March 9, 2012
I was the UST Architecture department yesterday. They invited me for a talk-show format speech. I love speaking with students. I get so wide-eyed as they do. Yesterday’s event was particularly overwhelming. We had a full house. So many UZ fans! Thank you.
One of the UST professors, architect Gene Flancia, was at the event. And I remembered that his house was one of those that I loved. It was streamlined, modern, “successfully” tropical (not all tropical homes are created equal) and beautiful. He built on 1/3 of the property and left the rest open and green. I also loved how he used the existing surroundings to his advantage like the leafy canopy of the tree across the street. And most importantly, he built a glass house that wasn’t a heat trap.
I love conversing with architects. It would be a shame to paraphrase their thoughts, so I will publish our email exchange in quotes. Here are some photos from that Urban Zone shoot last year.
Mr. Flancia built his house on the edge of the property to allow green open space in 2/3 of his land. “It’s cool that you take interest in my house. They say that one of the most challenging design projects for an architect is his own home. I found this to be partially true because a lot of people are expecting much from what you are going to produce, based on what they have seen as you design for others. It is more challenging if you have a strict budget and you will be spending your own money.”
“So with a tight budget at hand, I started constructing the house three years ago and finished it within a year, I went for the simplest lines that will exhibit a lot of design character, tropical, easy to maintain despite its sculpture white color.”
“I actually was flattered when you told me you can discern its sophistication in its design simplicity, despite its predominantly glass walls. I did that so I can appreciate my tropical garden. I am able to enjoy tons of natural light and use its shades and shadows as a design tool. You noticed that it’s not so hot either despite all the glass, it is because of the generous eaves that I have on the south west solar exposure and a lot of sliding glass doors and awning windows.”
Click “More…” to see this elegant tropical home.
“The use of a terra cotta colored wall that is slanted, separating the living dining area from the somewhat open kitchen is the other design statement of this otherwise simple house. The corrugated ceiling of the kitchen and the den produced by using recycled old corrugated GI sheets are textural details that my visitors find kind of nice.”
They don’t make electric fans like this anymore. Note to all brands and industrial designers… bring this back! Mr Flancia had this fan for decades. Apparently it’s a Japanese brand. I love how it’s an oscillating fan but it doubles up as a stool or ottoman. Again, so simple and elegant.
View of upper bedroom from living room. “The house is not even in a gated community, but I really had to make use of the property that my grandad lovingly gave me. The adjacent giant acacia trees provide a lot of dappled shadows and misty streaks of light at certain times of the year.”
“I decided to use only a third of the area of this lot that I acquired from my grandparents for having studied well and being a good first male grandchild. I only used a third of the the area of this 450 lot because I wanted the most garden space that I can have. My mom and my Lola noticed my green thumb as a kid and it is manifested with the overgrown tropical plants that I have now.”
“You should see the various birds that visit me, especially the humming birds sipping the nectar from the flowers when they are in bloom! They seem to be wearing dark tuxedos over yellow shirts with straw like beaks sipping expensive wine!”
“People comment on my curtain free master bedroom with floor to high ceiling glass windows. I jokingly say it’s an exhibitionist paradise. But really, the lush leaves of the garden provide the privacy that I need. Some of my lady friends agree with silly, impish grins on their faces.”
This house was so light and elegant. It worked really well as a tropical home. The architect did well in building his own house. Lovely.
Look for him if you’re building something. Gene Romero Flancia, architect.