Viigan? vegan? began? VIGAN!

To start of this discourse paper, I’m just going to give you a walkthrough what we did in our Ilocandia tour,  our trip was from aug. 5 – 10. We left SDA at around 9pm – 10pm, we drove throughout the night, till morning at around 6am we arrived to our 1st destination “Santa Maria Church” in ilocos sur, at first I was not to excited about the place because it was too dark, then as soon as I climbed up through the stairs and I saw the buttresses of the church  I was surprised to see that here in the Philippines, and then the next thing that caught my eye was the bell tower, you can imagine being there in 1765, where you can really appreciate the structure of how it was built and the scaling of the whole complex.

Our tour guide said that is was built in 1765 by the Augustinians, like all churches it served as a fortress during the Philippine revolution, the architectural style used was baroque architecture, in 1993 it was enscribed by unesco as 1 of 4 baroque churches in the Philippines. When I entered the place I was moved that they didn’t change anything at all, the guide said that the church was being preserved as much as possible, a minimal amount of it was touched, but the bell tower was structural unsafe, it is slowly tilting over to the right, like the leaning tower of pisa, at the back there was an abandoned graveyard , the view was so breathe taking, having seen it during sunrise the composition was just spectacular, it is one of the most amazing thing that I have yet so see.

Our next stop was the Quirino bridge, I’ve been to the north before with family, the last time I saw the bridge was 2 years ago, it is really something to think about, because it was already made during the time of the Japanese, you’ve got to wonder how advance we we’re back then.

After fooling around at the bridge, we headed back to the bus, to go to our next destination “Vigan” it was still really early in the morning . so some of use? I mean most of us we’re asleep so, but sometimes I was half awake or awake, I could see the mountain surrounding us, my attention was snatched by how the sun was rising up in between the mountains. Kinda makes you imagine, when we we’re kids, when we draw mountains that was always the composition “2 mountains and the sun at the middle”.

As we arrive in vigan, it was such a nice thing to remembering being there 2 years ago. When we went to the hotel to check in, as soon as I get the key and the room assignments I immediately went up to the room to rest a little bit because I didn’t get any sleep in the bus, there was a lot of things that I noticed going up, the staircase was literally like during the Spanish time, and then the other ornaments were all antiques, plus the furnitures was really noticeable that it was an antique. Then the room was a bit plain but the bathroom has this unusual way for ventilation the wholes from the bathroom was ornamented “Spanish inspired” that was leading to the corridor. So there was a sense of insecurity because the whole we’re too low and someone can easily see if there is someone inside. There’s a problem there with the space bubble. The 1st night we had in vigan was pretty exciting, I’ve never had imagined that Boss From Hell, was that talented in playing the piano, I think he left us a trademark impression of how good a musician he is. We student’s were shocked to know that majority of our faculty were talented not just in architecture but in other fields as well.

After having a quick rest and freshening up, we then headed down to get some breakfast, our breakfast was a vigan delicacy “vigan longganisa” really mouth watering, the taste is really different from the one’s in manila.

After our well deserved rest, we headed out to check out our project lots, we 1st checked out the “sensei’s crib” lot which coincidentally named “Javier”. The roads surrounding the lot was a no car area, the means of transportation there was via horse carriage (kalesa) or tricycle. And in front of the lot was the statue of Leona Florentina, the statue is a very iconic image there. That’s when we are designing, we should be compassionate to the surrounding.

And then after a few steps we went to our next lot, the “my studio” lot we we’re able to see the size of the lot, and it was in fact, really big and the height of the surrounding houses were 3 meters for the 1st floor and 3.2 meters for the 2nd floor. Another thing we got to see was how the exteriors of every house was like, some are really ornamented and some are simple yet eye catching due to it’s plain yet antique preserved look. Both the “sensei’s crib” and “my studio” we’re point to the main plaza, the main plaza is huge, didn’t expect it to be that big, and at the middle of the plaza, the obelisk giving the city a sense of power, towering over everything .

