## Nipa house

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Nipa house, Philippines, 1920 or before

“Facts and figures about the Philippines”

Publication date 1920

Buildings

Naturally the style of construction that meets with the most favor in any country is that most suitable to the prevailing climatic conditions. In the Philippines, where the temperature throughout the year is mild, all buildings, with exception of those requiring no special ventilation, are plentifully supplied with windows, usually with sliding sashes made of translucent (capiz) shells set in wooded grilles, and in some cases almost completely surrounded by balconies. The Philippine homes particularly are designed with careful thought given to securing the maximum circulation in every corner of the building.

At the time of the coming of Magellan the houses found in the Philippines were made of bamboo and nipa, the latter serving as roof covering and siding. The nipa, by the way, is a leaf of a palm of that name. In some parts of Luzon and in other regions where the nipa is not readily available, cogon, a kind of grass, was used for roofing and siding instead. These primitive houses could be compared with the with the thatch-roofed huts commonly found in England in the old days, with this important difference, that stones did not enter into the primitive structures in the Philippines.

Though weak and frail looking, bamboo houses can withstand violent typhoons, and the nipa and cogon, if properly put on, are water tight and last 10 years or more. Light material houses are still prevalent in provincial towns and even in the outskirts of the large cities. Of courses the style has changed and been improved upon.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century the use of wooded posts was introduced, but this was not until skilled carpenters from Spain came to the Islands that wooden post squared or dressed or planed. Then adobe stones were used in building. The early types of stone were used in building. The early types of stone structures were exceedingly massive. The churches and convents found throughout the Philippines and the public buildings in Manila and in provincial capitals as well as the important dwelling houses are of heavy masonry. As a rule, when adobe stones are used in building houses they form the wall which constitutes the ground floor usually project over this wall by about 3 feet.

Towards the middle of the nineteenth century a lighter type if construction was developed which was much simpler and cheaper inasmuch as stone walls were much thinner and not so difficult to build. To this day this style of houses, namely with the projecting second floor and windows all around, is still quite common.

The latest type of construction is the reinforced concrete introduced shortly after American occupation. The first building of reinforced concrete built in Manila is the Manila Hotel, a five-story structure. Since then a great number of reinforced concrete building have been put up both in Manila and in the provinces. Clubhouses, schools, dormitories, municipal buildings and provincial capitols, public markets, slaughterhouses, warehouses, residences and even churches are now built of reinforced concrete.

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