NHCP permits the Hospicio de San Jose constructing in Binondo to be demolished

Building of the Hospicio de San Jose – STEPHEN PAMORADA

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) approved the demolition of the old Hospicio de San Jose building on Quintin Paredes Street in Binondo, Manila, as part of the historic building will be preserved.

The Hospicio was an Accessoria-type building, a popular type of apartment structure that emerged during the American era, with commercial stalls on the ground floor and residential units on the second level.

It was completed in 1917 and designed by brothers Juan and Arcadio Arellano.

NHCP chairman Rene Escalante said his agency had allowed the building to be demolished, provided the facade was maintained by its developer, Filinvest Land, Inc.

Preserving the facade or facadeism is the same approach that the cultural agencies have recommended for other Manila landmarks such as the Capitol Theater and the Uy Su Bin building in Binondo and the Life Theater in Quiapo.

However, this approach didn’t go well with heritage advocates, who called it a quick fix that obliterated the building’s importance.

“Understandably, it’s cheaper to do this because it reduces the cost of documenting the interior and even reducing the physical restoration costs,” said a cultural agency official, who asked not to be named.

The official added that with this approach, the “restoration process is a shortcut to make it cheaper for anyone who buys the old building and claims to preserve the heritage”.

Heritage expert Eric Zerrudo of the University of Santo Tomas said Facadism is an approach to heritage preservation that preserves the facade and is complemented by a new structure behind it, taking into account the cultural significance and overlays of the structure such as proportions, volumes and durability.

“As the structure becomes the palimpsest of narratives, the new narrative should respect and complement the old one,” he said. “In the end, a superficial understanding of the approach leaves a weakened facade that ultimately leads to demolition, to a disproportionate or inappropriate building. or an overwhelming reinterpretation that decontextualizes the old facade, ”he added.

In his study, Facadism: When Walls Talk and Lie, Niall Patrick Walsh described the approach as “a tactic for developers to increase profits from built heritage”. – CONTRIBUTION INQ

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