After seeing the plaza we headed to our “my crib” lot, the lot had the following fast food chains, “jollibee” and “chow king” and a part of the national bookstore, and the surrounding was a food court which was over populated during lunch time, so that’s one thing to think about in designing the house, “privacy issue” without turning my back on the people. And another element to consider is the church and the belfry. A powerful element that needs to be considered and should not be overwhelmed, the church has a large role in terms of city planning, not just because of the religion but for congregational purposes as well. And there are also 2 more significant buildings to be considered, 2 government buildings near the “my crib “ lot and another plaza in front of the lot.

Then after that we waited till the clock turned 11, to head to our next item on the list which was the governor’s  office, which there was a presentation of the vigan is being preserved and there was a brief history lesson there also, in the presentation the speaker told us that there are guidelines when constructing a new house within the heritage site, same with restoring the old house.

Right after that we had our lunch, then after that we headed to the burgos museum, which was a bank before, you will be able to notice that because once you enter the museum you will see on the walls there are grids where the tellers used to be.

Then we went to Pagburnayan or Pottery Making, where we we’re welcomed by the national artist “Fidel Antiporda Go” this part of the tour is one of the most exciting part for me, where he showed us his talent in molding pots, which was handed down to him by his father, you will see generations of artistry in Him. He showed us how to make clay pots. And that patience is a key part in making pots, He even shared to us how many pots He can make in a day (70 pots). That’s a big number considering His age. After making a pot He then showed His artistry by making a clay light house. After that he offered some of the students to try it, my friend who tried it out said “it’s harder than it looks”. I’ll take her word for it, I wanted to find out for myself but due to the lack of time I didn’t get the chance to.

Right after that we headed to the hidden valley, there was nothing much there but just a mini forest. Then we went to the baluarte, which was really exciting because the last time I went there, I saw the tiger walking around w/ his handlers. As soon as we’ve arrived the 1st thing we all saw were the tigers. The baluarte didn’t change since the last 2years, the only new thing that I’ve experience there was the hands-on encounter with the tiger, having my picture taken with the tiger really pumped my adrenaline.

This Vigan tour really helped out my views on classic/period architecture. The days I’ve spent staying in a heritage site houses, made me say to myself “I wouldn’t mind living in a place like this” it is more peaceful living in a heritage site, and you can appreciate period architecture more not just visually, but having the experience of staying in one, there is a greater understanding when you have really seen and felt something than just reading it from a book.

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Modern Philippine Architecture, yes? or no?

The Philippine Modern Architecture, some say we don’t have our own architecture to begin with, due to the similarities of other countries, and another reason for that is because we have been colonized by the spaniards and the americans, and they have influenced our way of thinking, that’s many say that we are the only westernized country in south east asia. We are truly different from out neightboring countries, they all have similirities in design in their temples and houses, and color schemes, mixes of yellows (gold),reds,greens.

But the to prove that we have our own modern philippine architecture, we need to discover our roots. The first form of architecture in the philippines was the tabon caves as series of caves connected to each other, the 1st indigenous people used those series of caves for shelter, in there they have there own micro community. And the caves were proportioned to people using it, the entrance were suited for the height, so the early philippino settlers had grasped the idea of architecture as a form of shelter, which is the most basic idea of architecture, to put a roof over our heads. The briliant thing about our indigenous ancestors, is they used the materials available for them, which was basically rock forms and wood.

And then after the tabon caves, the early philippinos made the ”Bahay Kubo”, which was a simple home, it was born out of “need” and “availability”,I think the idea of the bahay kubo is the most functional house that we have today not just locally but internationally, because the hause inside  is one big room, living room, dinning room, bedroom, etc. it’s all in one, another plus is it’s green architecture, to think they thought of that way back then, but those are the only materials they have so it’s a coincidence. The bahay kubo’s construction is really something to think about, the elevated floor, and the leafed roof, which was right for tropical climate, to think they thought of all of those things way way way back then, they have such an advanced way of thinking, to think their way of construction is still used upto now.

After saying all those things my point is in order for us to move forward in an ever changing world, we have to look back on our past, that’s what other civilizations did, improve their previous works thus resulting new types of architecture, many ideas coming out from one idea, they we’re evolving their forms, you might think why not change it and make something new, well some did do that and as a result the “deconstructivist” was born, back to what I was saying why not change it? Is because the previous type of architecture is suited geographically and in terms of climate also.

