FEU Preserves Filipino Heritage through Restoration of Historic Sites

FEU Preserves Filipino Heritage through Restoration of Historic Sites

Far Eastern University (FEU) in Manila, renowned for housing the largest ensemble of Art Deco buildings in the country, underscores its commitment to preserving Filipino cultural heritage with the meticulous restoration of its Administration Building. This 75-year-old Art Deco masterpiece, designed by Filipino architect and National Artist Pablo Antonio Sr., is one of six FEU buildings designated as National Cultural Treasures by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The Administration Building, recognized with an honorable mention at the 2005 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards, showcases world-class Filipino structural and artistic designs. This prestigious status inspired the recent restoration efforts.

“We restored the wallpaper and conducted tile restoration on the ground floor. While doing this, we made sure to retain the integrity of the original design to preserve the building’s status as an important heritage site not just in FEU but also in the entire country,” said Nida B. Bulanhagui, manager of Facilities and Technical Services Civil Engineering and Architectural Design Department (FTS CEADD).

Bulanhagui detailed the painstaking process of restoring the marble tiles in the main building, where each tile was carefully dismantled, numbered, cleaned, and reinstalled to preserve its original arrangement and value. The university allocated P1.2 million for this restoration project, which included jet grouting to maintain the building’s structural integrity.

The Administration Building also features Italian sculptor Francesco Ricardo Monti’s “bas reliefs” depicting various Philippine historical eras, Antonio Dumlao’s “Sarimanok Triptych” mural in crushed glass and resin, and Fernando Amorsolo paintings, all significant to Filipino cultural heritage. The FEU Auditorium within the building, which served as the first Cultural Center of the Philippines post-World War II, continues to be a vibrant venue for cultural and artistic events, enriching the student experience.

A Legacy of Cultural and Artistic Preservation

Continuing its legacy as a champion of heritage preservation, FEU plans to restore the Science Building and the Architecture and Fine Arts Building this year, with jet grouting scheduled for the Nicanor Reyes Sr. Hall in 2025.

“Expect more renovations and building projects on our campus in the coming years. We want to give our students a state-of-the-art experience while maintaining our promise to preserve important heritage sites,” said Bulanhagui.

Beyond restoration projects, FEU hosts symposiums on cultural preservation and innovation. Recently, FEU’s Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts held ArtX, “Konsepto: Innovations of Filipino Arts, Fashion, and Architecture,” featuring respected architects and industry pioneers.

“The greenest building is the one that is already built,” quoted Gerard Lico, principal architect of ARC Lico and professor of architecture, at the symposium. “As an architect passionate about arts and history, restoring heritage buildings is my way of preserving our rich culture and history.”

FEU Manila also offers free art appreciation tours, allowing visitors to experience the richness of Filipino cultural heritage within the campus. These tours are available on Wednesdays by appointment. To book a slot, sign up at https://bit.ly/FEUCampusTours.

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