We Filipinos are very participatory in nature. Contrary to Westerners who embody individualism, we always want to be associated with or be part of a group. Since our idea of a single unit is our family, we naturally develop an attitude of constant social interaction. Being able to interact with other people provides a sense of belonging which in turn increases self fulfilment and self satisfaction of each Filipino.
We also would like have a say in any endeavour we do. This is evident in the design of jeepneys and tricycles wherein each one ends up unique depending on what and how much “borloloys” the owner would like to adorn his vehicle with. Filipino Cuisine is also a strong example of our participatory nature. We always have a hand as to how we will experience the food served to us because it is always up to us how much sauce or condiments we want to mix with our silog, adobo, sinigang or kare-kare. This idea is reflected even in traditional architecture. Houses of the datus were defined according to how much decoration there was at the exterior of their house.
The social nature of Filipinos is also evident in the local architecture. The traditional bahay kubos or even the Ifugao houses were composed of one flexible room where all the activities are done thus allowing the family to be in constant interaction with each other. The bahay-na-bato had an open plan that encouraged interaction as well. These big spaces could be divided or doubled up by sliding doors, giving the owner the freedom of how he could experience the space – he could make it intimate or very spacious simply by moving the partitions accordingly.
The design problem is to create the most beautiful house on the face of the earth (pinakamagandang bahay sa balat ng lupa). Since the idea of beauty is subjective and is different for each person, the “participatory principle” is applied to the design of the proposed house. Through a secondary skin which is structurally detached from the house’s main structure, the owner will be able to personalize his house according to his taste, by choosing the shape, material, and configuration that he deems best for him.
Though freedom is given to the owner as to how he will create his idea of a beautiful house, the quality of design should still be controlled. This is why a “catalogue-concept” was employed. Before the purchase of lot or the construction of his house, a catalogue will be presented to the owner which will delineate choices of shapes, materials, and even the scenarios of future expansions so that they can already prepare his starter home for growth.
Location: University of the Philippines, DIliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Architect: Buensalido Architects – Arch. Jason Buensalido
Competition name: And Pinakamagandang Bahay sa Balat ng Lupa Competition (The Most Beautiful House on the Face of the Earth Deisgn Competition)
Type: National Competition
Result: First Place
Floor Area: 45 sq.m.
Photographer: Jason Buensalido