In the philippines the most prominent type of architecture here is “Roman Architecture” because of the spaniards that colonized us for so long, and another thing is that the city planning of manila was by an american bauhaus architect, who wanted major structures like city hall and the post office, roman architecture designs.

But now since we are in the 21st century, modern and green is really in, many architects are designing like western architects, which should be, because they have different factor to deal with.

What is modern architecture? It’s architecture in it’s truest form, simple and minimal in terms of ornamentation. All those things  point to the “Bahay Kubo” that’s why some Filipino Architects are designing structure that resemble the Bahay Kubo, because of it’s easy construction and multi-functional design.

Modern design isn’t defined by how it looks like, but through it’s function, because the modernist movement is kind of like having as less ornamentation as possible. So if you’re a designer and you want to put details on the design which has no important reason what so ever it’s is not a modern design, So put to things short “simplicity is beauty”.

Major examples of modern designs in the philippines one is the ”Cultural Center of the Philippines” of simply the ccp, the form it self is box on the of a box, 3 blocks stacked on the top of each other, it’s really simple, the massiveness of the middle block that overhangs  creating a shaded area below makes it remarkable, that eventhough something that simple could be that wonderful.

Aside from the “CCP”,for me makati’s skyscapers are modern design because skyscrapers are simply buildings, true to it’s function, direct to the point, the majority of skyscrapers are disciplined to have no/minimal ornamentations, just a straight forward structure.

But the most common piece of modern architecture in the philippines, is the modern bahay kubo at the slums, because reconstructed the bahay kubo in different materials, eventhough they are made from corrogated steel, it’s just the appearance, but they still kept the basic idea of a multi-functional house

To summarize everything I’ve said our indigenous form of architecture can be also a form of modern architecture, modern architecture is not that much prominent here, but time will come that it will catch on sooner or later, we are not behind in terms of architecture, but we’re taking it slow, because of the context in our major cities, that’s why we are having a hard time of turning it around.

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SDA walkthrough

The De LaSalle College of Saint Benilde – School of Design and Arts Building, placed in the middle of Vito Cruz, at the middle of the metro as you might say, the DLS-CSB campuses seperated from each other, but not that far though, among the 3 campuses the one that stands out the most is the School of Design and Arts Building. Designed by Architect Eduardo Calma of Lor Calma Design Associates Inc.

Arch. Eduardo Calma, son of Arch. Lor Calma, is a very talented designer, and a risk taker type architect, due to his anti-contextual, having an ultra modern design of the SDA building,at a urban zone, in that sense the reason for making something like the SDA building, is to tell the people that why should we propagate common architecture, we should use our technology and create something very unique and remarkable. Thus having white skyscraper, multi-functional and ecological at the same time, having spacious open air corridors to conserve energy, and for natural ventilation and natural lighting,  the reason for it being white is because Arch. Eduardo Calma doesn’t want his architecture influence the students artistic idea. But that’s not at all a bad thing, it is his own decision, basically the building is a white canvas on a grey background, and at night the building become a lantern in the middle of darkness, lighting up the dark areas of taft. What’s really great about this is that it cant really be seen from a far, because of the low and dark background.

The experience/feeling  you will when walking in for the very 1st time in the SDA building,having passed the sloped driveway is a mixture of astonishment and cautiousness, because who are we kidding the overhang at the façade of the building doesn’t look that safe right? But why would there be a humongous overhang placed there if it weren’t safe, that’s another feeling you get “curiousness”  a lot of questions are entering your mind.

The 1st time I entered SDA was really one to remember, walking through the gigantic glass entrance, I was so thrilled to be in such an architectural marvel, then the lobby will empower the building, by giving you a scale of how large it really is. It’s really overwhelming once you are in it, in between huge glass entrance overlooking the street, and on the other side the pure white wall.

And then the stress curcuit is really well thought of, having a wide entry area and kind of dividing the lobby into two parts, like an inner and outer layer idea, so that the student coming in from the entrance won’t bump into the student waiting at the elevator area, because those are 2 prime areas in which there are always a lot of people standing by.

