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Arts & Culture

A Look Inside the Ancestral Home of Pablo S. Antonio, National Artist for Architecture

Located in Pasay City, the bungalow is a modern tropical marvel built by the celebrated architect

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Photography: Pablo S. Antonio Archives and courtesy of Tess Puzon Rivera and Joshua Barrera | pablosantonio.home

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to look around the home of a National Artist for Architecture Pablo S. Antonio? Many of us are familiar with his contributions to the field of architecture which include structures that have stood the test of time such as the Manila Polo Club, the Far Eastern University in Manila, and the White Cross Orphanage in San Juan City.

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A pioneer in Philippine Art Deco and Modernism, the architect is known for his streamlined style and how his designs are adapted to the tropical climate of the Philippines. One of his projects that are still preserved up to this day include his ancestral home located in Pasay City, a bungalow that now functions as a fashion atelier, an events venue, and an art gallery in one.

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Given the limitations of the pandemic, the house is closed to visitors but it recently opened its “virtual” doors through pablosantoniohome.com, a digital archive of stories not just about the home, but the respected architect as well. The photos on the website are like passageways to the past, especially when you look closely at the details of the home.

In an article published on Philstarlife.com, landscape architect, city planner, and urban historian, Paulo Alcazaren recalls visiting the house a couple of times as a guest, noting its climate-sensitive design and how the owners have preserved the home.

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Designated by the National Museum of the Philippines as an important cultural property in 2019, the Pablo Antonio Sr. Residence is not just a testament to the architect’s vision of how buildings should be designed, it also allows visitors to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience.

Take a peek inside the house below:

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Built in 1949, the bungalow is located in Zamora Street in Pasay City and served as the residence of the family after World War II. The doors in the photo above were purchased by the architect and his wife, Marina, one serendipitous night. Made with studded details, it was dismantled from a damaged building and installed in their home.

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Reminiscent of a resort, the bungalow features an open layout and inclined windows, which is one of the defining features of Pablo S. Antonio’s designs. According to the website, aside from offering breathtaking views of the outdoors, the windows were “designed so rainwater would not enter the house.”

The home also features nooks where people can share stories, food, and just relax. Ernest Korneld, an Austrian-Jewish architect, designed the furniture pieces, which remain sturdy and inviting up to this day.

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One of the distinct features of the home is how it blurs the lines between the indoors and outdoors. As explained on the home’s Instagram account, this garden is found on the right side upon stepping inside—with tall plants and a koi pond adding to the serene ambiance of the space.

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Pictured above is the dining room with a honey-combed ceiling, an open space that leads to other key areas of the heritage home which include pocket gardens, walkways, and bedrooms that now function as galleries.

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Referred to as The Yellow Room, this space used to be a master bedroom but now serves as a gallery for art, antiquities, and design.

A pocket garden separates the living and dining rooms of the house.

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In this house, doors lead to captivating galleries and displays—proving that Pablo S. Antonio’s design is flexible and timeless.

Some of the distinct features of the home also include white adobe columns, wooden beams, and tropical-inspired furnishings. From this angle, the angled roof can also be seen, another feature that makes it possible to enjoy the view from anywhere inside the house.

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The photo above gives a peek inside the White Room, the special area where the gowns by Marina Reyes-Antonio are on display. Pablo S. Antonio’s wife Marina was a fashion designer in the 1930s. According to the website, the White Room used to be a kitchen before becoming a gallery for fashion design.

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Learn more about Pablo S. Antonio and the ancestral home when you visit www.pablosantoniohome.com. You can also follow them on Facebook: Pablo Antonio Ancestral Home Project and Instagram: pablosantonio.home.

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