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Close Up Remembering National Artist for Architecture Francisco Mañosa

Remembering National Artist for Architecture Francisco Mañosa

Remembering National Artist for Architecture Francisco Mañosa
By Franz Sorilla IV
By Franz Sorilla IV
February 21, 2019
Known for championing Filipino architecture in the late 20th Century, renowned architect Francisco "Bobby" Mañosa joined our Creator last February 20 at the age of 88, survived by his wife Denise and children Bambi, Dino, and Gelo

Considered as the "Father of Philippine Neo-vernacular Architecture", Bobby Mañosa was known for some of today's iconic landmarks and immortalising Bahay Kubo-inspired architectural style and aesthetics in modern architecture. For more than 60 years of his career, he championed Filipino architecture, as seen in most of his works. Until his retirement in 2015, he had passionately created original Filipino forms and spaces with intricate and refined details anchored on Filipino sensibilities and cultures.

He strongly believed that Philippine architecture must be “true to itself, its land and its people," as he usually says in his interviews when asked about his design philosophy. He intensively studied, mastered and interpreted the untapped DNA of Philippine architecture, especially the Bahay Kubo and Bahay na Bato. He also pushed for the use of indigenous materials such bamboo, coconut, rattan and capiz, among others for architectural finishes, furniture and furnishings.

Francisco 'Bobby' Mañosa (left) working with the Mañosa brothers. | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Francisco 'Bobby' Mañosa (left) working with the Mañosa brothers. | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Intuitively, he pioneered the sustainable architecture—way before this environmental design movement broke ground in the Philippines. He conceptualized the “edible garden”—a design where plants surround the external walls of the structures. This is quite evident in the San Miguel Building—one of his major works—with its rice terrace–like green balconies and “tukod” (inwardly slanting windows).

While he had journeyed alone in his battle to uplift and promote Philippine architecture, Mañosa wholeheartedly defended his philosophy and developed the “Filipinism” design style.

San Miguel Corporation Building | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
San Miguel Corporation Building | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Mañosa restored the St. Joseph Parish Church and the surrounding buildings in its complex | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Mañosa restored the St. Joseph Parish Church and the surrounding buildings in its complex | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

One of his many landmark projects included: the Tahanang Pilipino (or the Coconut Palace), where he invented numerous coconut product finishes with suppliers and orchestrating many artists and artisans to participate in the different rooms showcasing Philippine culture; the internationally awarded Amanpulo Resort, which celebrates deconstructed “bahay kubos”; Our Lady of Peace Shrine in EDSA, Quezon City; Metrorail Transit System Stations for LRT 1, circa 1980s; Quezon Memorial Circle Development Plan; Chapel of the Risen Lord in Las Piñas City, which was the cover of his first published book, Designing Filipino, among others. 

Coconut Palace | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Coconut Palace | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

He received several awards recognitions such as: Most Outstanding Professional Award in the Field of Interior Design from Philippine Regulation Commission in 2013; Lifetime Achievement Award from United Architects of the Philippines in 2009; Outstanding Artist for Golden Years of Service Award in the field of Architecture from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, in observance of the UNESCO World Theater Week in 2009; Gawad Diwa ng Lahi sa Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award in 2006; Gawad Ginto Likha Award from Architectural Archives of the Philippines in 2005; The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award; 2004 Gawad CCP Para Sa Sining Award in 2004; Papal Award, Noble Knighthood of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1982, among others.

Our Lady of Peace / EDSA Shrine | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Our Lady of Peace / EDSA Shrine | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The whole structure, Filipino Heroes Memorial in Corregidor, was designed by Francisco Mañosa, while the murals and statue of a Filipino guerilla were sculpted by Manuel Casas | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The whole structure, Filipino Heroes Memorial in Corregidor, was designed by Francisco Mañosa, while the murals and statue of a Filipino guerilla were sculpted by Manuel Casas | Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Francisco Mañosa
Francisco Mañosa

He was conferred the National Artist Awards in 2018 for his valuable contribution to the development, preservation and promotion of the Philippine Architecture, which is essential to the Filipino identity.

The Cultural Centre of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will pay tribute to the late National Artist  through a state necrological ceremony, “Pagdadalamhati ng Bayan Para Kay Francisco Mañosa,” on February 24, 2019, at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theatre).

The Arrival Honours, led by the Philippine Navy, will start at 8:30am at the CCP Front Lawn, followed by a procession at the Ramp. The Necrological Rites will follow promptly at 9am. Fellow National Artists will also pay homage to Mañosa.

His interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will happen between late morning and high noon, right after the necrological services at the CCP.

The necrological service is open to the public.

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