Discerning the Architectural Image of Filipino Form Language

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


There is no Filipino Architecture, so everyone say. This paper is an attempt to find out about similarities in domestic form and architecture in the Philippines that might just be an answer to what makes up form. This is just an undergraduate paper, so hope you don't expect too much. Please do comment. :)

Text of Discerning the Architectural Image of Filipino Form Language

Discerning the Architectural Image of FILIPINO FORM LANGUAGE

GRACE N. NALDABachelor of Science in Architecture University of the Philippines College of Architecture

1.1 General Field of Study

After centuries of colonization, the Philippines is declared to be a free country for more than a century now. Yet, it seems that our colonizers have left footprints that have some bearing on view of architecture in the Philippines. Technology in mass media and construction has severed its ambiguity. Our architecture slowly morphs to join a homogeneous field of globalization risking our cultural identity. This is sourced out of the many international-styled buildings that we see in leading cities whether in Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao. While people favor trends in globalization, there are a few researchers who brave themselves demystifying this Filipino character. Some have already argued its demise and some, even its nonexistence. This again is something worth exploring. The National Symposium on Filipino Architecture and Design (NSFAD) contributes knowledge that may lead us to understand our very own architecture, through research. Some of its proponents draw conclusions that Filipino architecture is found in space though no particular language through form was illustrated.

1.2 Specific FocusThe lack or loss of definite form language of Filipino architecture is the subject to be dealt with. In the belief that our architecture goes beyond the materials being used and its spatial embodiment in the built environment, the goal of this study is to inflame awareness on the possibility of true Filipino architecture. It seeks recurring architectural features that are perceptive of our culture. It finds out physical patterns that engage senses hinting again Filipino architecture. It figures out spatial arrangements that are common in many designs. It searches potential aesthetics that are recognizably Filipino. To come up with a more reliable output, the study limits itself to domestic architecture. With the family being the major shaper of our society, allusion to our culture is easily generated. However, for reference purposes, minimal citation of non-domestic architecture will take place.

1.3 Statement of the ProblemThe question of Filipino architecture seems complicated. What with the many culture our history has encountered, we may only expect various influences. Most Asian countries boast with the distinctiveness of their architecture. We easily recognize their identity through it. A common example is the concept of Japanese Zen. Japanese architecture emanate marks of that are unique from other Asian countries even from its immediate neighbors. This brings us to an effort to know our own. This

study investigates domestic architectural distinctiveness in the local context. Is Filipino architecture really found only in the boundaries of space? Are there common patterns to aid in strengthening our claims of our own architecture? Are there traces of our shared idea of space and aesthetics that distinguish us from foreign architecture? If there are, what are these patterns that create form language?

1.4 Development of Rationalebuildings will not be able to come alive, unless they are made by all the people in the society, unless they are made by all the people in the society, and unless these people share a common pattern languge, within which to make buildings, within which to make these buildings. With AWARENESS IN ARCHITECTURAL IMAGE of FILIPINOS being the core, the study encompasses the recurring concept of space and aesthetics of Filipino authors. Image may be known as a three-dimensional and/or a visual element. In cultural terms, it is a characteristic that ties-in a group of people with commonalities. It is also dependent on the behavior and activity settings that may be relative to time. The concept of awareness and image stems from Kevin Lynch s Images of a City, wherein the idea of districts create an inspirational manner of viewing the problem of the study easily. This paper aims to uncover possible architectural forms that recur in many local architecture. It hopes to fortify and promote consciousness on our different culture that may be embodied in designs authored by Filipinos themselves. With this in mind, our study might be able to guide further studies in discovering what may have always been with us a Filipino architectural image. To know our own architecture gives light to our identity. This character is comparable to recognizing our existence.

1.4 MethodologyReferences pertained to by the Design Class will be collected. References will include past studies and surveys related to local architecture. It will involve the concept of Pinoy Zen and house preferences. Relevant pictures or photographs from books will be collected. Observation and experience of the authors will also be a basis for the study. After gathering data, analysis will precede. It will dwell heavily on spatial and aesthetic aspect of domestic architecture. Though this does not mean exclusion of non-domestic architecture. When necessary, systems of analyzing domestic architecture from previous studies will be used. One example will be the method of structuration. Consultations will likewise take place. Conclusions will be derived from the results.

1.5 HypothesisIn a pattern of spatial configuration, there is usually a common trend through form that can be found in a particular architecture such as the Japanese zen. If a form language consequently results from a pattern language, it can be assumed that Filipinos can have their own form language. This can be true when we are able to prove or show the culture and patterns of the Philippine society. This will hence be mentioned in the study. After which, when an acceptable level of patterns in space and aesthetics is collected, form language can be sourced out of it.

1.6 IntroductionChristopher Alexander created hundreds of pattern language in a global context. It is revealed in his book A Pattern Language . This language is extremely practical. It is a language that we have distilled from building and planning. It can be used to design houses for oneself, with one s family. And it can be used as guide in the actual process of construction. Most of studies on Filipino domestic architecture or architecture in the Philippines dwell on spatial patterns and configuration. Form language has not been appropriated in many of these researches. In order to move the pace on views on Filipino architecture, another step is taken by providing a pattern language that manifests form. These recurring patterns have been frequently observed in many domestic architecture and it is through these that possible forms can be derived. Such forms in turn create related patterns that have been observed and are then noted. A union of such hence generates a potential architecture that is distinctly Filipino. References that involve views on space are crucial to coming up with form. Since no definite Filipino form yet has been described in previous references, the author appropriates a form language in the Filipino context.

Spatial ConfigurationThere are four major spatial requirements that cater to Filipino space. Since Filipinos are known as sociable people, their houses center on entertainment, accomodation and interaction. This common area involving the living and dining is connected to all other parts of the house. It is linked to the personal spaces which include the sleeping area and toilet and bathe. Likewise, the work area that is usually composed of the service and utilities is located adjacent to the same common space. Outdoor and transition spaces are also linked to it. In some cases however, the garage can serve as both common area as will be later explained. It is also sometimes connected to the service.

Links and Transition SpacesThe Filipino family being aware of its membership of a bigger community known as baranggay creates spaces that provide a link between the internal and external environment. It creates a visual and social connection between the family and its

neighbors. It symbolizes welcomeness and hospitality, and accentuates accessibility. And comes in a form of a porch, a patio, a terrace a balcony or a verandah. In some cases where there is lack of such a provision, these links come in different forms. For example a window opening to a roof or the sidewalk in front of the residence may double as a tambayan . With or without an addition of miscellaneous or furnitures, the space do not lose its sense of connection with the neighboring environment. Other examples of elements of link in terms of accessibility are typical entrances shown below. In traditional houses these space are enhanced through thatched canopy that provide space for leisure. In contemporary houses it is often used as a conversational space.

Convertible SpacesBeing known as social people, Filipinos are fond of gatherings and celebrations such as fiestas, numan or simply family reunions. Sometimes with the lack of space or the convenience of the outdoor atmosphere, there are other areas that are temporarily altered to suit these purposes. The most common is the carport. Carports are easily convertible spaces. Its adjacency relative to other social spaces is appropriate for this purpose. And its level of privacy is fit to the function. This is best located near the terrace, living or dining room where accommodation of guests or people takes place. This outer part of the house must accommodate a number of people and not only for two. Hence, consideration of the area size will be helpful in creating comfort. Most of the time, Filipinos use an open plan for their house. This is an indication of both permeability and convertibility of space due to different interior elements used in between spaces such as visually penetrable