Modern Living

Jason Buensalido and the state of Philippine architecture

Micah Levin Isla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - On last Saturday’s episode of Modern Living TV Season 4 (MLTV), host slash mother-to-be Bianca Gonzalez-Intal introduced a young visionary in the field of architecture and design who unraveled the current state of Philippine architecture.

The segment, aptly titled Design Star, turned the spotlight on Jason Buensalido, the brilliant man behind Buensalido Architects. The stylish star-on-the-rise wasted no time and said his piece on the issue at hand.

“I think Philippine Architecture has no singular voice yet, there’s too many thematic developments that don’t really speak the culture of the Philippines well and I think one of the reasons why this is so is because of top-down development, wherein profit is always the first priority when coming up with real estate developments, such as subdivisions, high-rise buildings and residential projects,” he said.

To further illustrate his point, Jason added that if we go to other countries like Japan, Indonesia or Spain, all of the buildings there, all of the towns and the urban fabric that you’ll see and experience as a visitor — whether those buildings were built centuries ago or just last year — they all sort of speak a singular language that expresses the sentiments of the place; and for the Philippines, that’s what we still need to discover, that single voice that will tie the entire urban experience into a singular coherent hold.

As a response to the issues that have been keeping Philippine architecture from fully evolving into something that is distinctly Filipino yet world-class in terms of design and functionality, Jason put up his own architectural and design firm that is committed to infusing bold, fresh and innovative ideas into the Philippine design landscape.

“Whether it be a park or a lake front development, whatever it is, it has to reflect our culture and our identity. And when you talk about culture and identity, it’s a certain way of doing things by a certain set of people, and we have this basically. If you look at other industries, like furniture, graphic design, product development, all of these industries are starting to speak or reflect who we are,” Jason shared.

Jason also pointed out that architecture — the way we view it — should also progress.

“When you talk about Filipino architecture, gone are the days that it should literally resemble a bahay kubo or should accurately look like a bahay na bato when in reality, there are other metaphysical aspects of our identity like optimism, festivity, and positivity. It’s time to push architecture forward and make it more progressive so that we will eventually find our place in the global world of design,” the man of the hour passionately expressed.

Jason pushes his proposition further by fully embracing the need for green design.

“We believe that green design is a standard. You have to think of the future generations and that’s why when you design anything, whether it’s a chair or a house, you have to make sure that you’re responsible in consuming energy,” he told Bianca.

Another important element in his design philosophy is the need to position the Philippines in the international design map.



“We have to stop encouraging all of these themed developments, say for example a Greek or Venetian-inspired property built on tropical soil. This simply promotes a certain level of colonial mentality. We should focus on who we are and the unique way that we do things,” Jason expounded.

For Jason, it is vital to reflect our unique identity in everything we do — in our surroundings, products, furniture, and in our architecture. When we do this, we will garner our place in the world.

With all these factors in consideration, Jason fashioned a design philosophy that seeks to instigate much-needed change in the current landscape of Philippine architecture. And with all these design principles and elements combined, Jason shows us how he is redefining Filipino architecture one project at a time.

To see Jason in action, hover your phone or tablet that has The Philippine STAR app on the Live It! icon and wait for the video to load.

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Catch the latest episodes of Modern Living TV Season 4 every Saturday, 6 p.m. on ANC with replays on Sundays at 10 a.m.












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