The Impact Of Architecture On The Future Of Philippine Cities

MANILA, Philippines — Architecture is often overlooked and we don’t often think about the elements that make it good. To us, sometimes it’s just another building. “The Anthology Architecture + Design Festival” ongoing until Feb. 17 in Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila aims to show how good architecture enhances our daily lives in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily predict or expect.

“Architecture is the most public and socially dangerous art: we can switch off the television or close a book, but we cannot ignore our built environment,” said Rica Plaza, managing director of Plaza + Partners Inc. “The buildings that we create will outlive us; they will stand testament of our time.” 

Since first launching in 2016, the festival  has become one of the most highly anticipated events for industry insiders each year. The festival aims to create awareness about the value and importance of architecture in our communities and to elevate the level of the built environment in our nation by showcasing the best of Philippine design.  As the festival director of Anthology, Rebecca intends to bring global ideas to the local context, in the hope of building better, future-ready cities. The Anthology Festival also provides up and coming talent with access to fresh ideas on design thinking, presenting the latest industry trends on designing for a fast-changing world, using digitalization and innovative technologies to create open-ended, flexible buildings. 

Thought leaders from all over the world are flying in to discuss the overall theme, “Impact Architecture.” Plaza underscores the timeliness of the matter vis-à-vis the country’s infrastructure boom though the government’s “Build Build Build” program, saying while projects need to be done fast, everything still needs to be planned out and designed well. “Architecture can really play a great role in nation building and moving forward integrating cities for the 21st century,” she said. Issues to be discussed fall under architecture on a macro-scale, the art and philosophy of architecture and the practice and profession of design, given by industry experts, like Ole Schereen of Buro Ole Schereen, Roland Schnizer of Foster+Partners and Hans Sy Jr. of SM. The discourse led by world-renowned thought-leaders, will look at some of the most critical challenges facing architecture today and examine how these can be applied in the Philippine context.

Unlike traditional conferences, event attendees can look forward to various talks, workshops, and live competitions across multiple stages throughout the weekend, functioning more like an exciting music festival within a historical outdoor setting. The most anticipated events are the talks which will feature big names in the industry. 

Anthology Talks is a 60-minute lecture, which will feature seven local and 20 foreign architects and designers such as Bong Recio, Cathy Saldana, Edson Cabalfin, Jojo Tolentino, Kenneth Cobonpue, Terence Yu, William Ti, Ole Scheeren, Aaron Betsky, Qingyun Ma, and Tezuka Takaharu; while Shelter Dialogues is a series of panel discussions led by five or six thought leaders per session. The first day will feature a talk about on architecture on a macro-scale (from national building to future cities and sustainability), led by Pinky Webb, Karlo Nograles, Tomas Lorenzo, Royal Pineda, Paulo Alcazaren, Rebecca Plaza and Buds Wenceslao. Day two will have Toby Guggenheimer, Dom Galicia, Steph Kienle, Anna Sy, Jorge Yulo, Jason Buensalido, Cynthia Almario and Buck Si, speaking about heritage, art and process.

For information, visit