Ely Buendia’s house on UZ



Here are some outtakes from the Urban Zone feature of Ely Buendia’s house. Ofcourse, Murphy’s law. I forgot to charge my Olympus PEN, so my battery ran out after 6 shots. Most of the photos are from my iPhone. This is the first time Ely agreed to have his house shown on television. It has appeared in Homestyle magazine last year. And it is currently featured in Dwell Asia magazine. But TV… just me. I have to say a big thank you to Shawn Yao for helping me make this happen.

Ely designed his house himself. A frustrated architect, he taught himself by reading books on modern, industrial and brutalist architecture. He’s a big fan of Le Corbusier. His architect friend Mia Guererro helped him realize his concepts from drawings to plans to actual construction. Mia says there are parallels between Ely’s house, Le Corbusier’s idea of modern architecture and our bahay kubo. More on that later after the jump.



1997 MTV Music Award. I interviewed the E-heads for this in 1997. I produced the story for Teddy Boy Locsin’s Assignment in ABS-CBN.


His Man on the Moon is prominently displayed on this red shelf.


The red shelf slides sideways – it can be used to hide either the door to his son’s bedroom or the stairs.


Click “More…” to see the rest of Ely Buendia’s house.


Open plan living room with Ely’s collection of reproductions of vintage designer chairs.


Good idea of keeping the stair back open. It produces a very interesting play of light.


At the foyer/receiving area.


Matte black sliding panel covers a flat screen TV.


Peculiar feature of his home, the pilot’s “cockpit.” Ely tells me this was an after thought. It was supposed to be a walk-out balcony but he figured the living room looked small. So he used the space as an office. It sits in the front of the house, facing the driveway and entire neighbourhood.


He has books, music equipment, computers and knick knacks in this room. It’s like a control booth.


His keyboard.


Another instrument.


A unique feature of Ely’s house is the slanted windows. It is because of this that the house remains cool. The house has generous windows and captures wind and light but it completely avoids direct sunlight. We should all learn from this.


The house


Here, according to the architect Mia Guerrero, are the Le Corbusier’s 5 Points of New Architecture, which coincidentally were already all present in the bahay kubo. Ely’s house has all these principles in his house. Thus, it’s roots are very mid-century Corbu, Traditional Filipino and Brutalist Moderne all in one

1. Pilotis – Post and Lintel Construction (Columns and Beams).
Method of construction resulting with exterior walls/ interior partitions no longer having to carry any weight. (not part of the structural system)
2. Roof Garden – This is present in Ely’s third storey, so that the footprint/space taken up by the structure is reclaimed and utilized. In the humble bahay kubo, the land is reclaimed by utilizing the ground floor known as the silong.
3. Free Facade – Because of the Pilotis, the structure is free to have any facade it wants. It isn’t limited by structural/load bearing requirements.
4. Free Plan – Because of the Pilotis, the Floor plan may be done in any which way as it is also not limited to rigid arrangement of walls having to carry the weight of the structure.
5. Horizontal Window – Again, because of the Pilotis windows were free to be horizontal and in strips.


The “free facade”


The “silong.” Here Ely placed a small swimming pool. Interesting though that he’s a bit afraid of water. Hence that yellow rope hanging from the top. Just adjacent to the pool from where I stood was the garage.


His mailbox.


The highest part of the house is Ely’s recording studio.


His last playlist. OMG!


The deck from the third floor. Here you see a bit of the rooftop garden.




Urban Zone airs every Friday night on ABSCBN Channel 2 after SOCO and in all regions of The Filipino Channel.





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  • http://twitter.com/bianskidoodle Bianca Mendiola

    His house kinda looks like a ship on the outside, and that area with the red shelf that slides sideways looks a bit like from the set of the Korean Drama, Coffee Prince. Cool.