FROM holography to fashion and bamboo-based technology advancement, this year’s best theses from the College of Architecture, College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD), and the Graduate School featured creative media and innovative concepts.

Among the 11 students who were recognized by the College of Architecture, Christian Salandanan and Jym Manuel also placed first and second, respectively, in the 1st National Architectural Thesis Competition last April 12.

Salandanan’s “Casa Kawayan: A Research and Development Complex” was named Thesis of the Year (see photo below, courtersy of Salandanan).

Wanting to create a breakthrough in architecture, Salandanan’s work aims to popularize the use of bamboo as a construction material and to “collate the segregated functions for the research and development of bamboo-based technology into a central facility for the research and development of the said forest product in various fields.”

Salandanan said a lot of people doubted the feasibility of his thesis topic. “[The use of bamboo is] an unconventional way of construction and not their typical thesis topic,” he said. “Bamboo is not just a topic for me, though; it’s something that I really love and I’m really passionate about.”

Meanwhile, Manuel, who graduated magna cum laude, proposed “The New Clark International Airport Terminal 1.”

His thesis aims to improve the substandard situation of the airport “by providing mainly spatial and aesthetical solutions in terms of its architecture as the main foci.”

“My work addresses the very basic quality of the Filipino culture of traveling that everyone knows yet unfortunately takes for granted,” he said. “My thesis aims to create an architecture that primarily evokes the emotions and senses in terms of culture and functional assessment of a given system.”

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Firsthand experience inspired Manuel to design a better version of the international airport. Every year, Manuel picks up and brings his father, who works abroad, at the airport.

“I chose to work on that for my thesis because I always experience how frayed, disorganized, and saturated our airports are,” Manuel said.

Creativity in many forms

Concentrating on advancement in the fashion industry, Kristy Ann Molina, Michelle Edu and Lady Bernabe were among the 12 Advertising Arts majors who bagged CFAD’s Best Thesis Award.

Vicente Gonzales, Wilmark Jalandoni, Darwin Bague, Ayyssa Acedillo, Aimyanne Calilung, Joanna Santos, Alea Marie Ramirez, Jann Pascua, and Pao Kamikawa, who all focused on various art forms, completed the roster of awardees.

Molina put her own spin on bridal wear for her thesis that focused on fashion design and merchandising. Titled “Molina: Pick and Match Bridal Wear,” the collection offers versatile and convertible bridal gowns.

“What I'm trying to portray is a wedding dress that is ready-to-wear or off the rack where you get to pick and match garments,” Molina said. “Match your favorite neckline to a glamorous skirt. It's all up to the bride's preference.”

“I'm offering convenience for the market to save an ample amount of time, to make the Filipino adapt to changes and opt for a ready-to-wear bridal wear.”

Meanwhile, for Interior Design graduate Juan Carlos Manalo, his major deals with more than mere aesthetics.

For his winning study titled “Creating an Introspective Atmosphere Through the Use of Sustainable Design in the Interior Design of a Retreat House,” Manalo tried to create an atmosphere for reflection by designing a retreat house.

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“I am not just designing a space for man,” he said. “I am designing a space for man and his God.”

Nicole Anne Dörig, a Painting graduate, was the only one from her major who received the award for her “Somatology of the Filipina Nude: A Quintessential Portrayal of Various Philippine Ethnic Tribes in Realism.”

“The gist of my study is that there is no standard Filipina look,” Dorig said. “I wanted to paint a quintessential prototype of each Philippine tribe."

Due to the lack of funds, the study’s scope was limited to three tribes, Mangyan tribe of Mindoro, Iloilo’s Ati tribe and the T’boli tribe of South Cotabato.

Dörig used oil as her medium and acrylic glass for support to carry out holography. She discussed her reference image into four parts and painted each part in a separate glass sheet.

“Painting on glass using oil paint is a very rare art style here in the Philippines,” she said. “Very few artists use glass as a support mainly because it’s not very suitable for painting. As an artist, I have to offer something new to the art scene so I used two media that seemed impossible to work together.”

New award

The Graduate School opted for a different approach this year: instead of having a panel of judges decide which thesis was defended best, it awarded the Best Published Paper.

Dr. Gregorio Alejandro, director of the Office for Graduate Research, said he finds it rather “unjust and difficult” to recognize a work as the best since they offer different programs in the Graduate School.

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Ivan Lawag, an M.S. Chemistry graduate, presented a thesis that “focused mainly on diabetes, Phytochemistry and natural product research.” Phytochemistry is a branch of chemistry concerned with plants and plant products.

Lawag did a part of his research in Pakistan and Bangladesh as a fellow of Asian Network of Antidiabetic Plants. It took him almost four years to conduct the experimentation and data analysis parts of his research.

To come up with a defendable research output, Lawag had to isolate and elucidate the structure of at least two compounds.

“I did the isolation part three times, once in Pakistan and twice in the Philippines. It was a painstaking moment for me and I had almost given up hope if not for the encouragement and the belief of my adviser and for the gentle hands of God who is guiding me along the way,” he said.

Lawag has been working at the Chemistry Department of Adamson University since 2012 and is planning to take a doctoral degree in Chemistry in the future.

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