Leandro V. Locsin (August 15, 1928 - November 15, 1994) was a Filipino architect, artist, and interior designer, known for his use of concrete, floating volume and simplistic design in his various projects. An avid collector, he was fond of modern painting and Chinese ceramics. He was proclaimed a National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture in 1990 by President Corazon C. Aquino.
Leandro V. Locsin was born on Aug 15, 1928 in Silay City, Negros Occidental, a grandson of the first governor of the province. He later studied at the De La Salle Brothers in 1935 before returning to Negros due to the Second World War. He returned to Manila to study Pre-Law, before shifting to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Music at the University of Santo Tomas. Although he was a talented pianist, he later shifted again to Architecture, just a year before graduating. He was married to Cecilia Yulo, to which he had two children, one of whom is also an architect.
An art lover, he frequented the Philippine Art Gallery, where he met the curator, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, who recommended Locsin to the Ossorio family, who was planning to build a chapel in Negros. Unfortunately, when Frederic Ossorio left for the United States, the plans for the chapel were canceled. However, in 1955, then University of the Philippines, Diliman Catholic Chaplain, Fr. John Delaney, S.J. commissioned Locsin to design a chapel that is open and can easily accommodate 1,000 people. The Church of the Holy Sacrifice is the first round chapel in the Philippines with the altar in the middle, and the first to have a thin shell concrete dome. The floor of the church was designed by Arturo Luz, the stations of the cross by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok, and the cross by Napoleon Abueva, all of whom are now National Artists. Alfredo L. Juinio served as the building's structural engineer. Today, the church is recognized as a National Historical Landmark and a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum respectively.
In his visit to the United States, he met some of his influences, Paul Rudolph and Eero Saarinen. It was then he realized to use concrete, which was relatively cheap in the Philippines and easy to form, for his buildings. In 1969, he completed what is to be his most recognizable work, the Theater of Performing Arts (Now the Tanghalang Pambansa) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The marble façade of the building is cantilevered 12 meters from the terrace by huge arching columns at the sides of the building, giving it the impression of floating. A large lagoon in front of the theatre mirrors the building during daylight, while fountains are illuminated by underwater lights by nighttime. The building houses four theaters, a museum of ethnographic and other temporary exhibits, galleries, and a library on Philippine art and culture. In 1974, Locsin designed the Folk Arts Theater, which is one of the largest single span buildings in the Philippines with a span of 60 meters. It was completed in only seventy-seven days, in time for the Miss Universe Pageant. Locsin was also commissioned to build the Philippine International Convention Center, the country's premiere international conference building and the seat of the Vice Presidency.
In 1974, he was commissioned to design the Ayala Museum, which housed the Ayala's art collection. It was known for the juxtaposition of huge blocks to facilitate the interior of the exhibition. Locsin was a close friend of the Ayalas. Before taking the board examination, he took his apprenticeship at Ayala and Company (Now the Ayala Corporation) and was even asked to design the first building in Ayala Avenue, and several of their residences. When the collection of the Ayala Museum was moved to its current location, the original was demolished, with Locsin's permission. The current building was dedicated in 2004, and was designed by the L. V. Locsin and Partners, led by Leandro Y. Locsin, Jr. Most of Locsin's work has been inside the country, but in 1970, he designed the Philippine Pavilion of the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. His largest single work is the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei. It is the largest residential palace in the world and the largest single family residence ever built. Locsin also designed some of the buildings at the UP Los Baños campus. The Dioscoro Umali Hall, the main auditorium, is clearly an example of his distinct architecture, with its large canopy that make it resemble the main theatre of the CCP. Most of his work is concentrated on the Freedom Park, with the Student Union Building, once damaged by a fire, the Carillon, the Continuing Education Center and the auditorium. He also designed UPLB's Main Library, SEARCA Residences, and several structures at the National Arts Center (housing the Philippine High School for the Arts) situated at Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna. In 1992, he received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize from Fukuoka City.
Locsin's last work, ironically, was also a church in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Leandro V. Locsin died on Nov 15, 1994 in Makati City. The campus of De La Salle-Canlubang, built in 2003 on a land donated by his family, was named after him.Buildings