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Royal Pineda

Photo Shaira Luna

In embracing both the modern and the traditional, architect Royal Pineda pushes forward to find and define truly Filipino architecture

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The search for Filipino identity is one that spans language, art, cuisine—but in design, many believe that Filipino architecture doesn’t exist. Royal Pineda, lead architect of Budji + Royal Architecture + Design, completely disagrees, citing the bahay kubo and boat houses, structures made by ordinary Filipinos. “They were responding truthfully to their needs and what they had as resources at that time,” he explains.

It’s this philosophy and an inspiration from nature that guides Pineda in his search for Filipino architecture, and they bring to life a blend of traditional and modern, practical and luxurious. Clark International Airport, for instance, echoes the Zambales mountain range in its form and tropical tones — lahar was even used as a material. The Athletics Stadium and Aquatics Center in New Clark City take inspiration from Mt Pinatubo and the humble fish trap, respectively. 

But Pineda’s vision for Filipino design goes beyond structures or even a city: it spans the entire nation, and he dreams of literally connecting the entire archipelago. “Collaboration is our way to make our country better,” he shares. “[It is] the modern bayanihan."

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Royal Pineda was only 22 years old when he started working for Philippine National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin.

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