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This Ancestral Home Was Restored To Its 1920s Glory In A Brand New Location

Called Casa Floria, the home bagged Architect Gerard Lico top honors in the adaptive reuse category at the A-Z International Architecture and Design Awards ’22


Moving homes is common for many, but not when it’s an actual house that you’re bringing to another location. For this 1920s ancestral home, however, it found the need for a brand new space, so to speak—all while retaining its early 20th century American colonial era bahay na bato at kahoy structure as well as the memories of its homeowners.


Architect Gerard Lico, who spearheaded this project, presented how hybrid conservation efforts can possibly make this feat possible. Thus, Casa Floria was reborn a few blocks away from its original foundation. The project also bagged top honors at the A-Z International Architecture and Design Awards ‘22 by UNI for the Adaptive Reuse category, proof that modern technology can meet halfway with the past to honor its almost century-long lifespan and counting.


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GIF animation showing the old and the new Casa Floria | GIF Photos Courtesy of Architect Gerard Lico


The San Juan property had already undergone a lot of changes throughout the years—the second floor balcony was turned into an additional room, storage spaces were added in available areas, and parts of the living and dining areas were turned into rooms for the elderly residents, to name a few. The home also showed signs of age, thus the goal of transferring the edifice to its new lot while making the house weatherproof and incorporating additional spaces to meet the current needs of the residents.


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Casa Floria exteriors in its new San Juan location | Courtesy of Architect Gerard Lico
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“As an active private residence, it was necessary to strike a balance between the tastes, needs, and lifestyle of the present occupants while retaining the cultural significance of the house,” Arch. Lico tells Metro.Style. “The conservation approach aims to preserve the intangible aspect—the house as a home, and a social/community gathering space—and translate this into tangible architecture through reconstruction and reassembly in the new site. The re-use of components served as a tangible and material link to the past and preserved the memory of the original residence.”


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Casa Floria's anteroom post-relocation and restoration. | Courtesy of Architect Gerard Lico


He adds, “As a design technique, the delicate balancing act between conservation and addressing contemporary needs should be a major consideration when undertaking a project like this. We should learn to embrace the notion of perpetual renewal as an integral part of conservation. In terms of use, conserving structures should be able to adapt a building to its contemporary context, so that it can be in constant use. Ultimately, the main goal of conservation is keeping a building alive—a heritage structure remains alive if people keep using it.”


Going around the house, much of the original wood elements, doors and windows, tiles, and metal grillwork were reused. The completed structure featured its original social spaces in its 1924 configuration as well as the principal façade and driveway façade were conserved. Before the lady of the house passed away, it was said that she was able to witness the home return to its first look—a loving memory that she’s able to cherish.


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Meanwhile, what once was a two-storey building birthed a couple of new floors—a basement and a third floor. “The third floor was set back far from the façade to minimize its visual impact from the garden and street,” the designer explains. “The basement, meanwhile, was concealed and practically invisible from the exterior. It was also necessary to elongate the structure by about one bay—to minimize the visual impact of this, the rear façade was retained, but pushed back. A new extension was inserted between the front and rear facades, effectively “stretching” the house from the middle.”


Newly-constructed bedrooms are also additions to the home, attached with contemporary toilets and bathrooms. The architect also incorporated new mechanical cooling systems, security systems, a fully-equipped main and auxiliary kitchen, an auditorium, and a gallery space to the dwelling. 


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Casa Floria Master Bedroom | Courtesy of Architect Gerard Lico


Further amping up its modernity merged with the past, a new but separate structure was built adjacent to the main house to house the carport, laundry area, gym, and lanai. “This structure was built of reinforced concrete and steel structural members, but generally conforms to the aesthetics of the main house as an auxiliary structure. The use of this side of the house as a carport conforms to evidence presented in archival photographs, showing the carport on the right side of the house,” Architect Lico shares.


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Archival photo of Casa Floria showing carport located at the side of the home. | Courtesy of Architect Gerard Lico


Ultimately, Casa Floria shows us that heritage buildings such as this can still thrive in the new era, without losing its years of experience and character. “It shows that these buildings are not mere relics of the past for us to look at and consume from an antiquarian perspective, but can be living, breathing places that grow with us,” Architect Lico ends.

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