Finding the Filipino in school building design

I’m not an architect thus can’t say by what design school Philippine school buildings are patterned on.  But I know they’re not Filipino.

The quintessential structure that is uniquely Filipino is the nipa hut.  So why not build schools based on an improvement of the nipa hut model?  If I’m correct, Imelda (Marcos) pioneered this design in national structures such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines, domestic airport terminals such as in Baguio City, and PTA-run beach resorts.  If you look at these structures closely – CCP for one – you’d see that it’s an improvement of the nipa hut.

DepEd needs to improve the design of its school buildings?  With the dark poorly-ventilated cell-like rooms, some white-washed others unpainted walls, and bare concrete floors, you’d think prisoners not young learners are in there.  And what’s with the neurotically-straight line arrangement of tables and chairs?  The lack of spirit in the design of the DepEd classroom – cramped, dark, box-like, unfinished – contradicts the Filipino values of karangalan (dignity) and kalayaan (freedom).  It suppresses pagkatao (personhood) of the Filipino and pakikipagkapwa (sharing of identity).


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