Girish Mahajan (Editor)

José María Zaragoza

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Full Name
José María V. Zaragoza

December 6, 1912 (age 81) (

Santo Domingo ChurchMeralco BuildingCasino Español de Manila (1951 building)

Quiapo Church (1968 expansion)

Ramon Santos, Juan Nakpil, Leandro Locsin, Ildefonso P Santos Jr, Pablo Antonio

November 26, 1994 (aged 81) Manila, Philippines

José María V. Zaragoza (December 6, 1912-1994) was a Filipino architect.


Jose Maria Zaragoza: A Documentary


José María Zaragoza historyofarchitectureweeblycomuploads41864

Zaragoza took up BS Architecture at the University of Santo Tomas where he graduated in 1936. He placed 7th in the licensure exams in the 1938.

José María Zaragoza NationalArtistJose Maria Zaragoza Inquirer lifestyle

He also had a diploma in liturgical art and architecture from the Rome-based International Institute of Liturgical Art. At the Hilversun Technical Research Center in the Netherlands, he obtained a diploma in comprehensive planning.


José María Zaragoza Jos Maria Zaragoza Master builder Inquirer lifestyle

During the earlier years of his career, Zaragoza had meetings with American architect Frank Lloyd Wright culminating with a visit to Wright' atelier in Arizona in the United States in 1956. However, unlike his contemporaries, Zaragoza looked into European architecture for inspiration instead of drawing from American architecture.

Religious buildings

José María Zaragoza Jos Maria Zaragoza Master builder Inquirer lifestyle

Zaragoza was involved in designing several religious buildings such as The Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Tala, Caloocan completed in 1950; the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City and the Villa San Miguel in Mandaluyong both which was finished in 1954; the Pius XII Center in Manila completed in 1958, and the expansion of the Quiapo Church completed in 1984, a project met with some controversy.

José María Zaragoza SKEDsearch

He was invited by Brazilian architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa to be one of the guest architects in designing Brasília, which was planned to be the new capital city of Brazil.


Zaragoza derived traditional forms from Spanish colonial architecture and combined it with simple, unornamented designs of the International style. This design was evident in the arcades of the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City.

His style had an impact of designs of houses. The visual framework of the "Spanish style" architecture which was favored in residences from the 1950s to the 1960s was derived from his designs. The "Spanish style" is not widely used in Spain but the name was an adopted term in Philippine residential architecture. Among Zaragoza's works this style is most evident in his design of the 1951 building of the Casino Español de Manila.

Following his engagements in Brazil, the influence of Brazilian architecture became apparent in his subsequent projects. This is notably reflected in the design of the Meralco Center in Ortigas and the Philbank Building in the Port Area, Manila, both of which were completed in 1965. Furthermore, the Commercial and Bank Trust Company Building, finalized in 1969 and located in Escolta, Manila, showcases a subtle integration of flowing Latino lines in its design.

Religious involvements

Zaragoza became an ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to the Philippines. He was also conferred the Gentiluomo di Sua Santita (Lay Member of the Papal Household) by Pope John Paul II for his contributions to the Catholic Church, allowing him to serve as a lay attendant of the Pope in the Vatican City.


He died in 1994 at the age of 81 in Manila, Philippines.


José María Zaragoza Wikipedia