If you have a few minutes to dream today, we suggest you head on to YouTube and visit Modern Balai. This architecture channel is chock-full of sleekly-produced videos featuring home design ideas suited to those thinking of building their first house, or those dreaming of a second.
On Instagram, Modern Balai describes itself as reimagining minimalist and vernacular designs “with inspired expressions of 21st century house trends.” It is a pretty accurate summing up of the channel’s aesthetic. The designs give a modern, elevated spin to the bahay kubo concept. The structures are modest in size and purportedly “low cost.”
We were surprised to learn that Modern Balai is just a one-man-show, and that one man is 24-year old Mikko Borja who studied architecture at the Bulacan State University. Despite his youth, Mikko seems deeply considerate of the Filipino lifestyle and aspirations. The designs for his vlog smartly meld an aspirational look with warmth and approachability.
“One of my considerations in designing is cost, its minimalist look,” he says. “The semi-industrial style help to make it more cost-efficient. But of course those estimated costings may vary depending on so many construction aspects.”
Mikko, who is currently doing his apprenticeship, is a great believer in the bahay kubo. “I think the modern bahay kubo will get people's attention with its character, durability and sustainability,” he says, adding that innovative construction materials can only improve and reinforce bamboo’s inherent resilience.
The Bulaqueño says it’s not in his agenda to sell the plans on the site, or offer architectural services via Modern Balai. “My passion for architecture celebrating Minimalist and Neo-Vernacular Style became the foundation of this YouTube channel.” The platform, he adds, made him realize he can inspire people “by creating house designs which can uplift one's dream.”
For more videos, visit Modern Balai on YouTube.