Notes from the Architect: Navigating Philippine Architecture One Detail at A Time

June 20, 2023



Rick Formalejo

For over 20 years, BluPrint has been the ultimate sourcebook for architecture and design in the Philippines, providing readers with insightful and inspiring industry news and stories. Over the years, BluPrint has evolved significantly. As it switched to the digital platform, the title has expanded its reach and diversified its content, from highlighting remarkable designs to giving the spotlight to the designers. Today, BluPrint is spearheading a digitalization movement by establishing an asset that aims to inspire everyone to adapt to the rise of new innovations, philosophies, and design solutions suitable to our ever-changing environment.

The New Clark City Aquatics Center, designed by Royal Pineda Plus. October 12, 2019. Photographed by Ed Simon. 

As BluPrint continues to grow, the title introduces Notes from the Architect, a video content where an architect is invited to break down a significant project and walk us through the design narrative of it that reflects a Filipino characteristic. It aims to inspire both professionals and students to learn new techniques from industry leaders that could elevate Philippine Architecture.

For the first episode, Architect Royal Pineda talks about the Aquatics Center in the New Clark City and how it takes Philippine architecture to the next level through well-thought out design elements. “When we design the New Clark City, we need to create an identity that is for the city. Identities are important. And this is part of what we’ve tried to establish as we differentiate all these structures, and how they also stand out as a venue and at the same time as an element and a pixel of the entire concept of what is Modern Philippines,” Pineda explains.

The Aquatics Center is inspired by the water. Pineda interprets fish pens or “baklad” into a modernized architecture and amplifies a scale that is grand and spectacular. The design team wanted the light to somehow penetrate to evoke the feeling of coziness or “maaliwalas” in the space. 

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What makes the New Clark City Aquatic Center different from other aquatic centers is the concept of openness. Pineda explains that most of the aquatic centers are closed. He explains in this episode how the open concept maintains the temperature of the water as required by Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA).

The Aquatics Center is world class architecture that has hosted the Southeast Asian Games. To Pineda, “The Philippines can host big events as long as we celebrate and design with creativity and that is the concept of practical luxury. It’s living and somehow putting together things in luxury by design.”

Notes from the Architect Episode 1 is now streaming on our YouTube Channel.

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