By Arra B. Francia
AT a time when conventions and events are increasingly being held in the financial districts of Makati and Bonifacio Global City (BGC), this year’s Anthology Architecture and Design Festival is holding its ground in Manila’s walled city, where a group of architects hope to highlight the origins of the country’s cosmopolitan development.
One of the event’s organizers, WTA Architecture and Design Studio Founding Chairman and Principal Architect William T. Ti, Jr. is passionate about holding the annual architecture festival in Intramuros, saying that it is unlike any other city in Asia.
“I think Intramuros is really something. It’s one of the best-preserved Spanish forts, or walled cities. Even in Spain, I don’t think they have something like this. So that’s something that we should cherish, that we should promote especially in Asia,” Mr. Ti said in a press conference for the architecture festival in Makati on Jan. 30.
The Anthology Architecture and Design Festival has been running since 2016, attracting more than 2,000 guests in its pilot year. At the time, the festival was held inside the Plaza de Roma in Intramuros, just in front of the centuries old Manila Cathedral.
For Rebecca Plaza, founder and managing director of Plaza+Partners and also one of the event’s organizers, the event has breathed new life to this part of the country’s capital, which has mostly been ignored by the younger generation.
“It gives character to this event as well. Even the foreigners who come to the event, they’d go like, ‘Wow, this is a beautiful part of Manila. We didn’t realize this was here.’ It’s not as celebrated as say, BGC, but I think it’s our roots,” Ms. Plaza said in the same press conference.
Mr. Ti added that Manila would still be the Philippines’ best choice when it wants to showcase a city that would represent the country, noting that Intramuros is something “truly ours.”
Anthology Architecture and Design Festival seeks to bring together both architects and non-architects to increase awareness on how architecture and design affect urban societies. The festival also hopes to inspire a design-led approach in addressing political, social, environmental, and economic issues to create better cities.
With the theme “Impact Architecture,” it will feature talks from renowned architecture and design firms such as Shma Company Limited, AK+, School of Architecture at Taliesin, AECOM, KennethCobonpue, Bruce Mau Design, 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, SC+DC, Buro Ole Scheeren, Aidea Inc., and Tezuka Architects, among others.
Apart from discussions, the festival will also hold several workshops sponsored by institutions such as the SoFA Design Institute, Shau, Arup, and Arcadis.
The festival will run from Feb. 15 to 17. It will host about 100 local and foreign speakers in a bid to attract 7,000 guests from across the Asian region.