National Artist for Architecture (2014)
José María V. Zaragoza’s place in Philippine architecture history is defined by a significant body of modern edifices that address spiritual and secular requirements. Zaragoza’s name is synonymous to modern ecclesiastical architecture.Â Notwithstanding his affinity to liturgical structures, he greatly excelled in secular works: 36 office buildings, 4 hotels, 2, hospitals, 5 low-cost and middle-income housing projects; and more than 270 residences – all demonstrating his typological versatility and his mastery of modernist architectural vocabulary.
Zaragoza graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 1936, passing the licensure examinations in 1938 to become the 82nd architect of the Philippines. With growing interest in specializing in religious architecture, Zaragoza also studied at International Institute of Liturgical Art (IILA) in Rome in the late 1950s, where he obtained a diploma in liturgical art and architecture. His training in Rome resulted in innovative approaches, setting new standards for the design of mid-century Catholic churches in the Philippines. His prolificacy in designing religious edifices was reflected in his body of work that was predominated by about 45 churches and religious centers, including the Santo Domingo Church, Our Lady of Rosary in Tala, Don Bosco Church, the Convent of the Pink Sisters, the San Beda Convent, Villa San Miguel, Pius XII Center, the Union Church, and the controversial restoration of the Quiapo Church, among others.
Zaragoza is a pillar of modern architecture in the Philippines buttressed by a half-century career that produced ecclesiastical edifices and structures of modernity in the service of God and humanity.
Major Works: Meralco Building (Pasig Cty), Sto. Domingo Church and Convent (Quezon City), Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu City, Villa San Miguel, Mandaluyoung.