While Makati is known for its modernist all-glass skyscrapers, this once-grassland turned financial center also houses some of the country’s oldest skyscrapers. Grabriel Formoso is just one of the many architects who spearheaded the design of the most recognizable structures that you just brush aside on your way to work every day.
Born on April 9, 1915, Gabriel P. Formoso finished high school at Ateneo de Manila in 1933 and obtained his degree in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 1937.
He became widely regarded as one of the country’s most successful architects and went on to design some of the country’s most recognizable architectural landmarks–and first skyscrapers. After becoming a registered architect in 1939, he started his own private practice and became the go-to architect for big-ticket projects.
Formoso also garnered recognition as one of the country’s premier architects. Among the recognition he received include the 1979 Outstanding Architect of the Year Award from the Professional Regulation Commission, the 1977 Patnubay ng Kalinangan Award from the Commission on Arts and Culture, and the 1974 Most Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Santo Tomas.
1. Pacific Star Building
Inaugurated in 1989, the Pacific Star Building was one of the earliest office landmarks in Makati City. Its construction was spearheaded by the Republic of Nauru–which why, for a time, it was known as the Nauru Building. The once wealthy island country in Central Pacific had this built through its Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust. After the island nation’s phosphate deposits were fully exhausted, they resorted to selling their foreign properties– which included the Pacific Star Building.
In 2014, the Antonio-led Century Properties Group, Inc. acquired a 50-percent stake in the company that owns the 6-story low rise building that complements the high-rise structure.
2. Dusit Thani Manila (Hotel Nikko)
Built in 1976, this storied edifice along Arnaiz Avenue was first known as Manila Garden Hotel. It was later named Hotel Nikko after it was acquired by Japan airlines Development Company–which was eventually acquired in 1995 by Dusit International. After which, it became known as Dusit Hotel Nikko before being renamed simply as Dusit Thani Manila in 2008.
3. Lepanto Building (Bank of America Tower)
Built in 1979 the design of 20-story Lepanto Building is a perfect example of International Style of modernist architecture. Emerging in Holland, France, and Germany after World War I, International Style became the dominant architectural style from the 20s until the 70s.
The building was built to cater three clients–Bank of America, Lepanto Consolidated Mines, and P.L. Lim. It’s facade features a series of tall arches with adobe clad walls on both sides.
4. AIM Building
Built in 1970, the Asian Institute of Management Building is arguably one of the most recognizable structures along Paseo de Roxas. Its wooden-clad facade closely resembles Filipino ancestral houses during the Spanish colonial period.
5. KPMG Center (Prudential Bank Building)
Formerly known as the Prudential Bank Building, the KPMG Center located along Ayala Avenue is known for its ionic columns and neoclassical facade.
6. The Peninsula Manila
Currently the oldest hotel in Makati City, The Peninsula Manila was the first property to carry the Peninsula brand outside of Hong Kong. This famous landmark in the corner of Ayala and Makati Avenue consists of two wings with a total of 497 rooms and suites.
While Gabriel Formoso spearheaded the design this iconic edifice, Honolulu-based Wimberly, Whisenand, Allison, Tong & Goo was also tapped as consulting architects for its design.
Since its inauguration, it has hosted a number of statesmen and celebrities including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Bill Gates, Queen Sofia of Spain, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Kobe Bryant.
7. Coco Bank Building (UCPB Corporate Offices)
Formerly known as the Coco Bank Building, this decades-old structure still stands along Makati Avenue and now serves as the corporate headquarters of United Coconut Planters Bank.
The Manila Project
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- United Architects of the Philippines
- GF & Partners Architects