and skills to be learned.
important districts. There is more value to be Our students are being taught to design in
unlocked from sites in these areas than in sites a creative, sociological and political vacuum.
that are tabula rasa. We will be teaching students They are expected to design for governments,
to handle and process more layers of information without knowing how they work and what role
better, and imbue them with the value of cities architects and designers play in the delivery of
and our heritage as well. infrastructure and services.

BluPrint 109

Why cant schools or the Board of Architecture We need courses in real estate development,
encourage apprenticeship in the government in land economics, in project and construction
itself? Being in the entry level of government will management to remind them of the numerous
help students understand the process of moving layers driving a developer project. Instead
projects, and will hopefully also trigger a national of teaching students that developers and
development mindset amongst architects businessmen are evil, why not encourage summer
maybe even channel some to become better- internships with contractors and developers to
equipped public servants? help students form a broad-based understanding
of the rigors of the free market.
Private sector projects without grounding
in market realities Social action for non-profit
The second pattern is a disconnect with market The third pattern is that of progressive social
realities. As a practitioner working for developers action for the non-profit sectorthesis projects
of various shapes and sizes, I appreciate thesis centered on disaster resiliency, temporary and
projects geared towards the private sector. These relocation housing, and arts and crafts livelihood
projects are not sellouts, but opportunities for centers. These projects are important because
students to gain a head start in the context they they signify that our graduates believe in the
will probably operate in. mission of architecture and design to change
Some of the private sector driven projects our world, and uplift the living conditions of
are interesting because the students tried to our fellow men. One of the notably well-crafted
push local typologies further. One of the projects projects, a center for retraining our domestic
investigated how to integrate community spaces helpers, was driven by the students deep,
into a condominium block with the aim meaningful relationship with his familys
of fostering neighborliness amongst condo- long-time house-help. The other projects show
dwellers. This is a marked contrast to how most a similarly genuine concern and desire to help
local condominiums can be dull, impersonal others, but are otherwise disconnected from
and transient.
Some have taken liberties in their
investigations of these profit-driven typologies True creativity and innovation should not
and have forgotten that valuereal or
perceivedis what drives the exchange of happen in a vacuum, disconnected from market
property and currency in markets. As designers, realities. Unchecked, this state of affairs only
we are agents of adding real or perceived value.
However, the students seem to see the designers
downgrades the academe as a purveyor of
value as a function of how many bells, whistles, ideas inapplicable in the real world.
attachments and articulations he can add to a
projects design. I see no recognition of the layers
of information that drive intrinsic real estate realities on the ground that they wish to
value: location, scarcity of land, construction operate in.
costs versus acquisition costs of land, The disconnect here is no different from the
marketability and livability of spaces, circulation top-down prescriptive projects that the non-
efficiency, etc. profit development sector has long had trouble
Ive sat through numerous thesis discussions implementing at the grassroots. As someone
on vertical farming, communal green spaces for who keeps tabs on the non-profit development
skyscrapers and collective living spaces, without sector through my wifes previous work with
regard for the weighty demands of land value, the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Ive heard of
private ownership, security and access controls, amusing but troubling stories of how top-down
etc. Where is the value in designing socialist projects that sound brilliant in the confines of our
utopias that will wither and die in capital- air-conditioned ivory towers fail gloriously when
driven soil? I couldnt fathom thesis projects for implemented on the ground.
developer typologies like malls, subdivisions, One example of how top-down initiatives
condominiums, office towers, hotels and the like fail happened in the 1980s when Italy sent NGOs
without market-driven measurables such as to Africa to explore vegetable crop farming as a
efficiency, cost, return and time/phasing. True means of livelihood and food security. The Italians
creativity and innovation should not happen in surveyed the land and agriculture of the locals,
a vacuum, disconnected from market realities. and concluded the locals were underfarming
Unchecked, this state of affairs only downgrades the land; were lazy and uncivilized; their diet
the academe as a purveyor of ideas inapplicable in unsophisticated and in need of refinement. One of
the real world. the first crops the NGOs brought to Africa with the
For the academe to be relevant, we need funding of the EU were tomatoes. They taught the
to educate architecture students holistically. locals how to till the land and grow tomatoes.