Going up theres the mezzanine, 2nd floor and 3rd floor, and 4th floor. Those are the area’s where there are no classroom, just open space, come to think of it those are places least dwelled by students. Even I don’t usually go there, maybe it’s just because of the influence dictated by csb of planning the areas, those floors don’t really don’t have any relevance towards the student other than accounting,parking, and a way to get to the other fire exit that leads to the lobby. Since I already opened the topic of fire exits, In my opinion the fire exit is one flaw in the design, because some people tend to get lost in the fire exit, due to its lack of direction that is why it is difficult to navigate through the stair. Other that it is designed perfectly, the the wideness of the stair is just right, and that will help a lot in avoiding traffic, when theres something going on.

Ok, now the educational area starts. The 5th floor is the industrial student’s area and the theatre area, I remembered someone told me that it is called the “ghost floor”, because the only one’s there are the industrial students, and the corridor is so big and some of the room are hidden.

Next on the list is the 6th floor, the most acoustically designed area, because of it’s high ceiling and narrow corridors, the planning the is to distance the right side and the left side by having a single narrow corridor, if left side holds the narrow corridor, and there at the middle are where the classrooms are, in a square like shape all 6 rooms are fitted including the MCAD room. The whole floor is surrounded by glass, from my analysis the whole place is light up by natural light,that’s why all the rooms are translucent for easy access of light.

And now the 7th floor, this is where some design classes are, and where the library is. The library is really something, it’s where the books are but it doesn’t feel like a library, it looks more of a gallery than a library. This floor is really influencial towards me becaue all my studio/design classes where held there (HISTARC1-3, AFrehnd, AColrend, Perspec, AtechDraw) except for the ADESPRN, now my theory of design and architectural design are also there, I think being place there is a good thing because it is at high level, already overlooking the sorrounding landscape, and the skyline of makati is seen very clearly from up there, it is sort of saying “don’t look down, but instead look forward, towards the skyscrapers and other towering forms of architecture.

8th floor never gone through there but I know that it is the fashion design area, next is the 9th floor where if you are a 1st timer around that area, is really confusing because of all the classrooms look alike, there is one place there that really captured my attention, the area where the 2hidden classrooms are located, the window facing outside there is overlooking the overhang of the SDA building, that part right there will change your emotion from caution or danger where you are underneath the overhang , to safe and secure, the simple use of elevation can change ones view uppon thing.

From the 10th-11th is really the same, I rarely go there so I don’t have much to say about it. So moving on to the 12th, when step on the 12th floor the 1st thing your going to notice is the huge blank space in front of the elevator. From my anlysis I think the design concept for the 12th floor is “aquarium” because 3 major part there are just covered by glass. One is the space I said earlier, 2nd the cafeteria, 3rd “the aquarium class” which is now the student lounge, and another analysis is that the those 3 also have the same working concept “visual interaction” because even though it is translucent the glass stands as a divider and provides securiy towards the people place inside, but those places can’t be classrooms because it is too distracting, prime example is the “aquarium class” we used to have classes there but it is too distracting, it’s is hard on the student to focus on the lesson/lecture, while everybody is walking by, and the students inside are conscious, 2 things affect that, the corridor and the. 2 major elements. Which can’t be change, that’s why I think that CSB didn’t continue that area as a educational facility, but instead turned it to a student lounge, a great compromise, a win win situation, if I may say, because it would be a waste if it’s going to be just an empty space, and the view from there is spectacular, plus the location is ideal for student, near the comfort rooms, infront of the cafeteria, and next to the fire exit, it would really be a shame to lose such a good area.

And the 14th floor for the schools faculty, is divided to 2 sections, the one im going to talk about is the one at the inner part of the floor, because has a glass wall where directly below is the cafeteria. Another visual iteraction between the students and teacher.

I have given you a walk through the School of Design and Arts, to finish this I would have to say this is an ideal place for the 13 courses art devoted course, and really beneficial to the Architectural Course, because of the inspiration and hope evoked by the building, because why should we stop at one innovative architectural design, it only shows that It is not impossible to design something like that here in the Philippines.

