This biographical article is written like a résumé. (September 2009)
Leandro V. Locsin
|Died||November 15, 1994 (aged 66)|
|Alma mater||University of Santo Tomas|
National Artist of the Philippines
|Buildings||Church of the Holy Sacrifice, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippine International Convention Center, Istana Nurul Iman, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish|
Leandro V. Locsin (August 15, 1928 - November 15, 1994) was a Filipino architect, artist, and interior designer known for his use of concrete, floating volume and simplistic design in his various projects. An avid collector, he was fond of modern painting and Chinese ceramics. He was proclaimed a National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture in 1990 by the late President Corazon C. Aquino.
He was born Leandro Valencia Locsin on August 15, 1928, in Silay, Negros Occidental, a grandson of the first governor of the province. He completed his elementary education De La Salle College in Manila before returning to Negros due to the Second World War. He then returned to Manila to finish his secondary education in La Salle and proceeded in taking up Pre-Law before shifting to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Music at the University of Santo Tomas. Although he was a talented pianist, he later shifted again to Architecture, just a year before graduating. He married Cecilia Yulo, and one of their two children is also an architect.
An art lover, he frequented the Philippine Art Gallery, where he met the curator, Fernando Zóbel de Ayala y Montojo. The latter recommended Locsin to the Ossorio family that was planning to build a chapel in Negros. When Frederic Ossorio left for the United States, the plans for the chapel were canceled.
However, in 1955, Fr. John Delaney, S.J., then Catholic Chaplain at the University of the Philippines - Diliman, commissioned Locsin to design a chapel that is open and can easily accommodate 1,000 people. The Church of the Holy Sacrifice is the first round chapel in the Philippines to have an altar in the middle, and the first to have a thin shell concrete dome. The floor of the church was designed by Arturo Luz, the stations of the cross by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok, and the cross by Napoleon Abueva, all of whom are now National Artists. Alfredo L. Juinio served as the building's structural engineer. Today, the church is recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum, respectively.
On his visit to the United States, he met some of his influences, Paul Rudolph and Eero Saarinen. It was then he realized to use concrete, which was relatively cheap in the Philippines and easy to form, for his buildings. In 1969, he completed what was to be his most recognizable work, the Theater of Performing Arts (Now the Tanghalang Pambansa) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The marble façade of the building is cantilevered 12 meters from the terrace by huge arching columns at the sides of the building, giving it the impression of being afloat. A large lagoon in front of the theatre mirrors the building during daytime, while fountains are illuminated by underwater lights at nighttime. The building houses four theaters, a museum of ethnographic art and other temporary exhibits, galleries, and a library on Philippine art and culture.
In 1974, Locsin designed the Folk Arts Theater, which is one of the largest single-span buildings in the Philippines with a span of 60 meters. It was completed in only seventy-seven days, in time for the Miss Universe Pageant. Locsin was also commissioned to build the Philippine International Convention Center, the country's premiere international conference building and now the seat of the Vice Presidency.
After the Federico Ilustre-designed original terminal of Manila International Airport was destroyed by a fire in 1962, the Philippine government chose Locsin for the rehabilitation design. Serving as an international terminal for ten years, it later became a domestic terminal upon the opening of what is now the present-day Terminal 1, which was also designed by Locsin. A second fire later damaged the rehabilitated domestic terminal in 1985 and the site is currently occupied by the present-day Terminal 2.
He was also commissioned in 1974 to design the Ayala Museum to house the Ayala art collection. It was known for the juxtaposition of huge blocks to facilitate the interior of the exhibition. Locsin was a close friend of the Ayalas. Before taking the board examination, he took his apprenticeship at Ayala and Company (Now the Ayala Corporation) and was even asked to design the first building in Ayala Avenue, and several of their residences. When the collection of the Ayala Museum was moved to its current location, the original was demolished with Locsin's permission. The current building was dedicated in 2004, and was designed by his firm, L.V. Locsin and Partners, led by his son Leandro Y. Locsin, Jr.
Locsin also designed some of the buildings at the UP Los Baños campus. The Dioscoro Umali Hall, the main auditorium, is clearly an example of his distinct architecture, with its large canopy that makes it resemble the main theatre of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Most of his work is concentrated on the Freedom Park, with the Student Union Building which was once damaged by a fire, the Carillon, the Continuing Education Center and the auditorium. He also designed the SEARCA Residences, and several structures at the National Arts Center (housing the Philippine High School for the Arts) at Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna.
Most of Locsin's work has been within the country, but in 1970, he designed the Philippine Pavilion of the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. His largest single work is the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei. In 1992, he received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize from Fukuoka.
Locsin's last work was also a church in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Locsin died early morning on November 15, 1994, at the Makati Medical Center in Makati after suffering from stroke ten days earlier. The campus of De La Salle-Canlubang, built in 2003 on a land donated by his family, was named after him.
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Sets for Theatrical Production
Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Building (Tanghalang Pambansa)
The CCP Tanghalang Pambansa Building was completed in 1969.
Student Union Building at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños.
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.