Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Save the Ides O' Racca Building


By: Paolo M. Bustamante


There are rumors that the Ides O' Racca Building in Divisoria, Manila is being demolished to give way to another SM establishment. Just last month, we bode goodbye to a century-old house in Lavesarez. Sad to say that the Heritage Conservation Society & the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth lost that battle to salvage the establishment.  However, despite of that previous challenge, our spirits and determination have grown stronger than ever and we are not giving this up without putting up a fight. 



I just want to raise a point that we do not need to demolish our heritage sites to give way to tasteless and culturally insignificant buildings. Just yesterday, someone posted a comment in my blog saying that in San Francisco, USA, there is a century old building that was converted into a parking lot but instead of demolishing the entire building they retained the shell of the building and made use of it to give future generations a glimpse of the past.  



They somehow they applied fascadism to retain essential details of the building.  appreciate what they did for that structure even if I am slightly against fascadism and mainly pro Adaptive Reuse.




Last October, my friend Stephen Pamorada passed by the Ides O' Racca Building. In his surprise, he saw that the building is covered by a black net. (that is a sign that the building is deemed for demolition). He raised another point that before, there is a BDO branch (a bank owe bed by the SM group of companies) at the ground floor of the Ides O' Racca Building. Surprisingly it moved just in front of the building. Stephen also has a friend who works in the government. His friend saw a document that this building is in line for demolition. *gasp*




Due to the call of urgency, last week, I went with Stephen to document the Ides Building. I brought my camera with me and while I was taking pictures, a vendor asked me why I was taking pictures of that old building. I responded by saying, "That building is historical and it is deemed to be demolished." I followed up by asking her, "Do you think this building should be demolished?" She quipped by saying, "Yes! It looks old and dull, that building should be replaced with a new and more modern building." 



My eyes started twitching in annoyance and anger. Yet I responded politely by saying, "Yes that building will be demolished with a much more modern one. I think SM will soon rise in this site and that will surely kill your small business. Good luck with that."



Dr. Isidoro de Santos built the building in 1935, thus the acronym Ides, with intentions of making it into a cold storage plant, being strategically located in Divisoria. When the loan that went for the building's construction could not be paid off, the Philippine National Bank repossessed it and sold it to the O'Racca Company, a Japanese confectionery firm which had its factory on Barraca Street. After World War II, the property was vested as enemy alien property. When the country became republic, it immediately became government property. (Source: Studis in Urban Cultures & Tradition, 2007; Lorelei D.C. de Vianna )

11 comments:

  1. Marami ng nasisirang heritage sites / historical buildings / century old trees ang SM. Tulad nalang nung Benguet Center (L. Locsin) na na-demolish. Tapos yung rin daw Old GSIS Building sa Manila ay gagawin na ring Annex ng SM. Hindi ko alam. Pero sa nakikita ko, parang walang pakialam ang SM sa mga mawawalang istraktura na naging parte na ng ating kasaysayan napinapaltan ng mga hindi naman kagandahan na design ng mga buildings. Pasenya na. Yung ay sa aking pananaw lamang. Sana marami pang tao ang maging bukas ang isip sa pagpapanatili nung mga historical buildings and sites dito sa atin.

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  2. Walang paki ang SM sa mga historical structures/heritages kasi hindi naman pilipino si Henry Sy.Isa syang tsinoy na basta ang mahalaga kumita lang.

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  3. YOU are an OLD SOUL yet you are so YOUNG, I bow to your tenacity, dedication, genteel historical perspective in life, may PEEPS like you increase and BLOG these beautiful landmarks, buildings and HISTORY of our great cities !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Blessings to you and the work you are doing, i love the pictures but am saddened by the plight of these historical buildings. Do we not have a government agency that regulates the destruction of historical sites or at least a group that marks these sites as historical for the UN or something? it is such a waste that these is happening, I have seen centuries old buildings in other countries preserved for the future generations, so why can't it happen here, I hated what they did to the Rizal theater in Makati and how they have forgotten the Metropolitan theater or that fountain in Sta. Mesa ( I heard they moved it but I do not know where it was move, historically it should still be in the same place right). I hope that your work will be seen by the right people so that these can be preserved. More power to you and may you be continually blessed for the work you are doing.

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  5. Bat ganito? hindi pinapahalagahan ng ilang pilipino ang mga bagay na saraling atin at pinapabayaan na macontrol ng mga d pilipino ang sariling atin...gustong gusto ko pa naman makakita ng mga ganitong lugar...

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  6. Kamusta na po yung Ides O'Racca building nagyong 2014? Natuloy ba po yung demolisyon? Sana hindi.......

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  7. I could see that kind of building turned into loft in the US particularly New York City and are rented out for thousands of dollars a month. Sad, it has all the elements of industrial gothic building. Is it still there?

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  8. sayang, angganda. may pagka gothic. pwedeng pag shootingan ng mga vampire themed movies

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  9. Hello Mr. Paolo M. Bustamante. I am an Architecture student of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. We are currently having our thesis on adaptive reuse building and its profitability as oppose to constructing new ones. I just want to ask you if you know who are the present owners of this building? We are interested on using this building as our subject in the research. Perhaps, we can help as well in order to save Ides O' Racca Building. That would be all. Thank you and God bless us!

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