Esteemed Filipino architect Francisco Mañosa, who designed the Coconut Palace at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, and multi-awarded Italian architect Romolo V. Nati, CEO of Italpinas Eurasian Design and Eco-Development Corporation, so firmly believe that the bahay kubo (nipa hut), the iconic symbol of Filipino culture, is the Philippines’ original sustainable house.
“The bahay kubo is so beautiful in its simplicity and practicality. It harnesses the wind and the light coming from nature to provide its occupants basic comforts like cool air passing through its perforated walls without harming the environment,” said Nati in a statement.
Mañosa, on the other hand, even lives in his very own bahay kubo-inspired mansion that has only three posts or haligi, five one-inch coconut shell doors on the second floor, and a silong (basement), which Mañosa built in Ayala Alabang Village seven years ago.
A sustainable home design follows two essential principles: (1) Its main design ideas make use of renewable and natural materials; and (2) its structural design promotes proper air circulation, where the hot air rises and the cold air sinks, both of which the humble bahay kubo upholds.
It Reduces Carbon Footprint
Made of indigenous building materials such as bamboo and nipa, the bahay kubo produces smaller carbon footprint compared to modern building materials such as timber, steel, and concrete.
It Promotes Passive Cooling
The bahay kubo’s tall, steeply-pitched roof makes an ample room for dissipating heat inside the house. Its silong (basement) is well-ventilated (thanks to the bahay kubo’s traditional bamboo slat floors, which allow the cool air to naturally flow into the main living space from the silong below).
It Lets Sunshine In
The bahay kubo’s typical large awning windows allow natural light and the prevailing winds from the southwest to come in.
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