CPD seminar-workshop on architectural heritage conservation for young architects successfully held

October 12, 2017 | By: Arch. Patrick N. Rodriguez

UAP Committee on Young Architects (UAP-CYA) successfully conducted the first leg of its Continuing Professional Development Seminar-Workshop on Architectural Heritage Conservation with the theme “Heritage 101 for Young Architects “ last October 12-14, 2017 at Centennial Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Jaro, Iloilo City.

This 3-day event was in partnership with the UAP Committee on Architectural Heritage Conservation (UAP-CAHC) and UAP Iloilo Chapter as the host chapter.

With the increasing demand for knowledgeable and competent Cultural Heritage Conservationists in the field of Architecture due to the growing need to preserve and document existing examples of Philippine Heritage Architecture, Ar. Patrick N. Rodriguez, chair of UAP-CYA and Ar. Jayson Portem, chair of UAP-CAHC decided to collaborate in creating a seminar-workshop that will feature solely on architectural heritage conservation and to be offered in several legs and in various locations.

Heritage 101 for Young Architects featured nine (9) of the notable and recognized professionals in the field of heritage conservation and was attended by a total of 199 participants from 38 different UAP chapters.

Day 1 (October 12) was allotted for four seminars which was divided into two sessions. The morning session was highlighted by the lectures of Ar. Mary Rajelyn Busmente who discussed the “Basics in Architectural Conservation” which anchored on History of Architecture (mostly Renaissance period) and delved into the development if identities of each nation in terms of their psychology on art and architecture; and of Ar. Michael Manalo who shared his expertise through his talk on “Built Heritage Conservation as a Profession: Key Concepts in Understanding the Practice which explored the possible values connected to the conservation of the built heritage: from the abstract and intangible, to the obviously visible.

In the afternoon session, two more topics were introduced to the participants which include “Identity and Spirit of Place: How Do We See Them in Architecture?” by Ar. Jeremy Jade Balagat who explained some of the concept essential in understanding identity in architecture and will cite some examples in how it affects the spirit of place.and “Built Heritage-Mga Akala sa Heritage at Marami Pang Iba: Misconceptions on Heritage” which was discussed by Associate Professor Eric Zerrudo. He illustrated the development of built heritage definition and the characters of conservation that evolved. His lecture opened the architects to a varied menu of conservation principles and approaches.

An open forum was conducted after every two topics in which majority of the concerns raised include the respective heritage conservation issues of the delegates.

On Day 2 (October 13) morning activity, the participants were given the opportunity to visit and experience four of the notable heritage sites of Iloilo City which include Molo Mansion which is a significant and historic house in Molo and was now converted into a heritage museum; Camiña Balay nga Bato, an 1865 Avanceña house which was preserved for almost a century and a half now; Mejica Museum which showcase huge printing equipment of the early 20th century and a literary museum; and Molo Church, a famous Spanish-colonial church which is known for its prominent red spires that crown its tall bell towers as the “feminist” church because of the all-women ensemble of saints represented in 16 statues perched on the aisle pillars.

The group was divided and transported via four different buses in which a carousel type of tour was implemented. A city tour was also conducted upon the trip from one heritage site to another to show the richness of the city in terms of culture and heritage. During the visit at Camiña Balay nga Bato, the participants were treated with the famous “tsokolate de batirol’ while exploring the well-preserved ancestral house.

Upon completion of the heritage tour, a lone seminar on Day 2 followed. Ar. Jayson Portem, Chairman of the UAP Specialty Council on Architectural Heritage Conservation and executive council member of the National Committee on Monuments and Sites of the NCCA, talked about “Cultural Route and Architecture”. The objective of this topic is to deliver the importance of identifying routes and access that will be used for identifying the spirit of the place or the culture that is associated with the community. Ar. Portem also discussed the guides that will determine the elements that comprise the cultural route.

After his lecture, a workshop which was related to the heritage tour conducted earlier. The speaker tasked the delegates to apply the knowledge and information gained during the tour and were asked to identify the spirit of place and determine if the routes that they passed through during the tour can be considered as cultural routes.

The expected outcome of the workshop was to enable the participants to identify cultural elements of a cultural route for the purpose of built heritage inventory and increase the level of its significance.

Same set-up with Day 1, Day 3 (October 14) featured another four seminar topics. In the morning session, Ar. Cesar Markel Luna lectured on “Architectural Heritage Conservation: Learning From The Past” and focused on Architectural Heritage Conservation as a discipline, which involves standard procedures and entails the meticulous process of decision-making to determine which among various conservation approaches should be applied.  This was followed by the talk on “Pasingtábî king Aldo ampóng Ángin” (Homage to the Sun and the Wind): A Look into the Kapampángan Vernacular Architecture” by Ar. Michaela Rosette M. Santos. The lecture delved in exploring the distinct domestic typologies in the province of Pampánga to illustrate the identity of Kapampángan vernacular architecture and the existence of a localized building model that could enrich the resources of the contemporary built environment practices that gives respect to mother nature.

The final two topics were carried in the afternoon which include “Revisiting Traditional Pre-1565 Architectural Form in the Philippines and its Influence to Spanish Colonial Architecture” by Ar. Rino D.A. Fernandez which focused on both on these various traditional architectural forms and its possible influences to the emerging Spanish Colonial Architecture in the country;  and "Bridging The Gap Between Conservation Theory and Practice Through Skills Training via The Learning-by-Doing Approach" by Ar. Jeffrey Cobilla, highlighted by the presentation of the training and actual projects performed by his institution.

There were two sets of open forum, one in the morning session and the other one was in the afternoon session, in which concerns and clarifications of the participants were answered by the concerned speakers.

Before the end of this 3-day seminar-workshop, UAP National President Guillermo Hisancha delivered a short speech and expressed his gratitude to both the organizers and participants for the successful holding of this event.