Articles Special Article Iconic Architectural Structures Found in the Philippines

Iconic Architectural Structures Found in the Philippines

If you know where to look, you'll find that the Philippines is a treasure trove of architectural nods to the nation's multi-faceted heritage and culture. Here are just 16 of the most iconic architectural structures in the country.

The Philippines, rich in culture and history, is home to art and structures that reflect different eras experienced by Filipinos throughout the years. Architecture is a critical piece of one's heritage, and the Philippines is no stranger to historical constructions that show a country is a living and breathing specimen that continues to evolve.

Here are 16 beautiful pieces of architecture and structures that highlight local appreciation of more traditional and historical erections as well as contemporary and modern builds:

National Theater in the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex

Photo of the National Theater in the CCP Complex for Kanto

Constructed in 1966, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) serves as a venue for local and international art exhibitions, festivals, and various types of performances of world-renowned artists and playwrights. True to its purpose of preserving and developing the national culture, the CCP is often open and allows access to the arts for all Filipinos.

The National Theater, central in the complex, was designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin.

Manila Metropolitan Theater

Photo of Manila Metropolitan Theater from Planet of Hotels website

The Manila Metropolitan Theater (also known as MET) is a Juan M. Arellano-designed building near another of his creations, the Manila Central Post Office. Inaugurated in 1931, the Manila Metropolitan Theater is modern and unapologetically Art Deco/ Art Nouveau in design, with Arellano stressing that the structure symbolizes an organ or a cathedral. What can be considered modern expressionism, the accents of the otherwise-modern MET are largely romantic and based on local motifs, batik, and imagery of diverse local flora.

Tanghalang Maria Makiling of the National Arts Center

Photo of the Tanghalang Maria Makiling at the National Arts Center from Business Mirror

The Leandro Locsin-designed Tanghalang Maria Makiling was inaugurated in 1976, the same year the artist completed the Philippine International Convention Center. The theater located in Mount Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna is Locsin's neo-vernacular interpretation of the national nipa hut, an indigenous housing structure on stilts.

Philippine Arena

Photo of the Philippine Arena from Philippine News

The Philippine Arena is a structure developed by Christian denomination Iglesia Ni Cristo and opened to the public in 2014, and is considered to be one of the largest indoor arenas in the world. Designed by global mega-architecture firm Populous, the structure is said to be modernist in style, with the roof resembling a nipa hut and the overall design inspired by the national tree, narra.

The Mind Museum

Photo of the Mind Museum from museum's website

The Mind Museum is the country's first interactive science museum. Designed by architecture legends Lor and Ed Calma, the museum dons a futuristic facade said to be inspired by cellular structure and growth. The structure boats a solar reflective exterior, and accommodates natural wind ventilation and proper drainage for rainwater.

National Museum of Fine Arts in the National Museum of the Philippines Complex

Photo of the National Museum of Fine Arts from agency's website

The National Museum of Fine Arts was built in 1921 and was originally used to house the legislative bodies of the national government. Neo-classical in style, the building was designed by Public Works Bureau consulting architect Ralph Harrington Doane and Antonio Toledo.

Zuellig Building

Photo of Zuellig Building from KMC website

Located in the heart of the Makati Central Business District, the Zuellig Building is the first Platinum level LEED Core and Shell building in the country. Completed in 2013, the skyscraper was designed by international firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in collaboration with Philippine architectural company W.V. Coscolluela & Associates. Meinhardt Hong Kong designed the facade while engineering was fulfilled by Meinhardt in the Philippines.

San Miguel Corporation Building

Photo of San Miguel Corporation Building from CNN Philippines website

The San Miguel Building is a pioneering landmark of green architecture in the country, incorporating lush greenery on its terraces and utilizing slanted windows to deflect unwanted heat and light. The Mañosa Brothers and IP Santos were heavily inspired by the layout of the Banaue Rice Terraces and built the structure in 1984.

Luneta Hotel

Photo of Luneta Hotel from Film Philippines website

The Luneta Hotel is a French Renaissance-styled structure built back in colonial 1919. Crafted by Spanish architect Salvador Farre, the building boasts art deco accents and Belle Epoque styles.

The Ruins in Talisay

Photo of The Ruins in Talisay by Claire Algarme

Built in the 1900s, The Ruins in Talisay, Negros Occidental is an architectural site of the remains of an ancestral Italian-styled home. The structure depicts Italianate architecture with neo-Romanesque pillars, not unlike the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Sulu Provincial Capitol

Photo of the Sulu Provincial Capitol from My Mindanao website

An iconic structure of Islamic and Moorish architecture, the provincial capitol building of Sulu is a sight to behold with the shining golden domes and intricate detailwork on the gates and window panes.

Cebu Provincial Capitol

Photo of the Cebu Provincial Capitol from The Freeman website

Another design of late architect Juan M. Arellano, the Cebu Provincial Capitol (1938) was patterned after the U.S. Capitol and boasted neoclassical designs while also highlighting art deco elements.

Manila Central Post Office

Photo of the Manila Central Post Office from Spot.PH website

The original building of the Manila Post Office was designed by Juan M. Arellano and Tomas Mapua, and was constructed in 1926 under the supervision of Pedro Siochi and Company. The neoclassical piece of architecture, while severely damaged from the Battle of Manila, was rebuilt with most of the original design intact 20 years after.

The Manila Cathedral

Photo of the Manila Cathedral from Out Of Town Blog website

Reconstructed from the latter half of the 1950s under the supervision of Fernando Ocampo, the Manila Cathedral is a Neo-Romanesque piece of architecture that showcases 134 stained-glass windows and an artistic depiction of the cathedral's history etched on the central doors. It is said that the first iteration of the church was built all the way back in 1571, and was made from bamboo and nipa.

Main Building of University of Santo Tomas

Photo of the Main Building of UST from The Varsitarian

The UST Main Building is an architectural and engineering marvel, being the first earthquake-resistant building in all of Asia. Designed by Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P. in 1922 and opened to the public in 1927, the iconic structure in Asia's oldest university housed students and faculty during the American occupation, the 2nd World War, student unrest of the '60s, and both EDSA Revolutions.

Quezon Hall of UP Diliman

Photo of UP Diliman's Quezon Hall from Manila Bulletin

The Quezon Hall was designed by National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil. The neoclassical structure features huge pillars and buttresses, as well as an open portico opposite the Oblation complex. Floor glass blocks were installed to provide natural light to rooms situated in the basement of the building, often used as offices for employees of the university administration.

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