110 BluPrint
The first few weeks, the locals were happily We can fuse the GK and Habitat social
following their foreign teachers. But when the development model with the Rural Studios
first batch of crops started bearing fruit, the design education agenda. This will create
locals suddenly refused to go to the farms. This architects and designers imbued with a true
befuddled and frustrated the Italians until they sense of service and design for those who have
found out that the local hippopotami had acquired less in life.
a taste for the fruit, and were making trips from
their watering holes to snack on the ripe, red Conclusions
tomatoes. Moral of the story? Farming is good This thesis review has been a very insightful
if you can keep the herbivores away from your mirror. It reflects my own experience in
crop before the harvest. university and the succeeding layers of insights
Good intentions cannot change the fact I have gained in my journey as an architect.
that the various iterations of floating houses, How fortunate are these graduating students
bamboo houses, and mobile architectural to be entering the profession at this time in our
typologies seen here are good on paper, but nations development. The ongoing building tide
likely unfeasible if brought out to the field. Its is floating everyones boats, and unlike past
downright embarrassing to think that a student years of doubt and uncertainty, there is an
can proceed in such a direction without first exciting promise to their stepping out into the
undertaking a significant period of immersion working world.
in the communities that they are supposed to The profession is known for its values of
be serving; and without knowing the cost creativity and self-expression, both of which, if
material and otherwiseof building in these carried out without regard for the larger world
underdeveloped communities. This applies to outside us and for the networks of people we
any kind of construction. If architects do not affect, can lead us into a pit of paper hubris, and
experience for themselves or appreciate how worse, screaming megalomania, when built.
buildings are put together, and how their spaces The extent of our hubris in self-expression
are actually used, we will be ill-equipped to serve as proven by the scores of ideal thesis projects
our clients properly. and built white elephantshas no limits. As
My favorite counter-case for this is how the educators, students and as practitioners, there
Ateneo Human Rights Center takes its interns is a clear need to scrutinize our values and
out to live with the communities that they motives to be of true service to others:
serve. They climb through deforested hills, By heightening our attentiveness to our
cross rivers, get on a carabao, collect water, evolving urban context, and the various influences
Leandro Nicholas R.
dig latrines, interview and commune with the that drive value in real estate and design; Poco is partner at L.A. Poco
locals. They do this a week at a time, without By improving and deepening our connections Architects, a boutique firm
creature comforts, with the intent to walk in the with our peers and mentors, our government and with projects small to large,
such as: the De La Salle Zobel
shoes (or bare feet) of their client base, and not our private and non-profit development sectors; Our Lady of the Star Chapel
just be tourists. The interns emerge from this And by adopting a service-oriented mindset, in Ayala Alabang; the Net
experience as changed persons, imbued with seeking what is true and of value to our clients, Lima and Net Park Buildings
a more acute sense of purpose, and a profound ourselves and our public. in BGC (with Oppenheim
Architecture+Design as Design
respect for what their client base go through on I want to close with a quote from Moshe Consultant); and several
a daily basis. Safdie, which encapsulates this so eloquently: mid-rise condominiums and
There are many avenues to get students retail centers. He previously
worked at Palmer & Turner
to experience the development sector and its He who seeks Truth
Consultants on high-end high-
clients firsthand. Habitat for Humanity and Shall find Beauty rises in Singapore and Vietnam;
Gawad Kalinga participation are the low- He who seeks Beauty and at Surbana International
hanging fruit as both are purely for social Shall find Vanity Consultants, on such townships
as the resort-city of Sikkim
outreach, without a design education agenda. He who seeks Order in Indias Himalayan region; a
But should the schools look further, Samuel Shall find Gratification commercial and institutional
Mockbees Rural Studio in Auburn University He who seeks Gratification core planned around a man-
in Alabama is an outstanding precedent. In the Shall be Disappointed made lake in North Vietnam;
and the Pulau Muara Besar
Rural Studio, students spend a semester or a He who considers himself the servant in Brunei Darussalam. As an
year out in the field, designing and building of his fellow being ASEAN scholar, Poco acquired
for the poor communities in South Bend, Shall find the joy of Self-Expression his Masters degree in Urban
Design with focus on Urban
Alabama. They learn to live with the locals He who seeks Self-Expression
Typomorphology and City Form
and to understand their needs. In some cases, Shall fall into the pit of Arrogance from the National University
the communities themselves join in building Arrogance is incompatible with Nature. of Singapore. His dissertation,
their projects. As such, their designs are Through the nature of the universe EDSA: From Urban Fringe to
Urban Spine allowed him to
unique hybrids of design theory, executed and And the nature of man
graduate with distinction and
customized for the local clients quirks and the We shall seek Truth receive the Singapore Institute
communitys requirements. If we seek truth, we shall find Beauty. of Architects Book Prize.

