The Hark Building

Muralla St. corner Anda St.
Intramuros, Manila

Central stairwell under triangular clerestory skylight, seen from Ground Floor
Photo by Robert de Mesa
 View from Muralla Street corner Anda Street
Photo by Robert de Mesa

Proposed view from Muralla Street corner Anda Street

View from Muralla Street, heading north 
Photo by Robert de Mesa

Proposed view from Muralla Street, heading north

Proposed front elevation facing Muralla Street

The Hark Building, at the corner of Muralla and Anda Streets, next to Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the Walled City of Intramuros, consists of a First floor for commercial purposes, and Second and Third (attic) floors for dormitory apartments.  

We obey the Intramuros Administration requirement for "1890s Spanish Filipino architecture" by referring to the Paterno Mansion on Hidalgo Street in Quiapo, belonging to an ancestor of the client.  Hark is part of the same complex that contains the Herald Building from the late 1940s, and completes the ironic situation in which an older building - Herald - looks more modern than the younger building - Hark. 
The project is an exploration of the relationship between the character of an architectural envelope and the character of what this envelope contains.  This is somewhat unprecedented in our practice as far as new construction is concerned, aiming as we do for a consistency between exterior and interior.  Our experience with Adaptive Reuse, however, has exposed us to the various possibilities of that dialogue between exterior and interior.  In the case of Hark, because of the specificity of Intramuros as the setting, our aim is to demonstrate the dialogue between patrimony outside and modernity inside.
The multi-story central stairs and the triangular skylight above respond to the irregular polygonal perimeter of the site.  The perimeter is shy of being a perfect rectangle by virtue of the triangular stairwell in the center.  That central staircase maximizes the real estate while allowing people and ventilation to move from here to there.  Everything that is there needs to be there, including the ornamental exterior envelope, in a dialogue between outside and inside, old and new, past and present, and the future of Intramuros. 
Image from Google Earth


Philippine daily inquirer

MAY 8, 2024