POSSIBLE DEMOLITION OF CAPITOL THEATER BUILDING ON ESCOLTA
The Heritage Conservation Society has heard from a reliable source that the Capitol Theater Building on Escolta is about to be demolished to give way to a high-rise building. Plans are allegedly already being prepared and the developer is reportedly not concerned about the value of this cultural masterpiece, the work of National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil, and thus subject to the protection of the NCCA.
Designed and built in the mid-1930s, the structure is one of the country’s prime examples of Art Deco. The building also serves to demonstrate how Escolta has served as the canvass of the artistic and professional evolution of some of the country’s greatest architects. Juan Nakpil was lieutenant to Andres Luna de San Pedro during the design and construction of the Perez Samanillo Building further up the street, and had come unto his own professionally when he designed the Capitol Theater, and was at the helm of a team that included Victorio Edades, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Galo Ocampo and Francesco Monti.
The Capitol Theater Building is of supreme patrimonial value and must be protected by the state. This is not to say that no development can happen here. What we mean to underscore is simply one of the key tenets of the Heritage Law: that any intervention with a structure of this cultural value must be performed with sensitivity and care, and with the review and approval of the relevant cultural agency. In this case, being the work of a National Artist for Architecture, the Capitol Theater Building is under the protection of the NCCA.
We urge all concerned citizens to write their expressions of support for the protection of the Capitol Theater Building to the NCCA, and to the city government of Manila. It would be the city government of Manila that has the authority to issue the demolition permit.
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