BluPrint 111

PO.RE Opens

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Manila grand International airport by katherine Igonigon
(Industry Award and Students Choice Award) Mentor: Michael Stephen Diaz, Arcdes 5
The junior students design proposal aims to replace terminals 1, 2 and 4 with one international
airport and intermodal hub that will then be connected to the proposed LRT extension projects. This
will provide ease of access for all passengers who use public transport. Terminal 3 will be retained
as a domestic airport and linked with the international airport and proposed LRT station. The project
aims to create an efficient, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable airport design.

he School of Design and Arts (SDA)
Architecture Program has been
running for six years, and last March
21, we launched PO.RE or Portfolio
Review, meant to celebrate the school
agenda and students works, and to inspire and
renew the motivations of our mentors. Our goal is to
become a school that fosters progressive thinking in
architectural design. This is the big picture.
Bjarke Ingels believes that Architecture is the
art and science of making sure that our cities and
buildings fit with the way we want to live our lives.
Managing design classes is similar to a city and
its architecture in the sense that while each class
is taught uniquely based on the sensibilities of its
mentor, each still represents the schools big or
overarching school of thought. Each class is treated
as an important element that is part of a rich and
bigger collage of a vision.
If the Architecture program is faithfully
carrying out its mission, the student projects
generated by our design classes should be clear
expressions of itthe portfolio of the program is
the best manifestation of the school culture. The
PO.RE, therefore, will serve as our lens to determine
whether the mission of the program is being
successfully cascaded.
Who gets exhibited? For this first PO.RE, the 23
exhibits are the best of their class from Architecture
Design (Arcdes) 2, 5 and 8, mentored by 10
practitioners. Each entry was chosen by the tutor.
Since this is a pilot event, it covers only the design
classes of the last term. Next year, the exhibition will
be a comprehensive review of Arcdes 1 to Arcdes 10.
This event took us a month to prepare, and we might
need three months to organize the second PO.RE.
Through this representation, we not only are
able to audit the performance of a class through its
collaterals, content and mentors tutoring style, but
we are also able to examine whether our objectives
are collectively aligned.

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port terminal by
Mariah concepcion,
Mentor: Ven Quizon,
Arcdes 5. The project aims
to address Manilas port
congestion by proposing a
structure that uses container
vans as building envelope.
Hydraulic machines were
integrated into the envelope
to convey container vans,
resulting into the buildings
dynamic and shifting faade.

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The PO.RE exhibition is also meant to
benchmark the quality of content and
work of SDAARs project collaterals.

