We Filipinos pride ourselves on being the happiest people in the world. Our warmth and hospitality, and the easy way we relate with our neighbors define how we live, whether it be in the megacity of Metro Manila or in the smallest rural fishing village. We are a nation of barangays who live together and enjoy the company of our neighbors and friends. We are a people that celebrate inclusivity and diversity. In response to the 2020 theme of “How Will We Live Together,” our entry for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – Philippine Pavilion presents a meeting place for all the visitors of the Biennale set in that most urban meeting place, the street.
A MULTILAYERED MANILA
The Philippine Pavilion opens up with a white plastered reproduction of Mata Street in Tondo, Manila. On both sides of the pavilion entrance are gleaming white highly accurate full-scale recreations of actual houses and shops. The facades fade into the background while all around the pavilion visitors are met with a vivid full-scale recreation of life in our streets. In a small alley is a row of children playing video games out in the open. There is a peddler pushing along a cart buying plastic and glass bottles for recycling.
You can hear the roosters crowing beside open baskets of dried fish laid all over from the roofs of tricycles to the canopies of various houses. You can see cats scurrying about and dogs running along after. Potted plants occupy every available nook and cranny. You will find barber shops, cafeterias, and corner stores selling all of your daily needs.
As you walk along this beautiful scene of life, you will find windows that show you the next parts of your journey. On your left are a row of four doors. Enter. Look around and see the rest of our country. Inside you will find life indices of our cities and towns, farming villages and island barrios.
Listen to the sounds of our island 170 languages and dialects spread out over 7000 islands in the Pacific. Watch the videos read about life and living together. Then check out the dioramas of life in the Philippines, ranging from skyscraper districts to small village clusters, from the mountains of Luzon to the Visayan islands and the plantations of Mindanao. These is the life index.
After you explore life in our islands, step out and hop onto our streets. Immerse yourself in the colors of life and take 10 tiny steps to the other side. Open one of the doors and your journey continues. Inside you will find the curated exhibits of a diverse group of architects that tell the story of Filipinos and our common grounds, a story about the places where we meet.
TAGPUAN: A MEETING PLACE
The built environment functions as the primary physical representation of our societies. Architecture must reflect the existing realities on the ground as a strong influence for the development of social infrastructure. Tagpuan examines the densest district in the world, its history and culture through its streetscapes, as a microcosm of the Philippines and a representative urban typology of how to live as Filipinos do in contrast to more common vertical urban growth patterns.
Tagpuan, meaning rendezvous or meeting point, is the intersection of Philippine life. The slice of Mata street develops a document of the
organic processes and activities of daily Filipino life. Mata Street was chosen as the study block because it best represents the average Tondo alley. It most accurately boasts the lively Filipino street to a wider global audience.
MAPPING TONDO LIFE
The illustration is a map of how the dense and diverse activities are sprawled along Mata St. It identifies impact footprints and the relationships they have to the street. The infographic highlights how density relocates the private backyard to the front of the house – creating a vibrant public social space with activities such as playing bingo, drying fish, interacting with neighbors, doing laundry and selling turon.