Recreating Filipino architecture with ‘Random Responses’

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Buensalido architects chief design ambassador and principal architect Jason Buensalido

Buensalido architects chief design ambassador and principal architect Jason Buensalido

THERE is no formula for brilliance. Nobody has ever come up with an equation or recipe that produced some of the world’s most compelling, enduring, and inspiring works, especially in the field of architecture.

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Perhaps brilliance is the result of a series of random responses—culled from experience and instinct, tempered by process and the will to progress. And this has been the relied philosophy of Buensalido Architects, an architectural, interior, and urban design laboratory established in 2006.

On its eighth year, it shares the fruits of its labor with the launch of the book Random Responses: A Crusade to Contemporize Filipino Architecture in October at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Featuring over 150 designs in rendered images and blueprint, it powerfully captures the company’s design principle.

 ‘Pinakamagandang Bahay Sa Balat ng lupa’ (uP and la Farge, 2008)

‘Pinakamagandang Bahay Sa Balat ng lupa’ (uP and la Farge, 2008)

“The book epitomizes our design principle ‘random responses’,” says chief design ambassador and principal architect Jason Buensalido. “We believe there is no fixed response for any project so random responses become a design strategy. We understand each project’s context and then we test concepts and solutions until we see what works and satisfies the parameters.”

On why create the book, Buensalido Architects aspires for something greater—to galvanize the movement to contemporize Filipino architecture, which has been lost amidst the demand for foreign architectural flavors.

“The eventual goal of our book is to promote Filipino architecture that is adaptive and competitive. We want to bring back the glory of the Filipino aesthetic exemplified in the bahay kubo and bahay na bato and apply contemporary materials and methods to show our own aesthetic’s great potential,” Buensalido adds.

 The firm’s brilliant team of architects

The firm’s brilliant team of architects

In its crusade to uplift the local design scene, the architectural firm infuses each of their work with Filipino values: optimism, which puts spotlight on color as seen in vintas, jeepneys, and festivals; participation and personalization to reflect truly Pinoy experiences; and the weaving of our mixed identities to produce something we can call our own.

“This book was envisioned as source book, a compilation of ideas that can inspire students, designers, creatives, and progressive people alike. We want Random Responses to instigate a paradigm shift, so that Filipinos—from developers, project proponents, architects and designers, to the market itself—will learn to fight for an architectural identity we can truly see as our own,” the young architect reiterates.

Buensalido, an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas College of Architecture and a first-placer in the 2005 Architectural Board Examination, also took up certificate courses in the London-based Architectural Association Global School in Singapore, and most recently, Masters of Entrepreneurship in the Ateneo de Manila Professional Schools.

Under his leadership, the company has reaped several awards in multiple national and international competitions, including Nayong Pilipino Cultural Park (Nayong Pilipino Foundation, 2002), Cultural Center of the Philippines Masterplan (CCP and NCCA, 2005), and Millenium Schools (DepEd, 2008); as well as Pinakamagandang Bahay Sa Balat Ng Lupa (UP and La Farge, 2008) and the recent shortlist for the Design of the Artists’ Center and the Performing Arts Center of the Philippines in 2010, which are featured in the book.

With a portfolio that counts the New APT Studios, Dao 155 Office Complex, Kenji Tei Ramen House in Greenbelt 5, Project Smart Home (a proposal for anti-flooding), not to mention an impressive roster of commercial and hospitality buildings for leading developers, as well as a handful of private residences for high-profile clients around the metro, Buensalido Architects’ design principle has propelled it to produce some of the industry’s most remarkable works in recent years.

Random Responses: A Crusade to Contemporize Filipino Architecture is available for purchase through email: design@buensalidoarchitects.com. The book will be available at bookstores beginning first quarter of 2015. For more information, call 478-3445.

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