As lead architect of his award-winning studio, One/Zero Design Collective, Arts Serrano is sparking the revitalization of Manila. In the old city, he has been instrumental in refurbishing the iconic 90-year-old First United Building, as well as other unique retail, office and residential spaces for forward-thinking clients.

What drives you at work every day?

I believe architecture should reflect the culture, history, and people it serves. For our projects in Escolta, the goal was to respect and uphold the heritage of the area while bringing in a new design language that our generation could understand. Our idea was to regenerate, not just conserve.

What are some of your favorite buildings in Manila?

At the Muelle del Banco Nacional, you can see the grand Manila Central Post Office across the Pasig River. This is a great view to start your day as the sun will rise from its left, casting a shadow across the river view. This is a prime example of Neoclassical architecture by two of our first pensionados, Tomas Mapua and Juan Arellano.

How are you shaping Manila’s future cityscape?

We’ve always thought of old towns with sentimentality for the past — how can we make new memories from them? We’ll continue questioning and challenging until we inspire others to do the same. We want everyone to realize we all have a chance to have a hand at defining our cities.


We regret that our website does not support your browser. For the best possible experience, please download or switch to other popular web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Thank you!

Best viewed in portrait view