Considered as one of the most versatile event arenas in the region, the Philippine International Convention Center was built on the reclaimed land that make up the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Metro Manila. With over 70,000 square meters of floor area, this imposing architectural landmark–together with Folk Arts Theater and Tanghalang Pambansa–make up the trifecta of Locsin-designed brutalist edifices within the CCP.
1. It made history as the first international convention center in Asia–which set a trend and later emulated by other countries.
2. The project was undertaken by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 520 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos authorizing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to construct an international conference building.
3. It was designed by renowned Filipino architect and National Artist, Leandro V. Locsin.
Originally from Silay, Negros Occidental, Leandro Valencia Locsin studied at the De La Salle College (now De La Salle University) before returning to Negros due to the outbreak of the Second World War. With his return to Manila, he finally obtained his degree in Architecture at the University of Santo Tomas.
His works include the now famous tourist site in Bukidnon, the Church of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, and some of the structures within the CCP Complex including the Tanghalang Pambansa (National Theater) and the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas (Folk Arts Theater).
Locsin is also known for designing the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei, and the “world’s largest residential palace”.
4. The building is still currently owned by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
5. It is a perfect example of Brutalist architectural style–as with the other works of Leandro Locsin.
Brutalist architecture is not derived from the word “brutal”, but instead originates from the French word “béton brut” which means “raw concrete”. The term was first used by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (also known as Le Corbusier), a Swiss-French architect, to describe his choice of material. Later, the term “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) was coined by Swedish architect Hans Asplund to describe the Villa Göth in Uppsala, Sweden.
Brutalist architecture are typically massive in character, fortress-like, with a predominance of exposed concrete construction. It became popular in the design of government institutions with numerous examples in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and the Philippines.
Examples of Brutalist architecture include the Buffalo City Court Building in New York, Western City Gate in Serbia, SESC Pompéia in Brazil, Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia in Peru, and the Habitat 67 in Canada. While in the Philippines, the most famous brutalist structures are those designed by Leandro Locsin and also Froilan Hong’s Manila Film Center.
6. The project was done in just 23 months from November 1974 to September 1976.
7. It was inaugurated in September 5, 1976 in time to host the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.
8. The Philippine International Convention Center comprises of five building modules:
- The Delegation Building
- Secretariat Building
- Plenary hall
- Reception Hall
- The Forum
9. Raul Locsin, the cousin of Leandro V. Locsin spearheaded the months-long multi-million peso renovation of the PICC in 1996.
10. Since its inauguration, the Philippine International Convention Center hosted a number of events including the:
- Miss Universe 1994
- 2015 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting
- 30th ASEAN Summit
11. To commemorate the country’s hosting of the 1996 APEC Summit, a sculpture garden was launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The garden features 20 unique sculptures made by different artists from the APEC member economies.
The Manila Project
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