The Philippine House Goes Tropical Modern

Modern residential architecture in tropical Asia generally and in the Philippines in particular is going through a fascinating phase of architectural evolution. Stylish new homes in Metropolitan Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and sultry waterside locations scattered around the archipelago’s 7000 tropical islands, are providing plush living spaces for increasingly affluent Filipinos.These new houses have sparked a renaissance in residential architecture that is not only changing the Philippine suburban landscape but is also providing fodder for the imagination in international publications, pointing to a nascent design trend: “Tropical modern” is becoming the new modern.
Philippine “tropical modern” is characterized by residential designs that are distinctive in their use of mutable space, sensual local materials, and functional accommodation of hybrid East–West lifestyles. Echoing a pan-Asian trend and a larger trajectory for architectural development in tropical-belt countries, spaces in these homes show creative configurations of often-minimal spaces. Filipino architects and designers are also offering fresh approaches in the use of materials and architectural elements that cater to both the changing cosmopolitan tastes of an ever more discerning Filipino élite and the aspirations of a progressive, budget-conscious middle class.Tropical modern design is affordably “cool.”

“Cool” means more than fashionable façades and hip interiors. It includes environmental friendliness. In their search for this, Filipino architects are constantly experimenting with new materials and techniques or rediscovering almost-forgotten materials and traditional arts and crafts expertise. Cross-ventilation, sun screens, wide eaves, raised floors, and sensitive solar orientation—devices long used in local vernacular architecture, perhaps unknowingly—are now given a contemporary twist with the use of steel instead of bamboo, concrete and fiberboard instead of woven mats, glass and plastics instead of capiz shells.These older vernacular materials are not being discarded but are instead being processed in new ways with lamination, machine weaving, heat tempering and shaping to produce attractive building materials. Passive cooling, solar power, recycled gray water, and ventilated roofs are being rationally employed in house designs.Tropical modern is not only architecturally “modern” and affordably “cool” it is also “green.”
Cultural color is another big factor in the designs of these tropical modern homes. The interior and exteriors address, both spatially and socially. The lifestyles that Filipinos (as well as many other Asians elsewhere), have grown to know and enjoy. Modern Filipinos adopt Westeren life, work, and leisure styles to fit cultural norms and social nuances. The demands of the extended family, the need to frequently entertain during the Philippines numerous festive occasions, the projection of social standing and roles in the community, and the concept of "hiya" (face) are intertwined with Western or modern practicalities such as the acceptance of home/office setups, a reduced dependence on domestic help, and the advent of two-career households, multiple-vehicle garage, and modern communications technology. Tropical modern merges cyberspace with traditional cultural space, at the same time retaining the best of both.

The single most important factor, however, that differentiates one tropical modern Philippine home from another relates to site and the Filipino architects response to this. Whether the site is a sprawling suburban lot, a small urban core, or and idyllic resort locale well away from Metropolitan Manila with a romantic name like Punta Fuego or Calatagan. The final design of a house is influenced by the site: its size, the limitations imposed by its overall visual impact.
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Contact Form


Email *

Message *