(SPOT.ph) While most people's memory of the Philippine International Convention Center revolves around graduations, industry conferences, and business meetings, the imposing structure in Pasay City is also an architectural wonder. And on September 27, this grand building designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin was officially declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. A marker was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon to mark this occasion.
The Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) takes after the popular aesthetic of the time: brutalist, which rose to fame as a movement in the 1950s and continued well into the 1970s. It derived its name from the French phrase Béton brut or raw concrete, which perfectly describes a brutalist building's monolithic appearance and large-scale use of poured concrete. This style was popular during the administration of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who also facilitated the construction of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1966) and the Manila Film Center (1982) within the complex. Interestingly, brutalist buildings are preferred around the world in the post-war years for the supposed low cost of concrete—though the national debt incurred through infrastructure at the time would say otherwise.
Aside from the building itself, which spans more than 70,000 square meters, four artworks within the walls of the PICC were also awarded the distinction of being National Cultural Treasures. These are: "Grid" and "Anito" by Arturo R. Luz, "Ang Pagdiriwang" by Jose T. Joya, and the carved wooden furniture by Napoleon B. Abueva. Luz, Joya, and Abueva are also recognized as National Artists.
A National Cultural Treasure (NCT), by definition of the law, is "a unique object found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is significant to this country and nation." This recognition of the PICC and other cultural treasures inside it is just in time for the celebration of its 46th anniversary.