FROM abstract art to eco-fashion and a balangay-inspired building, undergraduate theses from the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) and College of Architecture presented ingenious concepts and fresh perspectives.

Two CFAD graduates produced outstanding projects that reflected their individuality and personal points of view. Advertising Arts major John Patrick Buenaobra presented abstract art through the use of contemporary media.

His thesis, 7 Days of Creation: An Abstract Photo Exhibit, made use of a mixture of swirling hues to showcase various shapes and forms. His artworks narrated the story of creation from the Book of Genesis. Taking key elements from the biblical tale, he created photos that depicted each day.

“I started out working with abstract photography and I later learned how to work with abstract colors. I was also fascinated with liquid abstract photography,” Buenaobra said. “I mixed a couple of colors and water together, snapped a few photos of it, and eventually learned to manipulate it in such a way that these pictures told a story.”

Meanwhile, Raphael Lagdameo, also an Advertising Arts graduate, presented Ecosetter (Eco Fashion Festival), which aims to promote environmental awareness through fashion.

“It wasn’t easy coming up with this concept for my thesis,” Lagdameo said. “I wanted to do something related to fashion, which is something I am really passionate about, and I also wanted to heighten awareness about environment- friendly fashion without sacrificing aesthetics and comfort.”

His theme was evident not only in the clothing but also in the promotional materials. Everything from backstage passes to souvenirs exuded a natural flair; lanyards were patterned with knit and tribal prints, tote bags were made of canvas, and bottle caps were used as pendants for necklaces.

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Jilson Seckler Tiu, Varsitarian photography editor, was included in this year’s cream of the crop for his thesis titled Manila Dragon: A Visual Tour in Culture and Lifestyle of Binondo.

“It showcases the rich culture and heritage that exists in Binondo and its importance in Philippine history,” Tiu said.

Meanwhile, this year’s best theses from the College of Architecture were a Diosdado Macapagal International Airport by Rafael Antonio V. Alzona, a Pfizer Corporate Tower by Mike Jason Z. Barros, Waterfront Waves Manila by Patrick Henry S. Castañeda, a Galleon Trade Hotel and Convention Center by Robby James T. Cortes, and a New Folk Arts Theatre by Gio Franco G. Santaromana.

“The selection panel involved alumni who assessed and rated each project presented during the Arkiweek exhibit of outstanding thesis works,” Barros said.

Among the five outstanding theses, Robby James T. Cortes’s proposal was chosen Thesis of the Year. His project, the Galleon Trade Hotel and Convention Centre, was a mixed-use development in Quezon City.

“For me, identity is very important in architecture, because in this field we don’t just design structures, we also create works of art that will be a legacy for us and also a gift for the future generations to come,” he said. “Urban renewal is one answer for our country’s growth and development. There’s a need for Metropolitan Manila to be sustainable in order for it to compete with neighboring Asian cities’s unprecedented progress.”

The work of Barros aimed to give a solution to the country’s need for affordable medicine. His project not only consisted of an office tower, but also integrated a hospital where people could get affordable health services and medicine.

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Alzona’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport proposed a new ergonomic systemof arrivals and departures, making flying a pack-and-go routine.

“My father was my inspiration in selecting this thesis project since he is an OFW. He drove me to design a premier airport that is dedicated to serve him and fellow OFWs,” he said.

The Waterfront Waves Manila by Castañeda rendered a leisure park and mall that would further raise awareness and appreciation for the country’s waterfronts and natural resources.

Finally, the New Folk Arts Theater by Santaromana presented an innovative horseshoe plan for the stage and a façade that cantilevers out.

More than just impressive aesthetics, the best theses aim to address social needs and problems.

“A good thesis starts from a good problem,” said Cortes and Barros.

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