Celebrating its 7th year, B+Abble 2021, a series of talks on contemporary Philippine architecture, arts, and design, continues to run strong amidst the pandemic. Presented by Buensalido + Architects, this year’s event is entitled “CONTINUUM: Progression of Values” which discussed “the importance of seeing one’s discipline as a string of ideas and experiments that lead to new discoveries, where learnings from each experiment inform others, done with the same level of excellence over a prolonged period.” It is also about accepting change and how it leads to a progressive evolution towards growth and improvement.

The event run for two days, October 22 and October 23 which were both held via Zoom Webinar. There were about over 600 participants, including architects, developers, academic professionals, and students, both local and international participants, that joined this year’s conference.

B+Abble 2021 Day 1

Joey Yupangco, the principal of Joey Yupangco + Associate and former dean of the De La Salle College of St. Benilde School of Design and the Arts, talked about “The Story of O”. In this project, he gave us a glimpse of how he works on his projects from their conceptualization to realization. Starting with spatial sketching to creating physical models, tweaking, and experimenting with possible solutions using the models, to the arising of accidental discoveries, such as “The O House”. Overall, he shared that he was able to come up with 14 models and narrowed it to one, bearing the best design solution after such careful planning and addressing various considerations.

“Even if your ideas are crazy, just go with it,”


Yupangco’s training in industrial design led him to the joy of doing physical models. He believes that design should espouse happiness and that architecture is all about addressing senses, which can be easily noticed in doing models. “Great architecture always remains in the present tense. Whether it is in the past or will still be in the future, architecture lives on in me, even as a beautiful memory. It is also like writing a novel that is fictive largely of our imagination, non-fiction because it bears function, intent, and structure,” shares Yupangco. 

He also affirmed the importance of educating and training the younger generation of architects, designers, and co-builders of society. “To the next generation, don’t be timid.

Andy Locsin, the administrator, and design consultant of Leandro V. Locsin Partners, entitled his talk with, “The Big Idea”. The first thing he imparted is his father’s philosophy, “A work of architecture becomes iconic only when society finds that it resonates on many levels – when it captures a spirit and an idea that is relevant to and valued by those who view it, inhabit it and use it over time.” With this, Locsin had shared a glimpse of the remarkable journey the firm has gone through over the years. How the firm started from its humble beginnings to where it is now, and that it’s not about nepotism such as bearing the name “Locsin”, but it’s about the whole team, the partners who worked hard and grew together carrying out united design principles. 

“There are no big or small projects.”


Locsin mentioned that every time the team starts a project, the design process always involves the seven steps that the firm had identified over the years of practicing the profession. Not strictly following it step by step, these steps may happen simultaneously, it gives them a guide to always go back to what is necessary and what does the project really calls for. The first is to Think Deeply about the project’s building program, its conditions, and its aspirations. From it, the essence of what The Big Idea surfaces, then have this idea Refined and Reinforced. The Collective Knowledge and Individual Background also play important roles in the design process. Restraints and Understatements are highlighted rather than indulgence and obviousness, and also Abstraction rather than literality. As the project continues to be realized, it’s time to Trust the Public to bring their experience to the design. 

“Meaning is found not only in what you do, but in how you do it, whom you do it with, and in how it is shared. Architecture is, and always will be, about people. The big idea is that we’re all in this together,” said Locsin as he closes his B+Abble 2021 talk.

BluPrint conducts the interview with Andy Locsin around a circular marble table at the Leandro V. Locsin Partners office.
Andy Locsin

B+Abble 2021 Day 2

Jorge Yulo, the principal architect of Jorge Yulo and Associates, discussed about some of his projects, gracing the participants with his wisdom on the unique design approach he took on each project. Starting off with the proposed museum which he entitled, “Strange Overtones”. He highlighted the importance of the relationship of the existing site to the new building and how will it coexist with one another. Also, that in conceptualizing the design, it will never be a one-scheme design process, different schemes are needed to be studied to be able to narrow it to the best possible design. 

The next project he shared is the WAF Inside 2021 Shortlisted, La Cabaña Resureccion, which is also within the same 200-year-old compound with another project, the Reincarnated Villa. As both are renovation projects of very old structures, Yulo pounded on two major things, first, is to salvage all materials that can still be reused, and the second is to not repeat the mistakes of the original structures. Every aspect and detail of the projects are thoroughly designed, from the floor to the walls, the posts, the ceilings, and until the roof. La Cabaña Resureccion is a remarkable structure exhibiting both good architecture and interior design. 

The last project Yulo talked about is the very interesting Equilateral House. Derived from the concept of an equilateral triangle, every space of the house is strategically located suiting the needs of the residents. Almost every room features a design element that’s very unique that truly makes the house a one-of-its-kind. 

In all of the projects Yulo shared, his passion and dedication to arts and architecture are truly evident. Hands on to his projects, his intricate details, and his ways to realize a proposed design are always given that careful attention. One example would be his love for designing ceilings,

“Whenever I look up, I wanted to see something beautiful, and it’s not only about aesthetics, but ceiling features enhances the acoustics of a room,”


Ed Calma, design principal of Lor Calma and Partners, gave the last talk for the conference and he focused on the topic “Site Driven”. He shared how his father has always used the qualities of the site, it’s existing context to dictate his designs in creating a new context. Calma started with something of a “bookend presentation” which showcased his father’s initial works and his latest ones. The First Calma Residence was a contemporary marvel during its time. Displayed here is the creative mind of Lor Calma and the dedication he puts in in his works. Following it is the historic PSID Building that became an instrument to the strengthening of the interior design industry in the country. The last one highlighted is his father’s latest residence that exhibits a timeless modernist design which also reflects Lor Calma’s exceptional contribution to the country’s design industry.

The second part of Calma’s presentation are some of the past and/or current projects the firm is working on. One is the Split-Level House in Punta Fuego. The approach of having “site driven” design is very much applied here as the location encompasses a slopy terrain and orientation was not much of an issue. The showroom at Jupiter Street in Makati flaunts a staggered building layout that effectively translates into its elevation, maximizing site’s potential of having a corner lot. Other projects he featured, to name a few, includes the Serendra Bridge, Baler Airport, and the Davao Civic Center. 

As Calma got on with his talk, it is evident how the design processes, values and philosophy of his father had continued to evolve and progress in catering the needs of today’s architecture.

“In designing, I always see the bigger picture. How the design will be dynamic and respond to the changing needs of the user. Looking also on how the building will be years after it is built.”


B+Abble 2021 is presented by Buensalido+Architects with institutional partners – National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Department of Trade and Industry, Design Center of the Philippines, Foundree Review Center for the Built Environment, and Creative Industries Philippines. It is also a satellite event of Design Week Philippines. BluPrint is a media partner of B+Abble 2021.

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