Ramon Magsaysay Center: 4 Things To Know About This Travertine-Clad Edifice in Roxas Boulevard

Last Updated: December 1st, 2017

 

Ramon Magsaysay Center as seen from Roxas Boulevard

Ramon Magsaysay Center as seen from Roxas Boulevard

 

A close look at the building's facade

A close look at the building’s facade

 

Located along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, Ramon Magsaysay Center is one of the most uniquely designed structure that was built in the 60s. Home to the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, this seemingly floating edifice is located right across another interesting looking structure– the Diamond Hotel.

If in case you drop by, make sure to be discreet in taking photos, the guards might notice you clutching your camera and taking pictures without permission.

 

1. Completed in 1967, the Ramon Magsaysay Center was designed by Philippine-based architectural firm Arturo J. Luz and Associates, in collaboration with Italian-American Pietro Belluschi and Alfred Yee Associates.

 

2. Needless to say, the building was named in honor of Ramon Magsaysay, the 7th President of the Philippines.

Born on August 31, 1907, Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay spent his childhood in Zambales before moving to Manila to study at the University of the Philippines, and José Rizal University. His father was a blacksmith while his mother worked as a school teacher.

Prior to winning the presidency, Magsaysay was appointed as a military governor of Zambales and later served for two terms as a congressman. He also served as the Secretary of National Defense during the administration of President Elpidio Quirino.

While only staying in office for four years, Magsaysay is fondly remembered as the “Champion of the Masses”, and for leading one of the cleanest and corruption-free administration in modern Philippine history. His administration is often cited as the Philippines’s “Golden Years”.

 

Ramon Magsaysay (image credit: Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation)

Ramon Magsaysay (image credit: Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation)

 

All this didn’t last long, when, on March 17, 1957, news of his death shocked the country after it was reported that the presidential plane crashed on Mt. Manunggal in Cebu. A month after Magsaysay’s death, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with concurrence from the Philippine government, established The Ramon Magsaysay Award which has been critically acclaimed as the most prestigious award in Asia in par with the West’s Nobel Prize.

 

The crash site of Ramon Magsaysay's presidential plane (image credit: Malacañang)

The crash site of Ramon Magsaysay’s presidential plane (image credit: Malacañang)

 

3. For a brief period, from 1967 to 1968, the eighteen-story Ramon Magsaysay Center was considered as the tallest building in the country at 230 ft., before it was unseated by the Manila Pavilion Hotel in 1968.

 

A close look at the facade of Ramon Magsaysay Center (left) and the Diamond Hotel (right)

A close look at the facade of Ramon Magsaysay Center (left) and the Diamond Hotel (right)

 

4. The building’s exterior is surrounded by travertine marble slabs which were designed to withstand the saline waters of Manila Bay. In total, there are twelve travertine-clad concrete columns that support the massive structure.  

Interestingly, the Romans also used travertine stone for building temples, monuments, and even amphitheaters.

Structures that use travertine for its construction include the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, the Burghausen Castle in Upper Bavaria, the 20th-century Getty Center in Los Angeles, and arguably the most iconic Roman structure that still exists today, the Colosseum in Rome which required over 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone.

 

A close look at the travertine-clad columns

A close look at the travertine-clad columns

 

Ramon Magsaysay Center shortly after sunrise

Ramon Magsaysay Center shortly after sunrise

 

The columns that support the structure

The columns that support the structure

 

Ramon Magsaysay Center (left) and the Diamond Hotel (right) as seen from M.H. Del Pilar Street

Ramon Magsaysay Center (left) and the Diamond Hotel (right) as seen from M.H. Del Pilar Street

 

 

– The Manila Project

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Sources:

  1. Emporis
  2. The Ramon Magsaysay Center Award Foundation
  3. Wiki Pilipinas
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Other news articles

 

 

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