What is the Modern Filipino Home Architecture?

Modern Filipino home architecture evolved for some 100 years and still evolving as various influences impress on it. And in the modern world, new challenges like climate change, the environment, the changing behaviors of nature, international trends particularly in Asia, the economy and foreign trade continue to influence it.

We see the dawn of Asiatic home architecture becoming more pronounced in popular modern Filipino architecture. We see a unique  character emerging, specifically the influences of Zen design both on the exterior and interior of homes. Likewise, the high-pitch character of the typical Pinoy rustic hut is often employed even in city dwellings since designers and engineers began realizing its thermal benefits as well as heat insulation properties—not to mention the added attic or loft space it affords.

European and American influences continue, from Baroque to Neoclassical to Historicism to resort architecture and finally to early modern and post modern. Yet, what we see of them today are more remnants compared to the rampant proliferation of Asiatic design influences. Some observers say Philippine home architecture has finally become more Asian.

Admittedly, globalization has taken a serious toll on Philippine home architecture. Most of what we have, in terms of iconic house designs, is either foreign design dominated (Asian and a sprinkling of Western designs here and there) or an attempt to come up with what could be said an authentic Filipino home architecture, if any.

The search for a truly authentic Filipino architecture, for home or high-rise edifices, continues and debates still rage on. Some give up and conclude that our architecture has been mixed up from the very beginning, a heterogeneous brand of some sort which became so since the Chinese, Spaniards. Americans and Japanese came and introduced everything to us. And let’s just leave it at that, they say, and let it naturally evolve with time. But some maintain that we should go back and check our more ancient dwellings and learn from them.

As someone has said, “Filipino architecture is still searching for its soul.” Our home architecture seems to merely float around on the tides of trends and fads. And the Pinoy attitude seems to be that, it doesn’t matter whether it is authentically Pinoy or not, as long as it looks good and affords comfortable conveniences and shelter for the family—and affordable, too.

Well, probably that is the authentic Filipino home architecture concept. It’s not so much the physical looks as it is the principle or ideal behind. The spirit. If it promotes closely knit family bonding and keeps it intact and happy—as what traditional Filipino families have been—it’s “Filipino,” no matter if it looks American, European or Japanese.

Anyway, the Filipino is a well traveled national (especially the OFWs) and typically brings home with him or her souvenirs from abroad—interior furnishings and displays included. And that forms part of the Filipino “modern interiors” of today. And no one can stop that.

It is typical of most homes in the Philippines to have American or European sofa sets mingled with native earthen pot displays or dining room native accessories bought from the Quinta Market. Or a Zen interior design with giant wooden spoon and fork bought from the Cordilleras hanging on the wall. Definitely, there is a home art of some sort taking place. An evolution of some kind. Let’s watch what happens.

Finally, even authentic Filipinos never speak pure Filipino or Tagalog anymore. It is always a mix of different languages. They are fond today of saying “Wait lang,” or “Ano cell phone number mo?” Or else say, “Grab ka ng silya dyan and share tayo nitong chow fan ko! O nga pala, kung hei fat choy! Shit!’ That’s English, Spanish and Chinese in two sentences all at once.

And if we have to design a house with a truly Filipino home architecture for these folks, we have to consider these things.

Image above from PInterest.

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