Tuesday, September 25, 2007

HCS 2008 Calendar: Heritage Recycled

The HCS will be featuring fine examples of built heritage structures transformed into commercially-sustainable business projects. You will find elegant family residences that have been recycled into boutique hotels and banks; a century-old train terminal (Tutuban) became a shopping mall and the first international airport of Manila (Nielson Tower) was restored and recycled into a library and bookstore.

All these are compiled into the 2008 Heritage Calendar/Postcard Collection called HERITAGE RECYCLED. These unique calendars are excellent Christmas gifts to your friends and business associates. You can also have your company and/or personal logo printed on the standee.

As you know, the HCS is a non-profit group. One of our main objectives is to show how the restoration of heritage structures can enhance the value of real estate development projects, urban planning, and tourism.

By ordering, you will be contributing to this worthwhile advocacy. (P200/copy; 10% discount for members and bulk orders of 100pcs++)

Thank you for your valued support. E-mail us at info@heritage.org.ph

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Adaptive re-use is a creative mode of conservation that gives heritage structures new and alternative functions other than the original ones that may no longer be required.

Adaptive re-use is applicable to most heritage structures. These need not be as grandiose as the vintage Department of Finance, now the National Museum. HCS did not include it to show that ancestral homes of modest proportions, obscure town halls, colonial watchtowers and bridges, warehouses and train stations can also be recycled into sustainable projects.

Most often than not, built heritage resources are found on premium real estate property so developers are in a hurry to demolish rather than restore and recycle. Today, there is a growing awareness that adaptive re-use can enhance property value.

In many countries, like Australia for example, demolition of heritage structures is considered wasteful. Heritage resources are given adaptive re-use because it is good for the environment. Recycling a valued heritage place makes adaptive re-use of historic buildings an essential component of sustainable development. The United States of America abounds with examples of creative (and remunerative) re-use of heritage. Old warehouses in Manhattan's meat-packing areas have been transformed into fashionable and expensive lofts. Elegant mansions in "Gone with the Wind" country were transformed into boutique hotels.

In London, a power plant along the River Thames became the elegant Tate Gallery of Modern Art. In Mexico City, the Cemento Azteca plant is now an environment-friendly children's museum-- El Papalote. Singapore has salvaged a cluster of decrepit shop houses, turning Boat Quay and Clarke Quay into an eclectic mix of high-end restaurants, al fresco dining, dazzling bars and pubs.

We are not too far behind in the Philippines that is why the HCS has chosen "Heritage Recycled" as its theme for 2008. Until now, you may not have noticed these twelve amazing projects of sustainable, adaptive re-use. Take a good look around you and find more incredible examples of how Filipinos have so creatively recycled heritage.

However, in the Philippine scene, recycling heritage and adaptive re-use are still polemical issues. Should heritage conservation be done strictly "in situ"? Should heritage structures be transferred to different sites and settings, when that is the only way to save them? Is adaptive re-use intrusive? Or, should heritage conservation be a priority at all? Let the debate begin. After which we, conservation advocates, can make policies suitable to our own needs and vision.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Register now for the Philippine Towns and Cities Seminar (9 November 2007)

The main objective of this seminar series is to enhance civic engagement with local governments units so the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) can inform and guide them on the proper care and utilization of a valuable asset — built heritage resources. The first seminar was held last 8 November 2006, at the Development Academy of the Philippines, Pasig City.

In our towns and cities, wanton real estate speculation and over-construction are often mistaken for modernization when in fact these exert devastating pressure on the historic and cultural core of many of our human settlements. As a result, a valuable economic resource – built heritage — is left to deteriorate or is thoughtlessly demolished in the name of progress. Concerted effort is imperative to protect heritage resources because these are revenue and job-generating assets that can spark economic revitalization, as the case of Vigan clearly shows.

However, there is a general lack of awareness at the local government level, which is precisely where policies should be formulated and ordinances passed to declare heritage districts and protect these as the town's or city's prime assets. Built heritage resources should be the core of any master plan for urban development and inner town/city revitalization. Livelihood opportunities are generated by adaptive re-use, the revival of traditional crafts for restoration work and an increase in tourism receipts.

Significantly, communities begin to feel a "pride of place".

The "Philippine Towns and Cities" seminar series is a communications campaign to influence policy makers at the local government level. Through the "Mayors' Forum", best practices are shared. Other stakeholders in the Executive branch, the private sector and the academe are invited to participate because heritage conservation is a multi-disciplinary concern.

In a second seminar, the Heritage Conservation Society will take this awareness and education campaign to the local governments of the Vizayas, where built heritage resources abound in the cities of Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, and many others.

Reflections of the Past, Lessons for the Future"
9 November 2007, Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center, 101 General Luna Street, Iloilo City

Seminar Fee
Private Sector: P2,500
Government Sector: P1,500
Student (with valid ID): P500

Check payable to: Heritage Conservation Society
Deposit to: Heritage Conservation Society
BPI C/A # 8105-8153-61, M.H. Del Pilar Branch, Ermita

Contact Persons
Ms. Dorie Soriano (HCS)
Tel.: 521-2239
Fax: 522-2497
Email: info@heritage.org.ph

Ms. Len DiƱo (UPF)
Tel.: 895-1812 / 896-1902
Fax: 890-2480
Email: annalynn.upf@gmail.com

Ms. Vivian (Iloilo City)
Tel.: (033) 3372172
Email: benitojimena@yahoo.com

Seminar Organizers:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Book on World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

Living Landscapes and Cultural Landmarks: World Heritage Sites in the Philippines by Augusto F. Villalon,
Photographs by Neal M. Oshima,
Publisher: ArtPostAsia Pte. Ltd, Manila, the Philippines

This attractive book is the first publication to present all five World Heritage properties located in the Philippines in a single volume. Widely acknowledged by the international scientific community as a "biodiversity hotspot", the Philippines hosts an astoundingly rich and varied network of terrestrial and marine life. Moreover, the distinctive blend of Eastern and Western architectural principles and technology that has evolved in the Philippines has given rise to sites of outstanding aesthetic and cultural values. For example, the Rice Terraces Cultural Landscape of the Philippine Cordilleras, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995, has been shaped by traditional know-how handed down from successive generations. Furthermore, these magnificent rice terraces provide an exquisite setting for the traditional Hudhud chants of the local Ifugao people, which were recognized in 2001 by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Consequently, this unique yet fragile cultural landscape has come down through the ages as a testimony to the harmonious balance between heritage of humankind - both tangible and intangible - and the environment.

This publication received financial support from the World Heritage Fund. It was launched at UNESCO Headquarters in June 2007 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the adoption of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. UNESCO considers that such activities contribute positively to the ongoing debates on the many issues and challenges concerning the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in developing countries.