Golden Building-A A +A
Saturday, September 14, 2013
THE side ramps facing the soccer field were one of the many memorable nooks for students. It was where they traversed (most of the time, huffing and puffing to the next class or to beat a deadline for a design project) towards the classrooms and drafting rooms at the fourth floor, then the home of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts.
Almost literally it was a nest for many of its engineering and most especially the architecture graduates. Students of architecture in the first few years (and then later joined by fine arts students in the following years) until 2004 regarded the topmost level of this floor as their second home.
The college area at the topmost level of what was then popularly called as the “Engineering Building” of the University of San Carlos Technological Center (USCTC) was dominated by passively cooled drafting rooms. The three lower floors contained the spaces for the engineering departments and the university’s administrative offices along its wide hallways. Yes, students listened to lectures and answered exams usually sans the air-conditioning units.
Now tagged as the Lawrence Bunzel Building, this structure remains the frontespiece of the USCTC in Talamban, even with the sprouting of more buildings in this expansive area near the mountains (bukid). The person (Lawrence Bunzel) who lends his name to this building was instrumental in the acquisition of the lot where the building now stands. It was said that the priest’s inheritance was used to purchase the property.
This year, the Bunzel Building celebrates its 50th year as an important component of USCTC. Groundbreaking for the construction of this building was done in 1963 and then inaugurated three years after.
Being a training ground for future engineers and architects during most of its existence, the building was designed no less by the most well-known design and construction professionals, architects Santos Alfon (who was then-chairperson of the Architecture Department under the College of Engineering) and Cristobal Espina worked with engineer Jose Rodriguez, to design and construct it.
Today the Bunzel Building is pretty much intact. Of course, there were some changes, mostly in the interior. Rooms were re-partitioned to accommodate more spaces for the classrooms and other facilities of the various engineering departments. With the completion of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts building in 2005 behind the St. Arnold and Joseph Church inside the Talamban campus, the fourth floor drafting rooms were converted into classrooms and laboratories, although the Architecture Computer Center, where engineering graphics subjects are taught, has remained.
But even with the minor interior facelifts and repainting of the exterior walls, the Bunzel’s most memorable features are still there: The welcoming entrance, the lofty lobby, the refreshing courtyards and the expansive corridors.
These are aspects that most “die-hard” TC alumni would clearly relate with when it comes to their alma mater.
The architecture of the building is a characterization of what TC life, or what many then say “Taga-Bukid” (from the mountains), which is light, airy and relaxing. These qualities are just perfect to counter the hectic university life.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2013.