Living on high-A A +A
Saturday, September 18, 2010
WHEN the terrorist attacks on the iconic World Trade Center (WTC) twin towers in New York happened, the world was plunged into a rubble of fear and concern. Seeing the seemingly mighty towers crumble into the ground, people—especially those living or working in skyscrapers—felt staying in high places can be a hair-raising experience.
Nine years after the Sept. 11 incident (also known as 9/11), how have people coped? I can remember the rounds of discussions among colleagues in the profession where they light-heartedly shared their mostly outrageous ideas on making our buildings “terrorism-proof,” perhaps making future towers flexible and able to dodge airplanes about to crash on them.
Thinking about 9/11, living and working in such “heights” can be a playing field for paranoia. But people today have learned to get over that dark page in world history and many have lived lives on a natural high.
Architect Vincent Ace Dueñas, who passed the architecture board exams just last June, recounts his apprenticeship years when he was part of the construction of Cebu’s tallest building, the Crown Regency Tower, along Osmeña Blvd. He now works in the same building. How does the high altitude affect his work environment?
“When we went for a project inspection to check out the condo units without its windows and railings installed, having a peek below really gave me a scare. I felt ashamed seeing some workmen walking on a ledge as if they were just having a great time on the narrow platform. As long as I don’t have to go to the edges of the building without harness installed, working on high altitude doesn’t really affect my working environment,” he narrates.
Ace admits that the view of the South Road Properties—with the sea in its background as well as the mountains on the other side—makes him feel fortunate to have worked in such a building. He says “watching the hustle and bustle below” reminds him of every man’s struggle for the success, one that can be achieved when he aims high.
On the other hand, Manila-based TV host, Gino dela Pena, actually lives several levels above the ground. He has a condo unit at the 41st floor of One McKinley Place in Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. One may ask if it affects the environment of his ultimate private space.
“Well, it does in a good way and a bad way. When it gets really hot, it is really hot, but when it’s also cold, it’s really cold! It barely gets warm or comes to a neutral temperature,” reveals the young celebrity.
Juggling time between TV shows and event appearances among others, Gino (he hosts the active lifestyle show X-Life on QTV) finds refuge in his pad for those times when he needs to unwind. He says that the view from his pad is “overwhelming” as he gets to see the cities of Makati, Manila and Pasig and he takes time (while sitting in the balcony) to appreciate them. But he considers the nighttime view of The Fort and Pasig City as most breathtaking, when the urban lights glow along with the stars.
As the years went by, people learned to live amid the lurking danger. For them, their living in constant fear only injects excitement in the terrorist’s rotten veins. Now, high-rise buildings continue to reach for the sky in various forms and designs that make them important landmarks of a place. And more and more people have gone up these buildings to live, work and enjoy life in these wonderful works of architecture.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 19, 2010.