A FACULTY member from the Department of Interior Design discussed the concept of adaptive reuse or “bagong luma” as a way of preserving historic structures, in a webinar marking the 25th anniversary of the Government Service Insurance System Museum. 

Asst. Prof. Mary Ann Venturina Bulanadi said adaptive reuse or finding new functions for old houses and heritage structures is a sustainable process.

“The value of ‘bagong luma’ is giving old houses a second chance and making it relevant to contemporary times. We can call it ‘napapanahong bagong luma,’” Bulanadi told the Varsitarian.

“It is important to connect adaptive reuse with sustainability because the process should be something that is sustainable into the future and not just for one time only,” she added. 

She explained the steps in conducting a comprehensive assessment of the status of old structures to determine their potential for adaptive reuse, such as determining their physical conditions and drawing up as-built plans, or drawings depicting all parts of the structures and facilities.

The location in the community, as well as its history are also considered. 

Bulanadi demonstrated adaptive reuse through a virtual tour of the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, the historic house of Dr. Ariston Bautista and wife Perona Nakpil, in Quiapo, Manila.

The former home of the Nakpil clan, whose members were key figures in Philippine history and independence, was turned into a dormitory and office before it was opened to the public as a heritage museum in 2014.

“[T]he design, the new function, the execution, and the programs of Bahay Nakpil-Bautista that were adaptively reused into a heritage museum should be forward-looking and provide long-term benefits,” she said.

“The house doesn’t stay in the past or rest on its past achievements. Its current function as determined by the current homeowners becomes relevant to the times,” she added. 

Assoc. Prof. Eric Zerrudo, director of the UST Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics, discussed Juan Luna’s 1892 oil on canvas painting, “Parisian Life,” for the webinar series.  

Bulanadi said webinars like these help disseminate and encourage the advocacy of art and heritage preservation.

“The more people know about the steps we can take to help protect and preserve Philippine architecture and heritage interior spaces, the better we can address the challenges that these structures experience,” Bulanadi said. Charm Ryanne C. Magpali


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