BluPrint is about to celebrate 20 years in publication. In anticipation of that, we unearth the first Editor’s Note of every editor-in-chief we ever had. 2012 was an interim for BluPrint. In that transition, the last issue of the year (Volume 6, 2012) was helmed by Dominic Galicia.

“I appeal for an ideal thing, for the establishment of a beauty that shall be ever present to do its pure and noble work among us forever…” Daniel Burnham, the great American architect and city planner, wrote these words in 1903, referring to the nobility to which buildings and cities should aspire.

At BluPrint we aim to present a consistently high quality of design produced by Filipinos. This is more difficult than meets the eye, because good design has been elusive, particularly in the field of architecture. Does the work merit scrutiny? Does it adhere to the Vitruvian tenets of strength, usefulness, and beauty? Strength and usefulness abound in the man-made world, but not beauty.

READ MORE: Building the National Museum of Natural History’s Tree of Life

Much has been said about why a lot of design work in the country today goes to foreign consultants. We are perceived as conceptual lightweights because the intellectual quality of much of our work remains shallow, derivative. The creativity and originality found in the best of our furniture design, for example, is hard to see in much of our present-day architecture. We need to accept this fact if we are to get any better. It is not a simple matter of seductive renderings. We have the talent and we need to rediscover our depth, as manifest in the emotional impact of the best work of architects like José María Zaragoza and Alfredo Luz.

Concept is the seed, the key to the artistic success and emotional impact of a built work. Concept, like beauty, is elusive, but it is neither ephemeral nor indomitable. It is for us to find and unearth, through hard work as well as discourse and critique. BluPrint is committed to helping elevate national discourse to the level at which concept and criticism are natural components of design dialogue. It is through this dialogue that we can bring our civilization forward. 

Edits by Angel Yulo

Header image courtesy of Pierre Chatel via Unsplash

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