Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Syvel's Department Store



By: Paolo M. Bustamante

When Malls started booming in the 90’s, retail shops and small stores started closing simply because they cannot keep up with the big malls such as SM and Robinsons. I mean let’s be practical, would you rather go shopping in an air-conditioned building wherein everything is there? Or would you rather go shopping in the streets/in an open air space where air-pollution is everywhere.


Before, Escolta was like the Makati of Manila wherein high-class stores and shops are along the streets like the Hermes store in Greenbelt 3. In Manila, we have The Heakocks & the Syvel’s Department Store in Escolta and the Aguinaldo Department Store in Juan Luna Street. The Syvel’s and the Aguinaldo Department Store are still standing but are now closed.


The five-storey  Gonzalo Puyat building also known as the Syvel’s Building was built by National Artist for architecture, Leandro Locsin in late 1960’s. His vision was to build a bahay-na-bato like structure with hints of international style. Now, the Syvel's Building is closed and abandoned.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Madrigal Building



By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Whenever I see the Madrigal Building, it reminds me of a certain senator and her popular but annoyingly catchy campaign jingle. It is probably because of the powerful surname attached to Ms. Jamby Madrigal or the strong hunch that I have about the Madrigal family owning the building. But then, I guess it is pretty much of a given about who owns it … so, making a big deal of it seems quite silly now.


The Madrigals are one of the most prominent and powerful families in Manila… They are enveloped in a heap of news stories, gossip, political rumors and good press stories as well… I guess I’ll just leave it at that. I personally find it dangerous and reckless to be noisily political.

Going back to the ACTUAL feature of this post, the Madrigal Building is a 1950’s building. Hence, it clearly exhibits some 1950’s international style with hints of Art Deco. Its international style is emphasized by the rampant use of sun baffles, which were clearly exhibited by the Madrigal Building –as well as the, Panpisco and the Old Philippine National Bank buildings. The Madrigal Building has a secondary façade. It also has brise-soleil or sun breakers. These sun breakers architecturally refer to an assortment of lasting and stable sun-shading structures. These things range from pattered concrete walls to intricate and sophisticated wing-like mechanisms. The brise-soleil prevents overheating of glass frontages during hot summer days –perfect for Philippine weather. These are also strategically incorporated into the shade to allow the low-angle winter sun to provide passive solar heating.
The Madrigal Building had a lot of thought put into it, unlike my very deceiving introduction to this blog post. It also has available office spaces in Madrigal Building, 286 Escolta, Manila –with the FA ranging from 21 sq. m. (Php 275.00 per sq.m. mo.). You can inquire about the details with these numbers: (02) 840 23 34/36 or (02) 891 55 52.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Commercial Bank & Trust Company Building





By: Paolo M. Bustamante

I am at a loss of words on how to describe the various obstacles that I had to surpass last year. I was very tensed and pushed on the edge with the constant pressure to meet deadlines and to make the most out of uncompromising circumstances. My situation last year stripped me out of my time for my blog. Then, I thought I needed a break –a ticket out of the hassles of reality. I decided to take a trip to Carriedo and immerse myself in everything that I enjoy; everything that is distinctly Manila. From then on, I found a sense of joy that would make my surroundings stop, in a very cheesy and slow-mo fashion kind of way.


After consuming a refreshing beverage (You know I have a thing for fruit-drinks…) I found myself wandering around Escolta. It is very bizarre how my feet just happen to drag me onto the most convoluted places in the metro. It seems as if my feet originally came with a manual that I haven’t had the chance to read, and it so happened that my feet are currently on auto-pilot mode.


Anyway, I stumbled across “The Mothership”… or, something that resembles “The Mothership”. It is The Commercial Bank and Trust Company Building. Personally, I think it looks really awkward… but somehow it works against the intricate background of Escolta. To me, it looks as if a drunken Martian awkwardly crashed a flying saucer onto the messy streets of Manila… but then again, it is too good to be true. All jerking aside, The Commercial Bank and Trust Company Building is a 1960’s type of building –which explains the very gauche mod and futuristic influence that it posses. It is a Zaragoza –and despite of its strangeness, I seem to enjoy it…

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Regina Building


By: Paolo M. Bustamante

Since Christmas is finally over, I now have ample time to continue my Escolta Feature.  One of the buildings that stand out in Escolta is the Regina Building.  The Regina Building emanates elegance in its simplicity.  It ages with grace before the eyes of the Filipino people.  The building, with its white-washed walls and pearl-like accents gives the impression that the entire structure is made out of smooth ivory –especially when the sunlight highlights its façade.



The Regina Building is truly a desert flower that has blossomed in a very complex environment.  It honestly reflects the concept of architectural beauty in the 1930’s.  It is a Beaux-Arts Building, built in 1934 by Andres Luna de San Pedro, the son of the late visual arts grandmaster Juan Luna.  It is also one of the few buildings that survived the horrors of World War II.  The Building was sold to the De Leon family by the Roxases, thereafter.



The stark white color of the Regina Building continually makes it a muse among the buildings that are scattered around Escolta –and this building is surely going to stand tall for a long time.