Work in progress: Structural marvels

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If the world, society, or everything for this matter remained stagnant or void of change then what could there be to look forward to or excited about? As cliché as the phrase is, it is true that change is (and with emphasis) the only constant thing in this world. The results it has brought or is even about to bring for all we know can be significant, great, or expected.

The wonder of this concept of change has taken infrastructure or architecture into unimaginable heights. The construction or revival of a place, with the help of change of course, has been accepted as part of necessity and evolution. Heck, the pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and even our own Banaue Rice Terraces were constructed from the ground up to serve a purpose and since then have been part of history being marked as monumental wonders. In the hopes of this phenomenon happening again, various places have been built or reconstructed to suffice the need for shelter and perhaps structural attention enough to be placed in history along with the rest of the distinguished infrastructures.

Again, going back to the concept of change, it has a quite interesting role in the rebirth of a certain place. The pyramids, for example, during the era of its construction in 2649 B.C. were built as the pharaohs’ tombs. As time passed, the  s ceased to be just tombs and are now a historical wonder. With this idea, the rebirth or revival of a place can be dependent on change and the purpose people assign to it. Nevertheless, a place can turn from nothing to something or from simple to extravagant in no time and undoubtedly done with the help of many.


Now and then

There are countless buildings, monuments or changes in infrastructure to be included and mentioned, however those that deserve the recognition are those that always catered to the need or demand for their formation while others have gained their fame by countless debates and issues over their construction.

Among the world’s famous structures of course is the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which is among the structures built from the ground up, and still existing as it is today, stands proudly as France’s cultural and global symbol. Its design was often criticized by many French artists during its construction. Another is the Great Wall of China that is undeniably one of the oldest and still highly respected architectural wonders of today. Built for the purpose of protecting the Chinese Empire from threats, the Wall is undoubtedly named as “great” for so many reasons including its architectural beauty. 

If not an infrastructure built through bricks and steel, there are those carved, molded, and made by bare hands. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, United States can either be considered as a sculpture or a monument. Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum sculpted the mountain into the likeness of four United States presidents. Apart from plains and grass fields, hills and mountains undergo structural change through great works of men who solidly believe in the wonder of architecture and the revival of a certain place.

The Philippines is not an exception to the changes and wonders in infrastructure. The Banaue Rice Terraces, which was carved into the mountains of Ifugao more than 2,000 years ago, carried the purpose of planting rice and vegetables. The fascinating fact for this place is that its construction required minimal equipment, which means that most of its parts were truly built by hand.


Our very own

Looking at what we have, De La Salle Univerisity – Manila has had its fair share of structural change. The current campus, which was built in 1920, to date has 14 buildings, most of which have already been grounded in history. The Bro. Andrew Gonzales Hall is still known to be the tallest academic building in Asia and of course the oldest building, St. La Salle Hall, is the most historic structure in the campus built by Tomas Mapua. In line with how places continue to undergo change through construction and development, the St. La Salle hall is currently undergoing the process of retrofitting, which again is a result of change brought by necessity of withstanding calamities and standards of infrastructure.

Currently, the Henry Sy Sr. Hall is the newest building in campus. Even so, the site was previously the DLSU football field. Drawing from the previous point that places change over time depending on its purpose, Henry Sy Sr. Hall has evolved from soil to football field and to what it is now. Despite the issues on delay, construction over the football field and hassle in transferring the library and other offices, the Centennial Hall (alternative name to Henry Sy Sr. Hall) remains to be one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the campus.

Debates, reactions, and necessity

In the construction or revival of a certain place, there have been issues, debates to tone it down, and reactions given by various parties that could sometimes even be the reason to why such a place receives its fame. The issues are usually about the welfare of the environment, the community or destruction of livelihood and sometimes even disputes over rights, property, and maybe even history.

Other debates over the construction of a building can be over financial troubles, and in connection to that, how some structures are viewed by a certain community to be nothing more than another source of profit. Be that as it may, buildings and other structures are put up for various reasons and of course there is no guarantee that this reason could entirely be out of goodness of the heart.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that these structures are built because it is greatly dictated by necessity and demand. Condominiums and commercial spaces are a booming industry because of the demand for more homes or shelter. One day it’s an empty space and in the next few months it’s a staggering 30-story condominium. Shopping malls have also sprouted here and there, a building that can fit all of the community’s needs. Aside from the occasional need for air-conditioned malls, their purpose is not only to rehabilitate a certain piece of land, but also perhaps to change the lifestyle of its people in the hope of making their lives easier or more convenient.

Aside from shopping malls and condominiums, other infrastructures are set to change not only a certain community but also possibly an entire country. The Philippine Arena in Bulacan, for example, is among the structures that is currently being constructed and is set to be the world’s largest indoor arena. From what used to be a field of grass is now expected to be another structural marvel that the country can openly brag and be proud of.

Man’s talent and creativity matched by time and change can result to many of these memorable places and buildings. The rise of various buildings here and there continues from day to day and the revival or change in a particular location is expected to happen in just a matter of time.

April Anne Villena

By April Anne Villena

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