Making a home perfectly customized to the client’s interest and vision of their house is JCCA Design Studio‘s constant pursuit. The studio strives to design a house that features passive effects such as natural lighting and ventilation to reduce the energy consumption of the house. So, when a family of five asked the studio to design a rest/vacation house while making the most of the outdoor surroundings, JCCA Design Studio brought nature into the home, where less decoration makes more sense. The result is a structure that could be as open as possible to create a fluid and open environment between the indoors and the outdoors.

BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
The wide bi-folding doors, which can be opened fully on the frontage to interact and blend with the outdoor front yard and plunge pool, also help with cross ventilation to the sliding door behind, and to the pocket garden parallel to the bi-folding door.
BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
The exterior of the two-story residence is a mixture of minimalistic modern design and a hint of traditional Filipino capíz lanterns.
BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
At the entrance, one is greeted by a large arc-wood door followed by the small patterned white boxed exterior tiles walkway to the house that blends with the exterior capíz lanterns hanging from the trees.

The site is situated on a quiet subdivision within Antipolo City, a city widely known for its quiet, peaceful, and nature-oriented communities. The lot where the house stands has a rectangular shape with existing trees that the design team took advantage of. Making the most of the lot’s form, we designed the house to set at the rear edge of the lot. JCCA Design Studio created a small footprint design to embrace the expansive front outdoor space that showcases the owners’ love of nature. The architect then designed a large window punctuated on the north elevation to pull views of the landscapes.

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The project named “Balai Bakuran” is a two-pronged term wherein “Balai” refers to a traditional Malay/Filipino word that translates to a house and “Bakuran,” a Filipino term for a yard, specifically an area of open landscape adjacent to a structure. Balai Bakuran was inspired by the setting of the house on the rear side of the lot while having a vast front yard landscape. Typically a south-facing home gets sun for most of the day, especially at the front of the house, and is therefore usually brighter and warmer. Hence, JCCA Design Studio provided a large front yard to counter and provide ambient winds from the outdoor trees to the indoors.

BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
JCCA Design Studio designed an open plan social area to fully embrace the large landscaping frontage of the house.
BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
The stairway without handrails breaks the usual boundaries between the living area and the stairs, creating a seamless transition between the two areas.
BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
Every corner of the house was provided with large punctuated windows, which limit the barrier between outdoors and indoors.

The design concept and approach was minimalist and open. The art of the house was the mixture of a Filipino heritage vibe within a modern minimalist structure. The owner is widely exposed to and is an enthusiast of classic Filipino homes, thus allowing us to combine some of its features within the house’s interiors and landscapes.

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Simple yet elegant, the main features of the house we consider was creating full-height windows to blur the distinction between indoors and outdoors.

Over-extent height doors and windows will be the harmony and symmetry of the house, from the gate to the main entry door to all the windows and glazing of the house, providing an excellent height clearance from the start. Glazing was also created frameless to maximize the natural lighting and views of the exterior.

BluPrint Project Submission Balai Bakuran
The wooden ceiling, also incorporated throughout the house, provides the perfect canvas for the master bedroom. The neutral tones of grey and white complement the wood, creating a light and cozy atmosphere.

The plan of the house is designed to be as simple as possible. The open layout will be for the ground floor, consisting of standard housing needs such as living, dining, kitchen, etc. We even created the staircase without railings to achieve such openness and connections within the ground floor area. The kitchen is situated where we can see a vision of the outdoor pool area to create that relaxing mood through the glazing reflections of the sun on the water.

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The ground floor also has bi-folding glass doors and sliding doors that can be opened without obstructions to the front garden area, giving the owners the luxury feel of connection between the indoors and the outdoor pool and landscapes. Both the bi-folding glass and sliding glass doors are positioned in a parallel to provide cross ventilation of outdoor-indoor-outdoor.

Minimum setbacks are provided for both sides and rear of the lot to give slight natural lighting gazing from above.

The bridgeway access from the stair landing on the second floor to the master bedroom provides a full front up view of the front landscape as well as the ground floor’s open plan. For the interiors, a combination of wood, concrete, and white paint provides a sleek, minimalist, open, and airy vibe with a touch of indoor plants and minimal furniture. Having these simple finishes throughout the house gives a balanced and diffused natural light when exposed to sunlight.B ender

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Project information

Project Name: Balai Bakuran

Completion Year: 2020

Lot Area: 360 square meters

Gross Built Area: approx. 135 square meters

Project Location: Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines

Project credits

Architecture Firm: JCCA Design Studio

Firm Address: No. 32 Sanciangco St. Brgy. Tonsuya, Malabon City, Metro Manila, Philippines


Contact email: [email protected]

Lead Architect: Justin C. Chua

Design Team: Justin C. Chua


  • Structural – Mark Ian Vega
  • Electrical – Edgardo H. Ligas 
  • Plumbing –  Justin C. Chua
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