Back when this school started in 2009, its small
group of faculty members knew each other and
the passion to teach was very contagious. Even
non-design classes were treated like a rigorous
design studio. Five years later, the program
has fully grown and so have its challenges.
One of these challenges is ensuring that the
design classes produce works that not only
are communicated effectively visually, but
that have also undergone a design process and
argumentation of dialectics.
stealth airport rendering We want to maintain a strong studio
by zacc Renia (Merit), culture, which, unfortunately, is not yet widely
Mentor: Ven Quizon, practiced among local schools. Alarmingly,
Arcdes 5. One of the best
visualization techniques in
teachers new to SDA, who do not share
the exhibition. The project or come from the same culture, brought
is an airport using stealth in outdated practices of design classes.
technology during a terrorist Institutionalization seemed to be an inevitable
or armed conflict involving
territorial disputes measure to prevent this trend, but since most
of our design professors are practitioners
themselves, scheduling for evaluation is a
Ermita sexy urban Renewal by lorenzo ferrer and lorenzo Esteban (Mentors Award),
Mentor: Kris Aquino, Arcdes 2. The site assigned to the sophomores was in Barangay 664 and 666 in dilemma. Therefore, we proposed an annual
Ermita. And among the words given for design concept, the team chose dayuhan. After they explored, gathering wherein all the members of the
immersed in, and catalogued the areas political, social, historical and cultural aspects, they chose to design SDAAR community (not limited to faculty
a community museum. It has three components: the Dystopia Museum, Utopia Museum and Ermitopia
Museum, which show the reality of Ermita as well as a glimpse of what it can be in the future. Their
and students, but including architects, design
interpretation of dayuhan as an architectural design concept was deliberately made anti-contextual with the editors, and parents) come together to review
immediate surroundings. the achievements of our department.
This endeavor obliges our architecture
teachers to participate and, more importantly,
to assess their own performance as a
teacher, as the projects will surely reflect our
motivations, sensibilities and our breadth of
knowledge as a designer and role model for
tomorrows architects.

The PO.RE exhibition is also meant to
benchmark the quality of content and work
of our project collaterals. During the opening,
students of the lower class were intimidated
by the magnitude of research and the amount
of workload that the projects of the upper
design classes obviously demand of their
seniors. We believe this is a good thing. It
mentally prepares and immerses freshmen and
sophomores in this kind of work culture.

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slumtropolis by
This event will be used as a vehicle for a kyle Nuestro (Deans Award)
common design agenda and branding. The second Mentor: Jim Caumeron,
PO.RE will be thematicvery different from this Arcdes 5. The studio assumes
that informal settlements
years varied project directions. However, we are are almost non-existent in
pleased to see that many of the PO.RE exhibits Manila and this served as
this year were coincidentally anchored on themes take-off points for exploration.
on intervention over issues of human settlement, The project romanticizes the
smallness of slums urban
mobility and city expansiona reflection indeed morphology and architectural
of the schools vision to be a design and urban typologies, transformed into
laboratory for our cities. Many of the projects are accommodation and recreational
facilities. The entire development
still in embryonic stage, but not bad considering
is almost like a small town that
that they were produced within a 12-week period. guests can immerse themselves
We believe that issues will be addressed more in, not just in the architecture, but
holistically if students are given more time for also in its sense of community
and place. Visitors can also
project development. These observations are one pay using sweat equity, that is,
of the results of our review. they can provide community
work and services in exchange
Recognition for accommodation. View of
the rooftop used as one of the
The event awards five distinctions. The recreational spaces available for
Benildean award is a work that best represents hotel guests (pictured)
the schools core values and mission of innovation
and inclusivity. The project is chosen by a La
Salle brother. The Deans Award recognizes a
visionary proposal of excellence. The Industrys
Choice Award is chosen by members of
professional organizations. The Students Choice
Award speaks of a projects level of excellence
that they wish to emulate, while the Mentors
Award is envisioned to convey the facultys
common teaching goals.
The involvement of the different sectors
makes the review more democratic and allows
us to check whether our objectives are still
aligned with our aspirations. In addition, it
allows us to see, for example, that when the
academe has a clear ambition, the students can
have loftier goals.
The choices are made through collective
assessment, using a rubric of requirements
and expectations. Like our plans to suggest a
common agenda for the next PO.RE, our tools for
auditing are still in the developmental process.

