Monday, April 25, 2005


ocean tower
Ocean Tower - April 25, 2005,
originally uploaded by
I was just surfing throught the web and almost choked on myself when I stumbled upon the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) website. MADE is a 20 year old competition run by the MetroBank Foundation (of George Ty's MetroBank) to recognize the outstanding works of young but promising painters and sculptors. A wonderfully generous endeavor no doubt, but when I read that they decided to expand their awards to architects and interior designers, I realized that a KVETCH was definitely in order. So here it goes: Ahem. Metrobank. For an institution such as yours, who has in it's stable of developments some of Manila's most miserable structures, where do you get off thinking you can pull off an architectural competition? The Escolta Twin Towers on Escolta; Bay Gardens in Pasay Reclamation Area; Ocean Tower on Roxas Boulevard; and Tytana Building on Plaza Ruiz are not only shamefully unimaginative in its design and clumsy in it's execution, but their gargantuan proportions are a serious burden to their neighorhoods' water and electric supply. Moreover, these structures are completely insensitive to the historic context of their surroundings and simply a vicious assault on the eyes (Escolta Twin Towers even has laundry hanging from its grills - Hello. Can we please..?) They are undeniable testaments to Metrobank's priority for profit over proper urban development. So, Metrobank, if you want to spread goodwill - and your scholarship and health programs are doing a great job in doing that - just don't push your luck with architecture. Save your Php150,000.00 prize money and just hire better architects to fix what you already have (Sorry Architect Gozar. Nothing personal.) This is an imperative if ever you want anybody to take this competition seriously. Because to claim that your institution knows good architecture is not only misleading; it's downright insulting to those who know better.

MADE: This contest, done in partnership with the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), is open to Filipino licensed architects 25 to 40 years old who have completed a single detached residence in the Philippines which been occupied for at least one year. Entry forms are available at all Metrobank branches nationwide. For inquiries, send an email to For questions on the architecture competition, call the UAP National Secretariat at 412 6403.