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Juicy Salif’s Juicy Secrets

The juicy salif and it’s secrets, first thing you need to know it’s just a juicer, what’s so special about this is that it was designed by philippe starck. If you don’t know philippe starck you might say this “so, what if he designed it”. Philippe starck is known worldwide as an unconventional designer, from his unique life philosophy “I like to open door to other people’s brain”. It’s not that hard to understand, he wants to bring wall to wall imagination to the user of the product.

The juicy salif was designed for alessi, it is just a normal juicer which has 3 legs and the middle shaped like an ellipse, curious? Huh. It look like a spaceship . You might wonder why does it look like that, that’s the idea, to make you think why it’s shaped like that, but the truth of the matter it, it’s really just a common juicer, by function but not in design.

Philippe Starck is known for giving life in each design. Because like the juicy salif it’s unique. Really not your average everyday home appliance, all of his design, in my opinion all of his ideas a stroke of a genius, because he thought of something like that, he popularized if not started those types of designs, plus when your at the presence of a Philippe Starck furniture/appliance/architecture, there’s a overwhelming feeling, it’s like your in a cartoon story scene or a movie set or another world. He has this talent of putting you in your wildest imagination.

One example is the restaurant Manin of Hotel Manin, you would feel like your in the 1930’s or 1940’s, now that something to experience. It’s like going back in time for a few moments.

But there’s a catch, his products aren’t cheap. Actually their really pricy, but I think it’s worth it because your not buying just the function of the product, but the idea and effort put into designing like that, not just that some people are using Philippe Starck’s products like the juicy salif, to experience of using and owning that out of this world home appliance. If not you could always put it for display, who are we kidding, something like the juicy salif could easily be mistaken of a sculpture, because of its texture and design. Come to think of it it’s really a piece of art, the design, the form, is really something that should be admired.

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Architecture for me is the art and science of designing, but that was before now my perspective of architecture is that it is center of the everyday life nowadays, because it is used as an icon, it is used to project power of the nation, and to show how advance the technology of the country to be able to build something like the cctv building, Puente del Alamillo, Auditorio de Tenerife. And architecture is also a an exact science from the most obvious things to the smallest of details.

And my fixation with the work of I.M.Pei, because of the fascination of the concept geometry and light and how he has made art through those 2 simple ideas. And one other designer (Philip Starck) caught my eye with his unconventional and unique designs. Their ideas are one in a million. Philip Starck’s way of designing is by letting his imagination run wild, having a wall to wall imagination helps him with his outrageous yet functional designs. All of his designs looks as if it was made in the future. It’s really not what you see everyday. That’s why these two designer, one architect and one interior designer, are the two most influential designers for me. The fixation of their amazing work and the obsession of how their minds work.

since last year I have grown as a better architectural student, and developed my very own philosophies on life and designing, my life philosophy is “the human mind is a gateway to another dimension” because our imaginations is our own, and every time we think we open new doors new ideas, concepts and etc. And my design philosophy is “using and discovering space, at the same time motivating imaginations” I came up this because architects need space to work on and to transform the environment. And I thought when a architect designs a structure they need to be sympathetic and complementing to the environment, but still be able to transform the space around it. This is through difficult deconstruction of myself and in what I believe in.

My development last year as an architecture student, I’ve become more responsible, because architecture is a serious course, you can’t just slack around, you got to have passion in what you are doing, everything you do should have meaning, there has got to be substance in everything, because as a future architect. I will be able to influence the life of someone. One major reason for this development is due to my ESTHETA (art appreciation) Class. This subject gave me a new look on art.

Being an architectural student made my understanding of architecture a lot bigger, before I just thought about the business of architecture. Because my family is in the construction business so I guess I’m more into the business side of architecture before. But now architecture for me is the passion of designing structures. it takes a lot of time for me to design something but still I find joy in everything that I do, whether it be just a simple house for myself, or my imaginary office. Or something even better like this latest project design a house that would best suit our professor. That’s Having a balance of function and beauty. Because you got to dig deep to think of something for someone, because you need to put yourself in their place, you need to think how they would move around the structure or how their lifestyle is. So that your design will be able to complement the client/subject.

I hope that I would continue to improve, but I’m sure I will, this is something I want for myself now and in the future.

It’s a good thing that I took up architecture or else I’ll be missing one big part of my life.

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