Moving forward
This years Portfolio Review has allowed us to
map where we are as a school, and charter our
heading. As a review open to scholarly scrutiny,
we can confidently define our strengths and
weaknesses, which will clearly guide us to
improve as we advance further.
Many of the students see that SDAAR faculty
is predominantly comprised of practitioners
who teach because of our strong positions
on design, our city and professional issues.
I attribute the successful mounting of this
event to the student leaders and volunteers
of SDAAR, who passionately believe in the
PO.REs mission.

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work by camille detera
(The Benildean Architect Award)
Mentor: Harry Serrano

This years Portfolio Review has allowed us to map where we are

as a school, and charter our heading. As a review open to scholarly
scrutiny, we can confidently define our strengths and weaknesses.

Jim Caumeron is the design

track head of the De La
Salle-College of Saint Benilde
Architecture Program. He
is also a practicing architect
who has won several design
competitions here and abroad.
His portfolio of work can be
viewed at

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Professorial The Somnambulist

There are professors whose very light appears
to have reached its end, and for whom the act

of inspiring has been replaced by the act of
perspiring. Staying alert is a chore, and class
time a good excuse for a much-needed doze.
Unfortunately for students, whose hard work
deserves astute assessment, the Dozers will nod at
THINGS TO LEARN FROM THE WILD AND WACKY anything and everything presented to them. It is
CHARACTERS WALKING THE HALLS OF ACADEMIA one of the few ways they show signs of life. You see
a good number of these sleepwalkers roaming the
By Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo Noche campus corridors. One benefit of being in
Illustrations by Meneer Marcelo a Somnambulists class is the realization that
success depends heavily on oneself.

eaching is one of the most honorable professions. Despite the miserable
salary and the constant slurs from ignorant and impertinent minds, the joy
of seeing ones hard work embedded in the idealistic minds of the young is
always a refreshing and affirming experience. There is no school out there
that trains Architecture teachers. The skills needed to teach Architecture
are acquired through personal experience, learning from the examples of others, and
sometimes, sheer bravado.
Movies like Goodbye Mr. Chips, Dead Poets Society and even School of Rock illustrate
what a great teacher issomeone who inspires students to be better, who guides and
leads the way, and who embraces the learner to become the learned.
There are numerous types of Architecture teachers, some more capable than
others, a good number who grumbles about the profession, some who love to instill
fear in their wards, and a few who go out of their way to make things work for
their students. Let us identify some of these types strutting, sauntering, stomping,
shambling and slithering along the hallowed hallways of academia.

The Monument
This is the self-professed expert who, through
seniority and tenure, proclaims himself the doyen
of the curriculum. He employs archaic methods of
teaching. Dissent is not allowed in the classroom.
His words are dogma, his wisdom, infallible.
Seniority and failed ambitions leave this type
vulnerable to upstarts who, clothed with zest and
an open mind, are adored by the students. It is
only a matter of time before someone topples the
crumbling monument from his perch.

The Grouch
There are always professors who come to class
with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
These are professors who harbor much anger and
frustration that their lectures are tirades against the
inequities of the world. They have all the answers,
they are never wrong, but no one seems to recognize
their brilliance except themselves. Students who
take these professors words to heart learn that life
is not a bed of roses; that life is unfair; that there
are more disappointments than triumphs; and that
architecture is a most difficult profession to practice.

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The Terror
The most dreaded professor in any college. Some
terrorize for sheer sadistic pleasure, some use terror
as a front for incompetence, and others terrorize to
push students to live up to their potential. Many things
can be learned from Terrors. First, students learn to be
prepared at all times to avoid the brunt of the Terrors
rage. They learn to deal with intimidating and difficult
personalities. And, they develop thick skin which all
designers need.

