BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution calling on all interested architecture professionals, urban planners, and design firms to participate in an open, public design competition for the proposed rehabilitation of the city-owned Baguio Convention Center.
The resolution noted that the Baguio Convention Center was built in 1977 and it is now perceived as a low-performance, low-income generating property of the city due to the physical deterioration of the building and its surroundings.
Further, Councilor Maria Mylen Victoria G. Yaranon, proponent of the said resolution, claimed the rehabilitation of the structure has long been overdue and its modernization can go hand-in-hand with the preservation of its historical and architectural significance, thus, a well thought-out financial strategy and marketing plan is vital to secure its economic sustainability and that the facility must be brought back to a positive public perception.
She pointed out a public design competition must be conducted with the main objective of selecting and awarding the most suitable proposal to be used as the basis for the future design in the rehabilitation the convention facility.
According to her, the open design competition which will run for five months aims to find the best balance between preservation, modernization and costs to achieve the important results such as increased public interest in the structure and its current condition, a public discussion about its current use and future function, a fair and transparent competition leading to a widely acceptable result, and a design proposal selected based on professional assessment, as well as public opinion.
The Baguio Convention Center has been reputed to be the most modern and most spacious facility of its kind north of Manila. It has since been used for conventions, programs, conferences, graduations, and other types of indoor gatherings or activities requiring a large sitting capacity.
The convention facility sits on a 10,0000-square meter lot with over 3,000 square meters building footprint.
It will be recalled that the local government acquired ownership of the property from the State-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), paying over P316 million representing part of the cost of the purchase and the surcharges and penalties for the unpaid balance of the city that was incurred during the previous administration.
The local government will be offering the rewards for the top designs that will be chosen from submitted designs but this will be sourced out from private donors as the city’s funds for such purpose has not been included in the annual budget this year.
She remains optimistic that there will be a significant participation from interested designers so that the best design for the city’s convention facility could be chosen and used for such purpose. /By Dexter A. See#