Fulgar Architects pushes Metamodernism architecture

Render of hotel casino project in Batangas City

IT is time to change the perspective and thinking of Philippine architecture and develop a new approach.

John Ian Lee Fulgar, the principal architect of Fulgar Architects, told the media in a recent interview that it is high time to introduce metamodernism in the country. 

Render of Mars Ravelo museum in Tagaytay City

“We are nearing the end of post-modernism, an era that is characterized by polarity—black or white, light or dark. With metamodernism, you are trying to marry both polarities to come up with something new,” Fulgar explained.

Expounding, the scholar of the Philippine Science High School said his exposure to the early stages of technology developed his thinking, along with his experiences working alongside with big international firms while he was based in Singapore.

When he decided to come back to the Philippines in 2014, Fulgar was determined to introduce metamodernism hoping to bring change into the country’s urban planning and design. His firm, Fulgar Architects, is known as the pioneer in metamodern designs of commercial properties, hotels, museums, shopping malls and residences.

“We are borrowing too much from the Western ideas, where they mass produce and practice assembly architecture. While we are adapting these concepts, further studies on how it will impact our way of living as Filipinos must also be considered,” he pointed out.

Meta and technology

Principal architect John Ian Lee Fulgar and Townhouse project in Cavite

“Meta is something self-referencing,” Fulgar said. He pointed out this was technology-driven term where people are more connected. This helps break down the objectivity with a more subjective point of view. “Google was kind of meta when it introduced the open office. The discipline is now one of integration, coordination and collaboration. It does away with the traditional assembly line method of ‘this is my job, I am done with it, and now I am passing it on to you.’ With that way of thinking, no one was able to see a larger perspective.”

With the advancements in technology, Fulgar said there are architects can use data and translate it into simulations to determine the stability and strength of the structure. “It can help us shape our buildings better with regard to our own climate and other conditions.” Sustainability is now the trend, but builders should be going beyond that, because according to Fulgar, being environment-friendly should already be a given.

While he admires efforts on heritage preservation, Fulgar is looking to make his mark on the more modern, even futuristic, side of architecture, particularly in adapting it to suit the change in lifestyle brought about by technology. “Tech is disrupting the way we live and we have to make allowances for that, with something more sensible and less traditional, while still keeping in mind our culture as Filipinos.”        

Metamodern projects

Fulgar Architects has several projects in the works, where it tries to apply the metamodern approach. One is The Fortress, a fusion of medieval and modern look with streamlined feel and amenities in Angeles City, Pampanga. He is also working on the upcoming upscale resort in Puerto Galera, where he took in mind the orientation of the property to maximize its location on top of a cliff and designed the soon-to-be-built Mars Ravelo museum.

The latter is in Tagaytay, where the paper-inspired galleries housing the work of the komiks legend, are spread out through the 2.4-hectare property.

Another ongoing design project is a high-end hotel and casino in Batangas.  The theme is origamic with angular forms catering to international clientele. This landmark hotel, located on a 7,000-square meter lot in Tanauan, will help revitalize economic activities in the area and promote tourism. Target date of launch is in 2020.

“I like working with clients who are not afraid to try something new and would like to step out from the usual,” explained the versatile architect.

As a contemporary artist, Fulgar said metamodern and art go hand-in-hand. “Art provides a backbone to my philosophies, where concepts, tastes, and know-how come together on a canvas composed with texture, lighting, temperature and tone.”

He said that part of the metamodern approach is education. “It will be a viewpoint that will look at impact more than output.”


Rizal Raoul Reyes

Rizal Raoul S. Reyes has covered technology, science, business, property and special reports. He had working stints with the Business Star, Manila Bulletin and Independent Daily News.