Arts & Culture

5 Award-Winning Filipino Designs

In celebration of local design, here are five shining examples of Philippine architecture, interiors, and landscape architecture, as awarded by the NCCA

Photography: Courtesy of the NCCA

We are all familiar with the Palanca Awards for Literature and the National Artist conferment—both prestigious recognitions for those in its respective fields. But until recently, there has never been a national award specifically for architecture and design.

This has all changed with the country’s first Haligi ng Dangal, an award conferred upon completed works in architecture and its allied professions by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts or NCCA. “We envisioned the Haligi ng Dangal to recognize and motivate recent works…that express the Filipino spirit,” explains Arch. Gerard Lico, consulting architect of the NCCA and project director of Haligi ng Dangal. “Hopefully through this award, our new generation of designers will realize the wealth of our local aesthetics, designs, techniques, and practices and develop new ways of incorporating them into contemporary design.”

Since its open call for nominations last year, the NCCA received entries of architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design projects from all over the country. After deliberations between judges Architects Danilo Silvestre, Rogelio Caringal, and Maria Cristina Turalba, Larch. Susan Aquino-Ong, IDr. Rachelle Medina, and Dr. Patrick Flores, the Haligi ng Dangal awards were conferred to the honorees last June 17, 2017 at the Ayuntamiento de Manila.

In an industry inundated with foreign-designed buildings with Filipino “architects of record” (mostly just to sign local building permits), and with young creatives looking at international examples as design pegs, Haligi ng Dangal will encourage our professionals to design Filipino, and build Filipino. “As there is an increasing awareness of the importance of good design in our lives and in Philippine society, recognition for the professions that contribute to this is very much overdue…Haligi ng Dangal hopes to change that," stresses Lico. "The future of Filipino design is bright, and we, Filipinos should recognize, and contribute to that.” Check out the roster of this year's honorees below:

Contemporary-Filipino house with vernacular details

The multi-level home was designed by Arch. Dan Lichauco and his team at Archion. Lichauco is the Residential Architecture honoree for his work on this project.  What makes this house stand out is the integration of traditional Filipino details into a contemporary structure and style. 

As one could see from the inside looking out, the architects translated traditional ventanillas (small windows) into contemporary wood-and-glass sliding windows under the window casements. Stylized Filipino patterns can be seen in the exterior window grilles. 

You can see the full effect of the ventanillas and the window details when the entire house is illuminated at night. 

Lakeside home that opens to the outdoors

The Lumot Lakehouse designed by IDr Budji Layug with architecture by Royal Pineda earned the award for Interior Design. Layug shared in his acceptance speech that in spite of traveling around the world for inspiration, he decided to come home to focus on purely Filipino design. 

The Lakehouse, which overlooks Taal Lake, has living spaces that open directly to the outdoors, and the generous windows make it seem like the exterior and the airy interiors are one. Layug’s use of bamboo and wooden furniture paired with local interior finishes make this home a fine example of Philippine tropical design.

Church of spirituality and light

The Church of the Gesu by arch. Jose Pedro “Bong” Recio—who designed this with his then-architectural-partner Carmelo “Meloy” Casas—garnered the award for Institutional Architecture. Recio recalls that when they met with the Atenean priests, he admitted that they had never designed a church before. They were still awarded the project, and created a church with strong modernist lines and interior spaces that play with light and references to the Holy Trinity. 

Natural elements preserved and integrated into a retail center

The honoree for Landscape Architecture is LArch. Eric Estonido for the Asea Design Group for the landscape design of the UP Town Center. Estonido’s group worked on retaining the existing trees of the former UP Integrated School, on which UP Town Center now stands. The group made sure to use mostly local plant species for the landscaping of the open areas. 

Modern building with dynamic and playful spaces

The Ronac Center by Architects Sonny Sunga and Arnold Austria of Jagnus Design Studio took home the People’s Choice Award. Sunga explains their overall approach to its design: “We took our cue from the company’s [Uratex's] beginnings in foam and bed production and used this...for its design. The foam, with its uneven surface and punctured face is simulated using German moulded concrete. The seemingly random window holes, when deciphered using Morse code, are taken from the chorus of Stronger. The spiral stairs, which links multiple activities within the structure, represents a mattress spring.”

For more information about Haligi ng Dangal, follow its Facebook page or visit the NCCA. 

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