September - December 2007
Power and poisons
Photo Gallery

The house on M. Viola Street

YOU can’t miss the Navals’ house on M. Viola Street in Area 3, a residential community at the back of the University Shopping Center for academic and non-teaching personnel of the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. It is the only two-and-a-half-storey house with 30-degree sloped roofs amid rows of abodes mostly suffocating from the university’s mandated roof inclination of 15 degrees. In lieu of an attic, a commonly inappropriate design feature in modern Filipino homes, is a two-meter wooden balcony that splits the main roof.

The Navals’ residence is one of about 20 houses built or rebuilt by “spatialist” Clifford Espinosa, showcasing what he calls “natural architecture.” Or green architecture, as it’s now commonly known.

Aside from the new roof structure that disregarded the university’s building regulation, the green makeover had the ceiling height raised, employing cathedral ceilings that not only provided spaciousness to the 77 square-meter floor area (excluding 11 square meters of the mezzanine that hosts the balcony, an adjacent space which frequently serves as a classroom for Filipino professor Jimmuel Naval’s creative writing classes, and a mini library) but also introduced more natural light and ventilation in tandem with windows and openings all around.
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