Meralco building declared an Architectural Legacy

Eugenio Lopez Building , Meralco Compound , Pasig City -Philippines

Meralco CEO -Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan together with Dona Pilar Zaragoza descendants of Architect Jose Maria V. Zaragosa, CCP President Raul Sunico, and Lopez family

Meralco Lopez building , Home to the country’s largest power utility company, the Manila Electric Company ( MERALCO) was declared an Architectural Legacy of a Philippine Artist by the Cultural Center of the Philippines ( CCP).

Mr. Raul Sunico together with PIA and UAAP members

The event also saw the members of the Philippine Institute of Architects , United Architect Association of the Philippines, Boysen Paint were invited to grace the occasion.

Mr. Manuel V. Pangilian

This is in recognition of the genius of the building ‘s architect , Jose Maria V. Zaragosa- Who was posthumously proclaimed National Artist for Architecture in 2015.

crowd

The massive building, his largest and one of his most iconic architectural masterpieces ,was the second building to be erected in the Ortigas area at that time and has stood as a prominent landmark in this commercial business district since its inauguration in 1968.

Meralco Building -photo from Ms. Elaine Cedillo ( Wikipedia )

The 47-year-old structure is also poised to become a historical landmark in its 50th year three years from now in 2018.  Architect Zaragosa is said to have used the 1960’s brise-soleil architectural medium for the building design, where a series of vertical concrete elements installed as a concave curtain were ordered by monolithic concrete towers.

The building construction began in 1964 and was inaugurated in 1964 and was inaugurated four years later with the late Don Eugenio Lopez as Meralco president . It featured the largest suspended canopy in the country at that time.

nativity scene in front of the building

These towers were designed like two people trying to support each other, with the bridge across the building as their extended arms and its concave facade providing it more stability .

architectural legacy plaque

This was affirmed by the late architect and architect historian – Benedictine Father Rodrigo Perez III, who noted that the 14-storey Lopez Building ” is slightly curved to give it more stability and to avoid the boxlike appearance of rectangular buildings and the ‘train effect’ of straight corridors. Tapering vertical sun-breakers enhance the gentle curve of the concave facade” .

The building has also served as a preferred events venue through the 1,010 -seater Meralco Theater , which had witnessed several cultural performances and milestone events.

Jose Maria V. Zaragosa earned his BS Architecture degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1936 and a diploma in liturgical art and architecture from the International Institute of Liturgical Art in Rome, Italy.

group photo

Among his best known works were the reconstructed Casino Español de Manila (1951), the Santo Domingo Church (1954), Villa San Miguel aka  ( Archbishop Residence) in Mandaluyong (1954), SM Department Store, Carriedo, Manila (1960s), San Beda High School, Mendiola (1961), St. Joseph Adoration of the Pink Sisters, New Manila (1963), Pope Pius XII Catholic Center (1964), MERALCO Building, Ortigas (1965), Philbanking Building, Anda Circle, Manila (1969) PAL Building, Makati (1969)

Zaragoza family members

Union Church, Makati (1973), Virra Mall (1975), St. John Bosco Parish Church, Makati (1977), Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Shrine (1980), and the renovated Quiapo Church (1984). He died on 26 November 1994 at the age of 81.

Mr. Mark Lopez , Mr. Mike Lopez and Mr. Manuel ” Beaver ” Lopez Jr.

He was awarded National Artist for Architecture posthumously in 2014.

 References : Jose Ma. V. Zaragoza, Architecture for God, For Man by Ruben D. F. Defeo and Maria Lourdes Zaragoza Banson.

Press Release : Meralco Architectural Legacy Marker Conferment

Note : I would like to Thank ” Miss Millet ” with her DDB team and MERALCO for the gracious invitation to this historical milestone !

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