Saturday, 2 January 2016

Remember the Intercon!

Remember the Intercon!

"After 46 years of loyalty to its Manila and foreign patrons, InterContinental Manila Hotel has closed its doors, with eternal death awaiting the great Leandro V. Locsin's major work in the future cosmopolitan area of Makati. As we have seen the demise of another Locsin work, the late Mandarin Oriental Manila Hotel, we condemn the demolition of these symbols of 1970s Filipino masterpieces done by our very own. When will developers realize that everything is not about money or making profit of a certain piece of land? There are other ways of making profit off the property without harming these works. We do hope that Ayala Land, Inc. scrap their idea and go on with adaptive reuse."

- Arquitectura Manila

It's been last year since one of the iconic structures in a still developing Philippines has to end its contract, and this year, be closed away for good.

Seeing reports in social media sites, of messages giving thanks to its customers, and the really concerned struggling to defend iconic post-war structures, edifices such as Intercon had been served well-known guests, of becoming like any other prop in a show or a movie, all due to its modern appearance made by a well-known Filipino architect, Leandro Locsin.

However, in its closure and eventual demolition, it seems that most developers has disregarded every iconic structure, of being decades old yet part of one's post-war heritage. That few years ago, Mandarin Oriental Manila, also made by Locsin, had been closed and nowadays in its state of being demolished piece-by-piece, with its last report having an accident occurred such as a foreigner suffered by an accident caused by a falling debris.

Such events made most of the concerned worrying about the state of post-war yet iconic Philippine architecture in this so-called modern world. True that Makati and even the entire Metropolitan Manila demands new this and that, so is new edifices enough to keep a district's prestige such as the Philippines's "Little Manhattan", yet Manhattan or the entire New York City also keeps its iconic edifices such as the PanAm building, the Empire State, Chrysler, and others that made New York City "the city that never sleeps."

And as said earlier, with these kinds of reports affecting Philippine architecture, thenmaybe sooner or later there are more iconic buildings that has to be vacated and be demolished afterwards in the name of "modernity". Ironically, these buildings are modern and adaptable, willing to withstand time with all its reinforced concrete. 

Worse, as what Irish Constantinou said through a Facebook post made months ago: 

"Unfortunately old buildings are not important for us. Commercialism comes first before preservation of history. I am sure that they figured it would be economically rewarding to demolish and replace with a new high rise."  

Anyways, the predominance of commercialism or even consumerism made these bullshit happen. Regardless of being designed by a national artist and worth considering as a national heritage site as a post-war International-Style hotel, still the contract has been expired, and the owners of the entire lot (including the building) care not to think of keeping it no matter how prominent or well known it was, and instead favouring that is something new and appealing. And in that same Makati for sure one would remember the old Rizal Theatre, the Monterrey and Gilarmi Apartments, the former head office of San Miguel Corporation, and others, that somehow made that old Makati town became a city as its witnesses. 
Yet sadly, these these are all demolished just for the sake of commercialism. People may have understood why the place be demolished and create a new edifice, but for some, particularly the concerned, would think that such remarkable edifices, whether it was made during the Spanish, American, or Early and Middle age of the Republic, has to be recognised and be left alone supported by retrofitting and adaptive reuse, given its importance in the district's history. For sure one would wonder why most districts within Paris remained as it was in its recognisable pasts same as Berlin, Shanghai, or Peking. 

There may be modern and state of the art edifices, all with its fine features, so is the old regardless of its decade being built knowing how it became part of one's history and memory. 

And like its new counterparts, it has fine features as well, with the willingness to adapt changes. Hope that people ought to understand the value of heritage, and that is more than old houses and churches. 

Anyways, Remember the Intercon! Another Icon soon to be fell under the wrecking ball that ought to be stopped and the building be defended, maintained, and readapted.