Friday, May 04, 2007

Manila: The FEU campus is fantastic!

I was at Far Eastern University (FEU) today for a campus tour with Ivan ManDy and all I could say is that the Art Deco buildings designed by Pablo Antonio, National Artist for Architecture, and the collection of art around campus are fantastic! I never thought that amidst the chaos of Recto and Quezon Boulevard is an oasis, a well-planned campus very conducive to learning. The designs of the new buildings are brilliant and blend perfectly with the old. The campus planners of DLSU should get lessons from the efficient use of space and the elegant designs and arrangement of buildings in FEU. It's no surprise the campus was recognized by UNESCO for heritage conservation.

As Ivan ManDy writes: "The Far Eastern University, located in Manila's chaotic and overcrowded University Belt, is the proverbial rose in a sea of thorns. Years of neglect... led to the [campus] falling into hard times, hardly a fit place to inspire the minds of our country's future [leaders]. But then the FEU administration decided... to roll up its sleeves and do something. In one fell swoop, [the campus] morphed from an uninviting, graffiti-infested, makeshift patchwork of classrooms, food-areas and dingy business stalls to [restore itself to] the gleaming Art Deco complex worthy of educating the best minds of the country.

"This is the FEU campus today, a touch of architectural class in a city that seems to have forgotten how beautiful she once was. That the university... is in the midst of one of the most high-density and polluted districts of the city did not deter FEU from battling urban blight head on. But what particularly makes the FEU campus noteworthy is that it proved to many how old buildings do not have to mean derelict and unfashionable. In fact they [the restored buildings] are hip and cool..."

"Buildings in the FEU campus were constructed between 1930-1950; they had been mostly designed by National Artist Pablo Antonio. Felipe Mendoza designed the other campus structures, notably the chapel. All of campus structures were restored to their original appearance. All new buildings were designed in a contemporary style compatible with the old. Without resorting to architectural mimicry of the heritage architecture, the new blended perfectly with the old."

One of the details which I liked were the bronze sculptures around the flagpole done by another National Artist Vicente Manansala. The quadrangle itself is well-planned with the Philippine flag serving as the center of life in campus. Also check out the "Stations of the Cross" murals of National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco in the chapel, and the sculpture murals of Francesco Monti and Art Deco mural of Simon Saulog both in the administration building. Watch out for the Old Manila Walks tour of FEU soon. More photos in Multiply.

Campus tour
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De La Salle University
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