Building & Renovating

5 Filipino Architecture and Design Ideas You'd Want to Apply in Your Home

Photography: Seong Kwon and courtesy of M+S Studio Co. (Main Photos)

When you think of Filipino architecture, what may come to mind are images of old churches, native huts, and old homes that would be printed in history books.

While the landscape of Filipino architecture has evolved because of modern tastes, some traditional elements stand the test of time, both for their eye-catching beauty and ingenuity in design.

Add a special touch to any home build or renovation you may be working on by incorporating key elements of Filipino-inspired architecture. 

5 Filipino architecture and design ideas worth considering:

Bamboo walls and ceilings for ventilation

bamboo filipino home

This vacation home in Pampanga is not just a feast for the eyes—it's full of exciting details that champion local materials.

The design concept in this modern abode is heavily inspired by the humble bahay kubo and bahay na bato. Open spaces and natural ventilation are some of the key elements found in the home.


A striking detail of this modern Filipino house is the use of bamboo poles on walls and ceiling eaves. Additional bamboo shutters and breeze blocks make up the beautiful facade and allow the house to be cooled naturally.

READ: This Tropical-Inspired Vacation Rental Promotes Kapampangan Culture and Filipino-made Materials

Art deco elements

art deco filipino home

When one thinks of Filipino architecture and design, natural elements come to mind, like wood, rattan, and bamboo. This family home took a decidedly different route.

Jaro Municipal Hall, an art-deco-styled structure completed in 1937, was only used for three years before it was turned into other offices. In 2017, it was declared an Important Cultural Property (ICP) by the National Museum and underwent restoration.

The homeowners were very much inspired by the history and beauty of this building, as well as Iloilo's rich architectural heritage. Their home features high ceilings, uniquely Filipino decor, and furniture that bring the 1920s into the modern era.

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READ: Inspired by a Classic Municipal Hall, This Family Builds an Art Deco Home as a Homage to History

Ventanillas and Filipino patterns

modern filipino residential residence

Older Filipino homes had large sliding windows, often made of plain wood and decorated with wooden capiz shells. It allowed light to enter the area even when the windows were closed.

Large windows were sometimes made with smaller windows called ventanillas, which allowed additional air on hot days.

This multi-level home takes the best of traditional Filipino architecture and integrates it into modern design. Ventanilla-inspired details under the main windows create a unique facade. Filipino patterns are also used in window grilles and other parts of the home.

READ: These Five Houses And Buildings Show The Best of Filipino Design

Modern bahay kubo

modern filipino bahay kubo


The bahay kubo is truly timeless, as its structure fits the local environment and its layout is conducive to Filipino habits and routines.

This beautiful provincial home combines the best elements of a traditional bahay-kubo with modern industrial touches. The ground floor is completely open, with a veranda that allows easy access to the garden, an outdoor dining and kitchen area, and a screened-off small bedroom.

The top floor, on the other hand, has more intimate sitting areas and private bedrooms. The houses also incorporated traditional windows into the design to let in light and nature.

READ: A Filipino Bahay Kubo With Modern Industrial Touches

Harnessing nature

filipino tiny home

A significant consideration when renovating or building a home is how well it can stand up to the elements. In a country where typhoons are the norm, it’s a good idea to future-proof your home to minimize damages. 

This tiny home used elements of tropical design and the help of native trees to withstand strong typhoons. The home used flexible bamboo and wood that, when partnered with an open design, allowed the wind to flow rather than put pressure on solid walls.

Thanks to intelligent design decisions, the home was relatively unscathed by Typhoon Odette, one of the major cyclones to hit the country in recent years.

READ: This Tiny Home in the Mountains Remained Standing After Typhoon Odette

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