How can we ever be so interested in visiting the architecture of other countries and not our own? Is it just the lack of monumental architecture in our own turf – no great wall, no Borubudur, no pyramids? Despite this, there is a richness out there that we are only beginning to discover.
Arch. Maria Cristina Turalba, associate professor at the College of Architecture of the University of the Philippines and head of the Sentro ng Arkitekturang Filipino of the UAP, and a team of UAP members combed the entire archipelago and documented 1,500 structures. The National Museum declared 26 Spanish colonial churches as national treasures. The San Beda Chapel, the FEU campus, the UST campus, private homes in Taal in Batangas, Malolos, Malabon, and San Miguel in Bulacan were recently opened to the public. Only now have we noticed the turn of the century fire stations in Manila. And only now have we started enjoying Luneta, Escolta and the Intramuros Walls.
What’s the deep value underneath the childlike joy that we have when we visit these places? According to our very own Arch. Toti Villalon, these structures are markers, reminding us of our national identity, despite the ravages of time, the natural calamities and the onslaught of globalization. Architecture forms part of the “heritage picture” reminding Filipinos in the present and most especially in the future.
Filipino Architects have a shared responsibility with the whole Filipino people in preserving these markers. We need to work with other interested parties to come up with workable and lasting solutions. This is through continuous public awareness, enactment of laws and finding a profitable result to preservation such as tourism and adaptive reuse. We need to work together to overtake the pace of destruction and to preserve what is left. There is an urgency to this matter, according to Arch. Turalba, around 35 percent of the structures they have documented have already been cannibalized, defaced or demolished.
Interested? Join us in our next GMM at the Shanghai Bistro at the Second Floor of the Paseo Center, Sedeno cor. Paseo de Roxas on Sept. 27, 2007 6:30 pm.
Architects Turalba and Villalon will be there to share their insights.