Of Houses and Pinoys

In a class discussion over structural design and areas as these impact on urban space, the architects were recounting how the Japanese could make do with a small space for a house where rooms have dual or multiple use and their furnitures kept to minimum or portable ones with both artistic and multiple use; and how Filipinos if given free choice want big cavernous space eaters even if occupants are one, two, three, or four. The discussion went on about how this influence may have come from the West, where the bigger the space the bigger is the public image accruing to the occupants. An external influence because Filipinos started out with nipa huts and similar low-lying multiple-use rooms. But when the influence has sown its seeds to locals, Filipinos learned to up their noses at the nipa hut design. Lowly hut they say of it. The Japanese puts honor as most important and values the ability to transform small spaces into venerable spaces as art. As all Asians do. Houses are originally not to publicize one’s wealth but as communal spaces foremost. The Japanese chose to preserve these values with respect to the design and structure of their houses. However you see it, the Filipinos have moved away from those as seen in their preferred choice of housing design and structure. And which in urban management in the context of limited urban space and environmental impact poses a major issue. The class discussion closed with the recognition of the importance of building alternatives or pilots modelling low-lying low cement use multiple-use space saving aesthetically-pleasing housing units do work. In effect, at the level of attitudinal change, redirecting Filipinos back to their original housing spaces.

In the photo below (NNN World), sudare or bamboo blinds could double as sliding partitions.

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