JOGarcia Design’s Qubo: A Bahay Kubo Retouched to Revitalize

May 31, 2023



Shan Arcega

In a home, the overall feel should be invigorated by a filling of items, feelings, and people that help one’s soul to recharge. Maybe the occasional memento from a loved one or a souvenir brought from another country would be among the displays to recall certain memories, and the home’s setup would be one that’s perfect for intimate gatherings where deep conversations are initiated. Grandeur or flamboyance isn’t a requirement quite as needed as an overall skeleton that’s simple but sturdy. The architecture of the local bahay kubo is one formed out of the focus on fulfilling the need to shelter against and adapt to the country’s tropical weather by being resourceful and creative with how local materials can be used. With the simple wood, bamboo, and nipa grass, pre-colonial bahay kubos became homes that were not just easy to assemble and transfer to different places, but homes that were easy to recreate and rebuild. Despite its simple design, traditional bahay kubos now are places where fond memories can be created. Nowadays, the bahay kubo can still be seen throughout the country and is sometimes shown with modern touches that make it sturdier. The Qubo by local architecture firm, JOGarcia Design for one is a project that shows just that. 

Inside a compound in Porac, Pampanga is the Qubo, a renovated bahay kubo turned into a private resort and retreat house that presents modern solutions to revitalize a dilapidated space. Set above a small pond and supported by tall cement pillars, it’s a perfect place to enjoy the sunset while relaxing with friends and family.  

Qubo by JOGarcia Design
Qubo by JOGarcia Design is located in Porac, Pampanga and adapts the traditional bahay kubo design with modern touches that will give it extra durability.
Qubo by JOGarcia Design
Twilight seems like the best time to be inside Qubo.

The client owns a manufacturing company that brought hope and livelihood to a community with its establishment after Mt. Pinatubo’s devastation, wanted to use it for family gatherings, entertaining visitors, and for their employee’s activities. Due to its old age though, the kubo was starting to disintegrate with a sagging roof, dangerous holes in the floor, and rotten bamboo material.

A sketch of how airlfow ventilation works in Qubo

Related read: The MLR Polo Pavilion: A Golden Glory Portraying The Filipino’s Resilience

“At first, Qubo was a simple renovation project.” Jerwin Garcia, lead architect of JOGarcia Design says, “Our scope of work is to renovate, redesign and expand the existing dilapidated bahay kubo…Similar to the revival of the community back then, the client felt the need to have it renovated to bring back his glory for their patriarch and to expand it based on their growing family needs and function.”

Qubo by JOGarcia Design
Even the furnishings and interior design are still reminiscent of what’s traditional.
Qubo by JOGarcia Design
Qubo’s sitting area
Qubo by JOGarcia Design
The loft bedroom

Most of the bahay kubo’s original look was retained while modern touches were added and adopted for both flair and durability that will help the kubo last what could possibly be a lifetime.

“To ensure durability, instead of natural bamboo, we used G.I. pipes and steel which simulates the look of the bamboo. PVC that mimics the character of wooden planks was used for the ceiling. Lastly, for the floors, an environment-friendly material made of wood and plastic composite was adopted; which is more durable than natural bamboo.”

To complete the traditional “Bangera” feel incorporated into the wrap-around balcony, the firm collaborated with a Kapampangan calado craftsman.

Qubo by JOGarcia Design
Qubo’s calado details give it a unique style that’s still a reflection of Kapampangan design
Qubo by JOGarcia Design
The walkway outside is also a great place for peaceful moments and conversations

As seen in Qubo’s simple yet refreshing design, home or a place of rest doesn’t need to be so grand and filled to the brim with extravagance to be memorable. In architect Jerwin’s words, home is defined by who dwells in it. It is also a place that people strive to keep despite the struggles in maintaining it.

“A real home is not defined by the grandeur of the design. You can have a simple design but the place is filled with warmth and laughter. A home is defined by the family who dwells in it. At the end of the day, it is a place of refuge where your inner sanctum is achieved.”

JOGarcia Design is a local architecture firm that strives to promote Filipino architecture that adapts to modern times and remains timeless. As an architect, Jerwin Garcia strives to educate younger architects into making cohesive and unique designs that are suited to the client while still utilizing features that are suited to be in a Filipino home. By incorporating modern innovations, and integrating the concept of openness with harmonious designs, the firm is able to come up with special projects that are suitable for the Philippines’ tropical setting. 

Photos courtesy of Arch. Jerwin Garcia

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