City through it's structures-A A +A
Saturday, February 23, 2013
STATISTICS seldom “click” on people as far as a city’s economic growth is concerned. Talk about a tangible proof of progress and development of a city? One would just have to look at its buildings and public spaces. The more avant garde its design is, the more dynamic the cityscape looks.
Seventy-six years since its chartering, Cebu City has gained its bountiful share of old and new buildings. There are those that, with just one glance, one can immediately feel genuine Cebuano spirit.
Today, three Cebuano architects share what they think are the buildings and spaces in Cebu City—which were built or redesigned within the last 76 years—that best define one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities here in the archipelago.
“My choice is not a building at all,” says architect Carlos Pio Zafra. “It’s the newly redesigned Plaza Independencia.”
“Most often we forget about the public realm. We see our city as a cacophony of buildings, either privately owned or public buildings that are managed as if privately owned,” he continues. Zafra, who teaches at the College of Architecture and Fine Arts in the University of San Carlos, was involved in this project with Cebuano architect Arnulfo Wong.
“The public park carries with it an innate likeness to a canvass and the people, the pigments of varying hues forming a beautiful painting of our dreams, joys, sadness, and hopes. Devoid of commercial intentions, Plaza Indepencia has become an open refuge for Cebuanos who are as varied as one can imagine,” he shares.
It’s almost the same case for past national president of the United Architects of the Philippines, Richeto C. Alcordo, FUAP, who can not single out a particular building “that embodies the progress of Cebu.” However, Alcordo says that the major infrastructures and the buildings that accompanied its development have contributed immensely to the accelerated growth of Cebu and its urban centers.
“Among these are bridges from mainland Cebu to Mactan Island, and the terminal and runway facilities that accompanied it resulted in a much more efficient airport system contributing to Cebu as a hub for domestic and international air travel.”
He adds, “There is also resort hotel development along the eastern beaches of Mactan Island brought about the onrush of tourist traffic to Cebu.
The commercial development of the Cebu Business District and SM in the north reclamation area further confirmed the abandonment of the old business center as an urban growth area.
“Of course, it does not mean that business and urban activities can not be revived in these historical centers. The fairly recent (south road properties) certainly ups the ante for an exciting development area within the next 20 years.”
But another Cebuano architect has one building in mind that he feels depicts the Cebuano spirit, which he defines as something characterized “mainly by the different cultural influences of its past is vibrant, alive and festive- although modest.”
“Its want for originality and quest for the avant-garde is primarily observed in the arts particularly in furniture design, visual art and architecture,” explains architect Roy Philip Arriola, “This is evident in the CIFC Tower at the Mabolo area, designed by architect Arsenio Abella more than 15 years ago. The predominantly glass facade held by the accent walls laid out over a diamond plan creates an aesthetic that is almost scary to certain degree but not quite dangerous with its toned down scale and perfect
Architect Arriola reveals that the building was “considered by the owners as truly reflecting the corporate status they wanted to achieve, the building is also highly recognized by the designers peers and those in the know.”
He continues, “It stands gracefully—proud and alive with its unique form, but gentle and modest with its soothing voids and calm solids as a true Cebuano should.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 24, 2013.