Unfinished Basket Pays Tribute to Filipino Culture and Craftsmanship - BluPrint

Baskets are one of the most popular Filipino-made products. They’re mostly handwoven and serve many purposes, from carrying fresh produce to serving as home decor. Filipino-made baskets were also the inspiration when DST Design + Build designed the Unfinished Basket which received an Architizer A+ Special Mention in the Architecture Hospitality category last 2021. 

The recently completed Unfinished Basket is a structure within a boutique resort complex in San Mateo, Rizal. Guests of the resort are welcomed by this grand architecture which represents Filipinos’ resiliency. 

At first glance, the building is undoubtedly Filipino-made for the use of familiar local materials but with a modern take while blending smoothly with its environment. Architect Dryan S. Tria, Principal Architect of DST Design + Build shares on BluPrint that his firm strives on modernizing Filipino architecture and design and pieces all other design elements together in harmony with its natural environment. 

Going around the place, with a keen eye, one can easily notice the influence of an artisan basket in the design of the structure. Architect Tria shares: “In the beginning, we were inspired by the thought of designing a structure that will represent us, as Filipinos. Years later, we came to decide that an Unfinished Basket is the best choice to represent who we are, that being the basket inspiration became a reality for this Vernacular artisan-like Architecture Boutique resort Complex in San Mateo, Rizal.”

Looking closely at the structure, it is a beautiful interpretation of a deconstructed basket. The structure is divided into three clusters. The main structure serves as a reception and lounge area. The left zone serves as the back office of the structure, while the right zone functions as a bar and lounge restaurant. This architectural intent aims to connect all areas while still enforcing diversity in creating contiguous space dynamics that function differently but operate as one. Hence, converging all areas to the view deck alfresco section reveals the beautiful Majestic Mountain view of the Sierra Madre creating that one nature concept.

Unfinished Basket also has an infinity pool inspired by the country’s natural wonders “Pearl of the Orient” Philippine’s capital city: Manila. The architect was also inspired by the “Nautilus Mollusk,” a rare kind of species that is protected by its hard shell covering. Its remains normally are used as an “Art Piece” collection that is processed and polished which end product resembles a pearl-like finish. 

“The shape of the shell has that distinct and perfect logarithmic spiral curve, now referred to as the Golden Ratio, this is our guiding line, which shaped the concept of the infinity pool,” Architect Tria shares as he explains how they came up with the shape of the pool. It is divided into several zones: the sunbathing lounge area, the planter’s area which serves as a vegetation zone for ornamental plants, and Palm Trees, the ring-shaped lounger which signifies the Three Large Islands of the Philippines–Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The architect also used multiple indigenous materials, such as wood, natural stones, seashells, weaved “solihiya” and bamboo sheets (sawali). The woven elements completed the design concept that embodies the Filipino brand and heritage evident in all areas of the structure both interior and architectural design. 

Inside the Unfinished Basket is a reflective ceiling that symbolizes the representation of the sun in the Philippine flag, representing the eight provinces of the Philippines. The architect used locally sourced natural Capiz shell material. As the light reflects on the surface of the shell, the “pearl-like” material lusters and shines, signifying the country’s historical brand of the “Pearl of the Orient.”

Apart from honoring the country’s heritage and culture, DST also pays attention to the structure’s impact on the environment. The villas in the resort complex are equipped with a “Rainwater Harvesting System,” a bamboo-like downspout creatively designed to collect water from the roof gutters. This follows the design principle of “form follows function” where the rainwater gets filtered and stored in the cistern tank. This feature is utilized for flushing the water closet, filling the pool, and watering the produce in the farm zone area of the resort.

Lastly, the villas are powered using solar energy to partially energize some of the units, including the air conditioning system and water heaters.

Photography by Ed Simon

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