A study on the construction system of the 1730 Jesuit House in Cebu, Philippines

Ulila, Vangie Cheryl C.
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Bahay na Bato or "House of Stone" is a hybrid vernacular architecture in the Philippines that started during the Spanish regime and sixteenth-century Chinese migration. It has been a well-studied subject but mostly focused on the architectural features and spatial functions of the domestic architecture. The 1730 Jesuit House presents a rare typology of the Bahay na Bato that sparked interest among scholars. The plan for its restoration became an opportunity to conduct different studies about the ancestral house. Thus, the research supplements the existing body of knowledge and investigates the construction system of the house that provides a wealth of information to the understanding of vernacular architecture in the Philippines. The research focuses on three areas: history, typology, and tectonic. The History chapter attempts to determine when the house was built and who the first owner was. The Typology section defines the significance of the typology in the evolution of vernacular architecture in the country. Lastly, the Tectonic chapter identifies the influences of the construction system that led to the hybridity of the Bahay na Bato. The study employs historical research, site investigation, interviews, and comparative analysis of the construction system in the Philippines, China, and Spain. The results of this study will hopefully help the on-going restoration work and future designation of the Jesuit House as a national cultural heritage of the Philippines. In the bigger picture, the research attempts to provide a deeper understanding of vernacular architecture in the country, which will bring more awareness, appreciation, and protection for all the ancestral houses in the Philippines.