Historical Architecture In Manila

The Living Room in North Syquia Apartments


For decades, North Syquia Apartments has been home to many artists, photographers, writers, and the like. It is a hub of artistic Manila. The price of the real estate may not rank up there with the likes of Forbes or Ayala Alabang, but there is actually a waiting list for people who want to live in the building. This is because the residents of North Syquia are a somewhat close-knit community, and part of the value of the property lies in the "neighbor" factor. So before one can reside in North Syquia, one must apply and be approved by all the current residents in the building.

Because the current owners of the place, the Syquia family, bought the property from someone else, the original architectural plans are lost and the architect is unknown. However, the modern style of the building leads one to guess that it was designed by the Americans, perhaps simply as another civic building.


The architecture is actually very clean and modern, but the artistic vibe of the place makes it seem like it's special and vintage. Large windows, unusual doors, simple moldings. The rich, creative historical energy is palpable in the building.


The proportional composition and simple ornamentation allow the building to look good in both colored and black-and-white photographs, as shown here. Most of the lines are rectilinear but are softened with some rounded corners and gentle curves in the right places. Antique wooden flooring and mostly wooden furniture complement the historical value of the place. The Living Room is very clean and well-lighted; the building itself is a little dim on the inside but this makes the light coming from the staircase windows all the more dramatic.

An architectural feature that I really enjoyed looking at was the door. The doors of all the units are black, on the large side, decorated with vertical white lines and lozenges. They look a little strange, but somehow appealing. I think these doors are influenced by modern style and by Art Deco.


Many thanks to Carlos Celdran, owner of The Living Room, for allowing me to come over and take photos of his place.

Author's Note:
I created this website back in 2007 for a school project when I was studying Interior Design in UP Diliman. It was supposed to be a temporary website, but I kinda just forgot about it and left it up. Anyway, checking my stats recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see that these pages are still getting visits regularly! Who are you visitors? Students of design? Lovers of pretty old buildings?
Just remember I'm no authority on historical architecture, but I do hope I've somehow helped you in your research, and I hope I've somehow enhanced your appreciation of these fine structures. If you are interested in a super awesome informative entertaining tour of old Manila, please check out Carlos Celdran!
-- Feanne, a Filipino artist.
March 2012