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The Evolution of Filipino House Design: From Bahay Kubo to Modern Homes

The Evolution of Filipino House Design: From Bahay Kubo to Modern Homes

The Evolution of Filipino House Design: From Bahay Kubo to Modern Homes

Filipino house design has a rich and diverse history that has evolved over time, encompassing a range of architectural styles and influences. From the traditional bahay kubo to the modern homes we see today, Filipino house design reflects the changing needs, preferences, and cultural heritage of the Filipino people. In this article, we will delve into the evolution of Filipino house design, exploring various architectural styles, providing examples from different locations, and estimating the costs associated with each style.

Bahay Kubo:

The bahay kubo holds a special place in Filipino culture and history. It is a traditional Filipino house made of indigenous materials such as bamboo and nipa palm. The bahay kubo is known for its elevated platform and steep thatched roof. While it is less common as a primary dwelling today, examples of the bahay kubo can still be found in rural areas, particularly in places like the Batanes Islands. The cost of building a bahay kubo varies depending on the materials used and location, ranging from Php 50,000 to Php 200,000.

Spanish Colonial:

The Spanish colonial period introduced new architectural styles and materials to the Philippines. The bahay na bato, a two-story house made of stone and brick with a tiled roof, is an iconic example of Spanish colonial influence. These houses can be found in various locations, including the Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort in Quezon Province. The cost of building a bahay na bato ranges from Php 2 million to Php 8 million.

American Colonial:

The American colonial period brought with it more modern architectural styles such as Art Deco and Art Nouveau. The Streamline Moderne style, characterized by sleek curves and smooth surfaces, is an example of American colonial influence in Filipino house design. Examples of Streamline Moderne homes can be found in various locations, such as the Art Deco apartments in Pasay City. Building a Streamline Moderne-style house typically costs between Php 3 million and Php 15 million.


The post-war period witnessed the emergence of the modernist movement in architecture, which prioritized functionality and simplicity. The International Style, with its clean lines, geometric shapes, and use of industrial materials like glass and steel, found its way into Filipino house design. Notable examples of International Style homes can be seen in the landmark Manila Jockey Club in Makati City. The cost of building an International Style home ranges from Php 5 million to Php 20 million.


Contemporary Filipino house design blends traditional elements with modern aesthetics. The modern bahay kubo, for instance, combines the charm of the traditional bahay kubo with modern amenities and materials such as concrete and glass. These homes can be found in various locations, including the Bahay Kubo ni Juan in Batangas. Building a modern bahay kubo typically costs between Php 2 million and Php 5 million.

Tropical Modern:

Tropical modern architecture is a popular style in the Philippines, emphasizing open spaces, natural materials, and ample natural light and ventilation. This style is well-suited for the country’s climate and offers a

seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living. Examples of tropical modern homes can be found in various locations, such as the Yap Residence in Cebu City. The cost of building a tropical modern-style home ranges from Php 3 million to Php 15 million.

Art Deco:

In the 1930s, the influence of the Art Deco movement brought sleek, geometric lines and bold decorative elements to Filipino house design. The San Juan area of Metro Manila is home to some remarkable examples of Art Deco homes, showcasing their unique architectural features and exquisite craftsmanship.

Mid-Century Modern:

Embraced during the post-war period of the 1950s to the 1960s, Mid-Century Modern architecture emphasized simplicity, clean lines, and a seamless connection with nature. Notable examples of Mid-Century Modern homes can be found in exclusive subdivisions like North Forbes Park and Acropolis in Quezon City.


In the 1970s, Filipino architects experimented with Brutalism, a style characterized by the use of raw concrete, exposed structural elements, and a rugged, unfinished appearance. The La Vista subdivision in Quezon City is known for its striking Brutalist homes that make a bold architectural statement.


The 1980s and 1990s witnessed the incorporation of Postmodern elements into Filipino house design, featuring playful designs, eclectic combinations of historical and contemporary styles, and bold architectural forms. Exclusive residential areas such as Ayala Alabang and Dasmarinas Village in Metro Manila showcase remarkable examples of Postmodern homes.


Today, Filipino house design continues to evolve with contemporary styles that prioritize simplicity, clean lines, and sustainable materials and practices. Contemporary homes can be found throughout the country, particularly in eco-friendly developments like Nuvali in Laguna and Vermosa in Cavite, reflecting a harmonious blend of modern aesthetics and environmental consciousness.

By exploring the evolution of Filipino house design, we gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rich architectural heritage of the Philippines. Each style reflects not only the artistic expression of its time but also the cultural influences and aspirations of the Filipino people. From the humble bahay kubo to the modern, sustainable homes of today, Filipino house design remains a testament to the country’s rich history and vibrant architectural creativity.


In conclusion, the evolution of Filipino house design has witnessed the blending of traditional elements with various architectural styles and influences, resulting in a diverse range of homes that reflect the cultural heritage and changing needs of the Filipino people. Whether it’s the timeless beauty of the bahay kubo, the grandeur of Spanish colonial houses, or the contemporary elegance of modern and sustainable designs, Filipino house design continues to inspire and captivate with its unique charm and artistic expression.

Remember, when considering building or renovating your home, exploring the different architectural styles and drawing inspiration from the examples found throughout the country can help you create a dwelling that reflects your personal style while embracing the rich heritage of Filipino house design.

Check out this next blog for you Sustainable House Construction: The Future of Filipino Architecture

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