The Philippine Pavilion rethinks the role of architect

Arts Awake

THE National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Office of Antique Representative Loren Legarda present the Structures of Mutual Support curated by Framework Collaborative as the official exhibition of the Philippines at the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The exhibition, collaborative project of the community of Brgy. Engkanto (Angat, Bulacan), Ar. Sudarshan V. Khadka, Jr. and Ar. Alexander Eriksson Furunes, invests in the process of building structures and spaces.

Structures of Mutual Support explores the concept of Filipino bayanihan as a principle that allows members of communities to thrive and live together. The exhibition utilizes the principle of bayanihan as a method of critique, to examine prevailing modes of architectural production. It rethinks architectural modes of production by emphasizing the need for a shared sense of ownership and a stronger sense of belonging. Collective work and mutual support are proposed as alternative methods of building that challenge dominant discourses that shape architectural practice.

Mutual support is a mechanism of self organization for communities that allow them to thrive amidst adversity and crisis. It is rooted in empathy. Filipino bayanihan is comparable to the Irish meithal, the Norwegian dugnad, the Brasilian mutirao, and the Indonesian gotong-royong. It is founded on collective work, one where social relationships, reciprocity and cohesion are facilitated and strengthened in communities.

Framework Collaborative has tapped the Gawad Kalinga community based in Angat, Bulacan to collectively design and build a structure that will be self-determined. Through a series of workshops to be done on site, according to a fixed schedule, the curators will give Gawad Kalinga the space to negotiate and discover what they need to be built according to the values and knowledge that are meaningful to them.

The Selection Process

The Philippine Arts in the Venice Biennale (PAVB) Coordinating Committee released an open call last June 22, 2019 inviting curators, architects, artists and other interested participants to submit a curatorial proposal for the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale. There were eight curatorial submissions received by the Coordinating Committee.

The deliberation took place last Aug. 21, 2019 at the NCCA Conference Room. PAVB tapped three guest jurors including the following:

Ar. Jose Mari Yupango an industrial design and designer architect who is also a professor emeritus of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde School of Design and the Arts;

Ar. Brian Lee, responsible for internationally published and award-winning designs include the China World Trade Center in Beijing (the city's tallest building); Poly International Plaza in Guangzhou, China; the University of California San Diego Telemedicine Education Building; and the Kia Motors America, Inc. Research and Development Project among others;

Gridthiya Gaweewong who founded arts organization Project 304, is currently Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok and has recently curated The Serenity of Madness, a solo exhibition of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York.

The jury was completed with the participation of NCCA Chairman Virgilio S. Almario and Deputy Speaker and Congresswoman Loren Legarda, the principal advocate of the project.

This is the Philippines third official participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the sixth consecutive participation of the country in the Venice Biennale for both its art and architecture expositions since 2015.

The 17th Venice Architecture Biennale will be curated by Hashim Sarkis with the theme titled How will we live together.

For questions on this event, please contact Riya Lopez through


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!