The Book Reader

No, these are not people who love to devour everything
about a topic, whose lives revolve around libraries and
bookstores, whose discoveries they eagerly share with
others. These are professors so bereft of ideas they rely
on prescribed textbooks for instruction, reading and
regurgitating the text of the day. One learns nothing
from the Book Reader that isnt already in the book. The
upside to the Book Reader is that learners are forced to
rely on their critical capacities to understand each topic.

The Barkada
You always see them with an entourage. They allow
their personal space to be penetrated by anyone
and everyone. Barkada professors are a blessing but
may also be a curse, as they allow the boundaries of
professionalism to be breached by friendship and
familiarity. They help make college life fun, but the
absence of boundaries impairs a teachers impartiality.
If a professor truly values his friendship with students,
then as a friend, he or she should know how to deliver
hurtful truths. Manuel Maximo Lopez
del Castillo Noche
is the President and CEO of
There are undeniably many more professor types ARCONiC, Inc.; Architectural
out there; some are good, others not so. But school Design and Creative Services
Consultant of Primehomes
The Hypocrite is just a microcosm of the real world, which is not
Real Estate Development Inc.;
They abound! They preach one thing and do another. sugarcoated for the weak and mild-mannered. and Assistant Professor of
The most confounding and confusing of all professors School is just the beginning of the wild and wacky the College of Architecture,
are those who contradict the very things they profess. world of Architecture. University of Santo Tomas. He
is also a Senior Researcher
Though nothing can be more exasperating than the
of the Center for Intercultural
Hypocrite, their hypocrisy just might teach students to Studies in the same university.
be more skeptical and discerning, and to resolve to be As a historian, he has written
forthright. The world outside academia is full of their two books on Colonial
Architecture in the Philippines
kind. The earlier the students learn how to deal with and regularly contributes to a
them, the better chance they have at making it in life. number of design magazines
and newspapers. Prof. Noche
The Cheerleader acquired his Masters degree
in Architecture majoring in
Great motivators, cheerleaders push students to greater Environmental Design and
heights. But be wary for there are two kindsthose who Engineering from the Bartlett
embolden their students to push past barriers to reach School of Architecture
and Planning in London,
for excellence, and those like the quintessential pompom
and his Bachelors degree
cheerleader whose contribution does not go beyond in Architecture from the
delivering pep and sprite. University of Santo Tomas.

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Luis sofa, Diesis chaise lounge and Diesis low table by Antonio Citterio, Pab wall system by Studio Kairos. Below metropolitan by Jeffrey Bernett, ray sofa and
harry large ottoman by Antonio Citterio and Pab by Studio Kairos

Italian Luxury
One of the leading Italian furniture brands
specializing in contemporary designs has
decided to set up shop in Bonifacio Global
City. B&B Italia, having struck a partnership
B&B Italias new showroom at with Focus Global Inc. to exclusively distribute
Twenty-Four Seven McKinley their products in the Philippines, opened its
new showroom last April in two floor areas
of Twenty-Four Seven McKinley and is now
inviting everyone to experience the refinement
and elegance of their collections.
Focus Global has done its part to curate a
showroom that will be a feast for the eyes of
visitors. Displayed in the spacious showroom
are iconic collections such as Serie UP, Fat
Sofa and Charles. The vignettes give off a
relaxed vibe, as if inviting visitors to feel for
themselves the luxury exuded by B&B Italias
pieces. As one of the largest showrooms of the
brand in Asia, it wont be hard for customers to
see what B&B Italia is all abouthigh-quality
design, elegance and luxury.

B&B Italia is exclusively distributed by Focus Global, Inc. Visit their

office and showroom at Twenty-Four Seven McKinley, 24th St., cor. 7th
Ave., Bonifacio Global City, or call at 705 9999

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