ARCHITECTS | Leandro “Lindy” Locsin :: The “Poet of Space”


Leandro V. Locsin as a young man, fresh out of university

Several shots of The University of the Philippines Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice (1955)

Leandro with maquette

Ayala Triangle Tower One and the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati (1995)

Church of St. Andrews, Bel Air, Makati (1968)

Building the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Main Building, Cultural Center of the Philippines (1969)

Leandro V. Locsin was the Philippines’ greatest modern architect. That’s just my humble estimation, but I think it has merit.

Locsin’s parents gave him the nickname “Lindy” after aviator Charles Lindbergh. His work at Expo 70 in Osaka would also evoke aspects of flight.

His largest single work is the the largest residential palace in the world, the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei (does that look way over the top, or what?):

The Philippine Pavilion at Expo 70 in Osaka and the Palace of the Sultan of Brunei, 1984




He, more than any of his contemporaries, put the Philippines on the world stage, especially when his CCP Main Building opened in 1969.

His peers have described him as the “Poet of Space” for the way he articulated space using straightforward geometry.

I think that, next to Frank Lloyd Wright, he is the master of the cantilever. When I first saw his CCP Performing Arts Theater, I was astonished by how the mass of the building seemed to float above its podium.

I also like how he combined the male and female principles in his architecture. The CCP Main Building’s podium’s gentle sloping curves give way to an enormous box, and the interior is an amazing interplay between the sexes; soft versus hard:

In many ways, I consider Locsin to be a kindred spirit of Oscar Niemeyer, who put Brazil on the world map with his organic, sensuous forms.

From 1955 to 1994, Locsin designed seventy-five residences and eighty-eight public buildings, plus a palace for the Sultan of Brunei. Yet, he remains an unknown, especially in the country of his birth.

My Cultural Center of the Philippines Suite is a tribute to his legacy. I just wish I could find out more about his relationship with the First Lady, Imelda Marcos. What I would have given to be a fly on the wall back in 1960s Manila.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines, a huge block of a cantilevered building for performance and art, marked the beginning of Mrs. Marcos’s long-standing intoxication with megalithic  construction, symptomatic of the edifice complex.

– Gerard Lico, Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines. Manila: University of the Philippines Press, 2009.

> click the screenshot to explore the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Wikimapia

East by Southeast WebZine | Lindy Locsin – A Contrary View

Disenyo | A Response to “Lindy Locsin – A Contrary View

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