From a pre-law course to pursuing his passion for music, Leandro “Lindy” V. Locsin found himself, at long last, in what appeared to be his true love — architecture.
Born on August 15, 1928 and hailing from Silay, Negros Occidental, the young Leandro had the knack for music, learned the piano and became very good at it.
He even went to University of Santo Tomas to pursue a degree in music, but later on shifted to architecture — a decision that led him to be recognized as a National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture by former president Corazon C. Aquino in 1990.
Leandro’s love for the arts is also one of the starting points in his career. He frequented the Philippine Art Gallery, where he met the curator Fernando Zobel de Ayala y Montojo.
From there, he got referred to the Ossorio family, who were planning on building a chapel in his hometown, Negros. However, the project was derailed when Frederic Ossorio left for the United States.
The chapel in Negros didn’t come to fruition. But little did Leandro know he would be commissioned to design a chapel in one of the biggest universities in Asia — the University of the Philippines Diliman.
The Church of the Holy Sacrifice, located right across the UP Health Service and near the now-burnt UP Shopping Center, is the first-ever round chapel in the Philippines, with an altar in the middle. It also has a thin shell concrete dome.
The church is now recognized by the National Historical Institute as a historical landmark.
Leandro went on to reshaping the urban landscape while incorporating architectural style that reflects Philippine art and culture.
A “Locsin” building, as many would call each of Leandro’s creations, is an epitome of modernity and sophistication.
Locsin buildings seem to give off a certain aura, which only Leandro could create. Originality was also Leandro’s game, while still leaving a Locsin trademark in his buildings.
One of his most notable works, aside from the Church of the Holy Sacrifice, is the Theater of Performing Arts of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The marble façade creates the illusion of the theater being afloat — a one of a kind masterpiece that Leandro has gifted to the Filipinos.
Not too far from CCP is the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which is also another Locsin work. PICC is the country’s premiere international conference building, where important global gatherings are held, aside from the commencement exercises of different universities.
The PICC is right across another Locsin work — the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel, formerly known as the Philippine Plaza Hotel.
From 1955 to 1994, Locsin has produced more than a hundred structures all over the country. He has always believed that “true Philippine architecture is the product of two great streams of culture, the oriental and occidental… to produce a new object of profound harmony.”
Indeed, his works reflected his ideals. His vision for architecture was exceptional, which also brought him the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize from Fukuoka, Japan, in 1992.
Unfortunately, in the early morning of November 15, 1994, Locsin died at the Makati Medical Center after suffering a stroke 10 days earlier.
Today, Lindy’s son, Andy, continues to fill in his father’s shoes and may even go beyond it, blessed with the same gift and driven by passion for architecture.