Arts & Culture

Architect Heroes: 3 Art Deco Buildings by Pablo S. Antonio

Discover these unparalleled gems by one of our National Artists

Photography: Go Philippines via Blogspot (Main Photo)

Born in 1902 in Binondo to 60-year-old Apolonio and the 16-year-old Maria Severo, young Pablo was orphaned at the tender age of 12. Such circumstances didn't stop him from getting an education as he attended a public school in Tondo. He later on found work as a draftsman for the Bureau of Public Works of the American Colonial Government and was able to study architecture at the Mapua Institute of Technology under the tutelage of architect Tomas Mapua—the founder, first president, and namesake of the said institution. However, due to lack of money, he had to drop out of school.

He finally earned his degree from the University of London through his patron Don Ramon Arevalo, an engineer and the proprietor of Santa Clara Lumber and Construction Company where Pablo was working as a draftsman and a foreman. The brilliant and hardworking Pablo Antonio finished the five-year architecture course in three years. After earning his degree in architecture in 1927, he was hired as its in-house architect.

Antonio is celebrated for his Art Deco Style, a radical departure from the prevailing style of the time—Neoclassicism. His works are defined by its clean lines, strong shapes, and simplicity. He was also famous for having worked around the Philippine tropical climate and was known to employ natural ventilation systems, slanted windows, and sunscreens in his many projects.

He was awarded the National Artist for Architecture Award posthumously in 1976, a year after his death. Here are some of the buildings he designed:

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