INDIGENOUS MATERIALS Arch 23
Danielle Anne H. Mauricio 2005 - 04714
Indigenous Materials - An Introduction
Objectives To define what indigenous materials are and set them apart from acquired materials; To give a brief overview of what indigenous materials are available in the Philippines; To understand the significance of indigenous materials in affecting the environment; and To realize the potential roles of indigenous materials in the architecture/design industries.
Introduction When you think of indigenous materials, what comes to mind? Those used in native Filipino products, like in wooden or rattan furniture and handicrafts, woven abaca or pina cloth, and other handmade or carved toy or trinket one usually finds in souvenir stores, right? You have to wonder sometimes why one can find them mostly only in such tourist shops in Manila or up in the northern cities, or really mostly just in the provinces and not in Ayala’s malls. This is because we have long been citified with technology, and our transport systems have greatly improved since then, so we are now able to ship and manufacture further the materials we don’t naturally have in our locality. We have progressed into cement and steel buildings from what originally had begun as the nipa hut or the stone house of our ancestors, built from whatever material was locally dominant per region.
so indigenous materials vary depending on the geographic features and location and climate condition of a region. is an adjective meaning ‘originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country’.What are indigenous materials? Indigenous. a few of the most popular we know are narra. grass. where abaca and rattan are also greatly used and woven into wicker
. some areas are less endowed than others. The indigenous materials commonly found in our country largely consist of a variety of timbers. therefore. you do not need to use major and improved transport systems. and can be used even in their raw. canes. It is something you do not need to spend or have trouble fetching. in other words. These materials in effect become a large influence on the lifestyle and culture of a region’s people overtime with the skills and crafts handed down through generations. Indigenous materials. which consume energy and other resources. by definition in the Webster’s dictionary. Naturally. are materials that are naturally and locally found in a specific place or area.
What are the indigenous materials found in the Philippines? Being a country rich in rainforests and other natural resources. The ever-famous bamboo is used in both industries as well as in many handicrafts. kamagong and mahogany. untreated forms. Indigenous materials also do not require costly processing. We have a large variety of soft and hardwoods used in the construction and furniture industry. we have an abundant variety and amount of indigenous materials present around us.
How do you know if it is indigenous? Something is indigenous if you can easily find it within your locality. and palms.
the materials we use naturally affect the environment.products. These fibers when spun into threads and woven together create very fine clothing and textiles. with little respect for their potential functionality. From a large variety of plants in our locale we can also resource many different kinds of natural fibers as well. will be exhausted within about the next century. We have grown used to buildings enclosed by concrete and glass that we get fascinated when we enter any place enclosed by traditional bamboo poles or coconut timber.
. Other indigenous materials in the Philippines that are commonly known and used creatively in crafts and decoration are capiz.
Why should we use indigenous materials? Due to the urbanization. than for conventional urban development. Their production and transportation deplete resources and consume energy. And it is on these that we have become increasingly dependent since World War II as natural materials have been supplemented with synthetic chemicals and plastic products. More and more building materials are becoming scarce – not only the raw materials but also the energy needed to produce them – and if present trends continue. pearls. The coconut tree is also a favorite indigenous material for its flexibility and overall usability from the root to the leaves. being an archipelago naturally abundant in beaches and marine resources. today. such as oil and natural gas. and seashells. some of the most common raw materials and energy sources. corals. things made of indigenous materials are fairly considered more for their aesthetic purpose. Lahar and other igneous rocks are vastly being incorporated in construction. “Unfortunately. Even being in the Pacific Ring of Fire has its effect on the availability of volcanic refuse as a resource.
and oven-fired bricks and clay tiles. require a highenergy expenditure on both production and transportation. Energy from fossil fuels is becoming scarce and the amount used in the production ad transportation of materials is high. In contrast to natural materials. and generally coming from local regions Produced and or harvested under good working conditions and fair means
. with the use of materials that are readily available locally and useable even in their raw form or with as little processing needed as possible. such as plastics. if these materials are easily reused or recycled. using low energy in production. synthetic and processed products. they produce little or no pollution and they are reabsorbed into the natural cycles of the environment once their use as building materials is over. is to lean toward measures that are eco-friendly or sustainable. Clay dug from the site of the house and used for bricks or adobe is another example of a material that uses almost no energy except that required for the building work. particles or toxins into the environment Energy efficient. In addition. glass. The best materials therefore are those materials that need little processing and/or are local. steel. Locally grown and reclaimed timber entails only a low energy cost expenditure.
What are the pros or advantages in using indigenous materials? Hereon we can conclude that the natural indigenous materials available in our country are ecological.” (Pearson) The aim. especially those that are recyclable and renewable in the environment. emitting no harmful vapors. coming from diverse natural sources and whose production has low impact on the environment Naturally nonpolluting.Traditional materials like clay and stone still abound. transport. and timber can be replenished by properly managed reforestation. therefore. and use. aluminum. therefore they are elementally • • • • Renewable and abundant.
their time had come and gone .but to learn from them. how it is trimmed and cut.” (Bristles)
. Philippine climate and the use of indigenous materials… “The point was not to rebuild the bahay kubo and bahay na bato .•
Low waste and capable of being reused and recycled (Pearson)
What are the cons or disadvantages in using indigenous materials? • • • • • Durability is good but still not as or failsafe as in processed materials like steel and plastics Is vulnerable to weathering and deterioration due to moisture Lower resistance to impact (compared to processed metals) Craft skills are much slower in processing than engineering and technology Those produced with craft skills in effect are more expensive than factory/machine made alternatives that are lower in buying cost and are more advertised and readily available
How can our indigenous materials find a respected place in the design industry? “Three factors make architecture truly Filipino: Filipino values.” Appreciate…unifying motifs and design principles using actual blueprints and accounts of serendipity…even the hexagonal design idea for the coconut palace came from the coconut itself. What was their essence? What made them Filipino? And how do you build modern structures that meet present-day needs while retaining that essence? “espouse Filipino values. use Filipino motifs…” (Manosa) “…aerial views and topographic plan that shows how structures were “designed and sited to blend with the natural landscape. consider our tropical climate.
for the design of the built environment reflects man's expression of his way of life. our capabilities.“We must believe in ourselves. philosophical. We must believe that in accepting what we are and what we have . and stop imitating alien cultures and architectures. and tambo that would serve to replace denuded forests and will be a positive step in preserving the country’s fragile ecosystem. innovativeness and creativity. 3364 proposes that the government make the scientific propagation. his emotional. rattan. It also proposes that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall initially set aside 10 hectare in appropriate areas for the planting and propagation of bamboo. to its land and to its people.we can finally emerge as equals. religious.both their limitations and potentials . anahaw.” (Manosa)
What has the government done to support the use of indigenous materials? House Bill No. culture and development of indigenous raw materials a priority program and give it the proper administrative and financial support. buri. technological and material values in response to his needs and environmental challenges. ”…the demand in both the local and international market has not been met because there is a lack of an organized public or private sector effort to augment the supply so it can meet the demand…” (Villafuerte)
. “Architecture must be true to itself.
34199 July 11.com/Non-fiction/Designing-Filipino. The Gaia Natural House Book. Proposed Bill on Promoting the Use of Indigenous Materials http://www.REFERENCES Pearson. 2006 Bristles. Designing Filipino. Helen. London. David. Gaia Books Ltd. Luis.asp?i=11451 July 17.ph/news/default. Tukod Foundation.gov.bookstove. 2000 Manosa. A Book Review on Designing Filipino by Francisco Manosa. http://www. 2007 Villafuerte. Francisco. 2005