With the current city government poised to give monetary incentive for those who want to tear down these buildings so they can make room for a new, taller buildings, one can only hope the same support is extended towards current building owners who choose to maintain their heritage buildings.
The building also recently got wired to be fiber optic ready, thanks to the building owners’ drive in keeping it up-to-date.
A collaboration between the studio’s core team and the 2019 batch of interns, the primary goal of the exercise is to establish a jump-off point for conversations to happen in ascertaining the proper way to move forward with Escolta’s current context in an urban design sense.
In establishing guidelines for building owners to follow, the city can then incentivize private stakeholder cooperation to complement a neighborhood development plan. This can be a model that would encourage close cooperation between government and private entities in the possible regeneration of heritage districts.
“We feel that it would be a disservice if we do not include street vendors in the conversation. They are part of the community and they should be included in any and all plans for street development, lalo in the context of Manila,” he says.
“By putting up platforms like this where Filipino identity can be reintroduced, that’s where we start identifying that this is more important than how many floor planes you can sell. As stakeholders in the Escolta community, we understand that on one end you’ll be shortchanged because property owners will demote their buildings from high-rise to low-rise density. But on the other hand, do we want to be a city that demolishes who we are for the sake of “modernity”? No amount of floor plates can replace a building that represents our identity and we feel that it is very much worth it.”