The Best and the Brightest in Philippine Architecture
No matter what your style is—whether you possess a nostalgia for the warm tones of old '60s bungalows or are a proponent of the urban chic digs of today—it is clear that the city’s built landscape has drastically changed over the last few decades. Thanks to the newest crop of architects and trusted veterans, the city still possesses surprising, relevant spaces that collectively create a better and brighter environment.
Here are architects who have already built a strong and solid reputation and a distinct design portfolio.
Sy’s clean, streamlined spaces take shape in everything from tropical Asian homes to houses that play into their environment seamlessly. Her works, from residential to commercial spaces, have an intelligent and respectful response to context.
Notable Projects: Net Lima, Net Park, Silverlens Galleries
Leandro V. Locsin Partners
The junior to national artist Leandro Locsin, this Wesleyan and Harvard-educated architect pools his knowledge of landscape architecture, urban planning and design into a practice that is steeped in integrity, responsibility, and socio-cultural context.
Notable Projects: Ayala Tower One, the new Ayala Museum
Lor Calma and Partners
Continuing the proficiency in forward thinking design of Lor Calma, his father, Ed Calma’s modern masterpieces envelope both intimate and larger-than-life spaces with a keen understanding of lines.
Notable Projects: De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, Serendra Bridge
Manila residences have been made all the better with Ramon Antonio’s meticulous and purposeful hand in design. The homes he’s helped shaped, from their landscaped gardens to luxe tropical living spaces, all possess a characteristic lightness.
CT Onglao Architects Inc.
Onglao’s many years spent honing his craft in Los Angeles and his recent return to Manila inform his work with a blend of eastern and western influences. Both his residential and commercial projects offer a serenity very much in demand in this city.
Notable Projects: Balesin Island Club, El Nido Resort’s Pangalusian Island
Budji + Royal Architecture + Design
“Modern, monastic, and tropical”—Royal’s work possesses a decided point of view. Filipino without the clichés attached to local design, his brave visions in architecture have helped usher forward the country’s design scene
Notable Projects: Kenneth Cobonpue residence in Cebu, Qi Wellness in Tagaytay
Emmanuel A. Miñana and Associates
What do Eugenio Lopez III, Bienvenido Tantoco, Jr., Teresita Sy-Coson, and Jose Concepcion III all have in common? Their homes were designed by Emmanuel Miñana, who was named the National Winner for Excellence in Philippine Architecture by National Commission for Culture and Arts in 2015. For Miñana, “architecture respects the relationship between the built space and its contextual site.” He makes it possible for contemporary homes to look seamlessly integrated with the outdoors, something recognized by a number of design books on tropical living.
Notable projects: Villa Marina, a residential project in Sta. Elena; Presidential Villas for the 1996 APEC Summit; Accenture; Cemex; TAO Corporation; Banco Santander; Philippine Seven Corporation; Madrigal and Company; Avon; Korea Telecom; The Philippine Stock Exchange; and Lopez Sugar Corporation
Lichauco’s portfolio spans a wide range of projects from little commercial shops to prominent institutional buildings His residences are refreshingly contemporary—homes that heed the tropical environment but do not shy away from going full modern.
Notable Projects: Asian Hospital; Ospital ng Makati; Medical City Abott, Clark, Cavite, Iloilo, and Dagupan; CCA Student Center; NAC Tower lobby; and Ateneo de Manila School of Management and the Medical City, both of which were co-designed with a team of architects while he was working for Manosa and Co., Inc.
GIL COSCOLLUELA AND GARY COSCOLLUELA
WV Coscolluela & Associates
With a staunch commitment to green architecture as well as preserving and actively continuing the legacy of their father William Coscolluela, these brothers have been behind some of the city’s most prominent buildings in the last 10 years.
Notable Projects: Joya Towers & Lofts, The Grand Midori in Makati
Mañosa & Co, Inc., A. Mañosa + Architects
Filipino architecture has been synonymous with the Mañosa name since Gelo’s father, Francisco Mañosa, supported the movement to create architecture that tells the truth of its people and culture. Gelo takes this maxim and spins it to fit the 21st century.
Notable Projects: Ylang Lane, Tagô
Leandro V. Locsin Partners
With a career that helped shape some of Manila’s most defining buildings, Ledesma holds post as managing partner at Locsin’s distinguished firm. His work continues to hold a lasting impact on the fabric of the city.
Notable Projects: CCP Theater for the Performing Arts, Tower One of the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza
This versatile architect co-designed Superferry 19, among many other projects commissioned by the Aboitiz family. His restaurant projects are a study in making modern design warm and intimate, such as Txanton and the revamped Masseto (now M Dining and Bar M) in Makati.
Jorge Yulo Architects & Associates
Hacienda Sta. Elena
This architect is as creative and forward-thinking as they come. His designs feature cutting-edge geometry and the playful interplay of light with various materials. Some of the marvelous forms in his portfolio draw the eye up, making spaces—residential, civic, or commercial—seem bigger. Last year, he received the Iconic Award (Best of the Best in the Interiors Division) for his work on Mecha Uma, which features a magnificent steel sculpture above the open kitchen.
Notable Projects: Hacienda Sta. Elena, Lusso, Mecha Uma
Infusing the scene with fresh perspectives, these new names are keeping local architecture relevant in the 21st century.
Carlo Calma Consultancy, Inc.
Calma’s work possesses a bold and boundless quality that is perfect for people who want to push the envelope and innovate. His residential work is just as progressive as his more commercial projects. He is also a visual artist to boot.
Notable Projects: Vask, Mesa
LARA FERNANDEZ BARRIOS
Farmacy and Hibana
Pink's Hotdogs, Havas Media office, Wildflour, and Hotel Bar at Pink's Manila
Metro Manila over the last 15 years has seen a spike in restaurants and cafes that have put it at par with the rest of the globe. Barrios is a tour de force in the commercial design scene, having been responsible for the look of many of the city’s most popular haunts.
Notable Projects: Wildflour, Purple Yam, Pink's Hotdogs, Mighty Quinn's, Farmacy, Hibana
LIZA MORALES CRESPO
Liza Crespo Ecotecture
As global warning becomes an even more prominent issue in the international scene, sustainable design is becoming more and more important. Formerly New York-based, Crespo brings her tech and eco-knowhow to our shores. We say, it’s about time.
Notable Projects: Parish of the Risen Christ; Green Pastures restaurants; Alab restaurant; Shop LCP; Bo's Coffee headquarters; and Public Safety Savings and Loan Association Inc. building, the first green building on EDSA
Nazareno + Guerrero Design Consultancy
With a heavily geometric and linear aesthetic, Nazareno and his firm have been making waves in many of the residential developments with houses that play around with cubist forms and don’t shy away from distinctive patterns.
Notable Projects: Kennedy Street Residence, Cattleya Street Residence
DENISE DE CASTRO
DDC Architectural Studio
Working on both a macro and micro scale, de Castro takes the most conceptual studies and turns them into full-scale works of art. Adept at large-scale site plans to smaller-scale details such as lighting, her work stands out from the inside out.
Notable Projects: Hyve, Toby’s Estate in Greenhills
In 10 years, Buensalido’s work has come to be known for its innovative concepts and forward-looking aesthetic. Fun seems to be a common theme in many of his projects, with wildly engaging forms and interiors that shift our idea of space.
Notable Projects: Nuvali Clubhouse, Chef’s Table by Chef Bruce Lim