Sangay Architects offers bamboo, ‘a poor man’s timber,’ for royalty

September 4, 2020



Sangay Architects

From a third world country’s perspective, there is a stigma attached to bamboo being commonly perceived as a “poor man’s timber.” Bamboo, an indigenous material in the Philippines, has long been ingrained in our culture, from being the primary material of vernacular houses to being carved to make household tools, and even as part of folklore stories of how the first inhabitants emerged from a splitting bamboo culm. But as modernization and development becomes inevitable, contemporary materials have been introduced, developed, and used to define the progress of the city—one of the effects of that process is the fast fading utilization of indigenous materials, one of which is bamboo.

BluPrint Project Submission MLR Polo Pavilion Sangay Architects

The contemporary use of bamboo for construction in the Philippines is limited in temporary structures such as huts because 1.) bamboo and other indigenous materials classify as temporary structures due to the lack of material standardization; 2.) the lack of awareness of professionals on the right process of treatment and material utilization; 3.) the lack of knowledge of local workers on how to do innovative bamboo connections to make it more permanent; and 4.) the lack of an example of an innovative bamboo building in the country, which can inspire others and serve as a proof that bamboo can be a contemporary material. Sangay Architects envisions an abundance in the use of this material in the years to come. The firm has committed to elevating the value of this material through innovation and good design, making this project as an example of a permanent structure using bamboo as the main structural members, keeping in mind the Philippine sensibilities and context in the design.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Earl Forlales explores the potential of bamboo in this ‘CUBO’

The MLR Polo Pavilion is a bamboo structure built to host the royal guests and VVIPs from neighboring countries for the 2019 South East Asian Games Polo event. Luxury is often associated with reflective materials such as glass, gold, and marble. Ironically, this pavilion, intended for the royal guests, uses bamboo poles for structural framing members, bamboo mat for the ceiling, thatch roof, and stucco for the pedestal finish. The sense of grandeur was maintained in scale to create a feeling of awe, and the clean repetitive, and intricate patterns of the bamboo A-frames harmoniously serve as both structural and aesthetic. The curves of the edges of the roof juxtapose the sharp edge of the triangular shape of the building. Subtle warm lights embellish the poles to create warmth and the golden glow, visibly attracting the users in the duration of their stay.

READ MORE: Roots and Shoots: VTN Architects on bamboo as a primary material

BluPrint Project Submission MLR Polo Pavilion Sangay Architects

BluPrint Project Submission MLR Polo Pavilion Sangay Architects

Project Information

Project Name: MLR Polo Pavilion

Completion Year: 2019

Lot Area: 1000m²+

Gross Built Area: 700m²

Project Location: Calatagan, Batangas City, Philippines

Approximate Project Cost (In local currency/US$, optional): Php 25,000,000

Project Credits

Architecture Firm: Sangay Architects

Firm Address: Unit 1801 OMM Citra Building, San Miguel Avenue, Pasig City


Contact email: 09176821992

Lead Architect: Christian S. Salandanan & Kathleen S. Sapungay

Lead Architect’s email: [email protected]

Design Team: Arvin Diamzon, Kathleen Sapungay, Christian Salandanan, Celine Lansangan

Engineering: P-Delta Design Consultancy

Contractor: Bambusa Construction Corporation

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]