Baguio Cottages Landscape Renovation - A Continuation of the Charming Pines City

September 21st, 2022
Baguio, Philippines

PLAT STUDIO was commissioned in early 2022 to carry out a privately-owned cottage renovation project in the Philippines. Attracted by the geographical location and natural ecological conditions, we decided to set off for a field survey after reviewing the site's background.

The cottage landscape renovation project is located in Baguio City, Philippines. The knowledge of Baguio before departure came from the most famous summer resort in the Philippines. Baguio is about a six-hour drive north of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and land is the only way to reach Baguio. After visiting in person, we have a specific feeling about Baguio, a charming mountain city surrounded by clouds!

Located in the northern Luzon region of the Philippines, in a mountainous area with an altitude of 1,500 meters. Compared with the scorching hot weather in the Philippines where the annual average temperature exceeds 27 degrees, the annual average temperature in Baguio is lower than 25 degrees. With such pleasant chilly temperatures and refreshing mountain views, Baguio deserves its name as the summer capital.

The history of Baguio's discovery as a summer resort dates back to 1900. When Dean Conant Worcester first visited Baguio surrounded by endless pine forests, various flowers and magnificent mountain springs, he immediately decided "to make Baguio the future summer resort and health resort of the Philippines. In 1904, architect Daniel Burnham began to carry out the urban planning of Baguio. At the same time, Americans began to build roads and develop the city. Baguio city is a typical American style in urban design. The streetscape is wide and human scale and parks are densely covered, which also leaves a legacy for the city.

Baguio is the only city in the Philippines that grows pine trees because of its terrain advantages. The city is sheltered in a large pine forest, so it has the reputation of the city of pine trees. North Luzon Island, where Baguio is located, can see the world's unique tropical pine forest biome. Other low-elevation areas of Luzon Island are covered with rainforest, but pure pine forest can be seen in the mountains at an altitude of 1000-2500 meters. Turpentine oil distilled and extracted from the turpentine, during the Spanish colonial period, the pine's resin was an important commercial income source.

The current site of the project was formerly the Pines Hotel, which was originally converted from a Baguio sanatorium and later rebuilt on a higher level. Standing in Baguio in the 1950s until 1984, the former site of The Pines Hotel is now partially converted into a privately-owned vacation home. In the PLAT cottage renovation project, undering the premise that work with the current layout, we use low-impact strategy to create a natural flow along the existing site. Strengthen the preservation of the pure pine forest, and replace plantings shrubs/tree ferns to improve the urban streetscape.


Baguio Cottages Landscape Renovation project is based on the precious treasury of Baguio's unique local Luzon Tropical Pines Forest to design an ecological cottage achieving a healthy life for all visitors. The landscape design strategy aims at comfort, vibrant and sustainability goals to be matched with recreational, social networking, fitness activities to enhance the cottage into an enriched ecological value.


The ecological design strategy creates a natural flow along the existing site conditions. Preserve the existing pine forest as streetscape canopy, framing the new green shrubs and different textured ground cover stripes along the main terraces and trails to highlight the natural beauty of the forest. Instead of concrete drainages, the design refines dry creek garden with local volcanic breccia rocks to naturalize the appearance of the waterway.


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