Paulo Alcazaren
Outstanding Published Series of Articles on Culture and the Arts

In his weekly column “City Sense,” (Philippine Star), Paulo Alcazaren discusses matters of history and architecture vis-à-vis the needs and sensibilities of urban communities. He traces the roots of architectural landmarks, affording readers a glimpse into the oftentimes colorful, sometimes amusing pasts of these structures.

Alcazaren primarily calls for conservation through education, an active campaign to reformulate the architecture curriculum in Philippine universities and concurrently increase public awareness and appreciation for built heritage. Further, he appeals to architects and developers to consider adaptive reuse, a way to preserve the façade of a building even as its interior accommodates functional changes. A case in point, Alcazaren explains how a team of architects rebuilt Manila after World War II, turning the then devastated American colony into a showcase of architectural models.

For these efforts to unceasingly yield results, Alcazaren highlights the need for a sustainable, larger urban context, saying that, “Single heritage structures cannot exist in a vacuum.” Government must draft laws and guidelines for the repair, conservation, and adaptive reuse of these heritage structures because, as Alcazaren intrepidly asserts, “… even more basic than all of these is keeping the infrastructure of heritage and our culture intact. Our built heritage is part of this vast Filipino resource we, all too often, fail to appreciate.”

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