Manila City Hall
|Manila City Hall|
The Manila City Hall as seen from Padre Burgos Avenue
|Location||Corners of Taft Avenue, Padre Burgos Avenue and Villegas Street, Ermita, Manila, Philippines|
|Owner||City government of Manila|
|Management||City government of Manila|
|Design and construction|
|Developer||City government of Manila|
Manila City Hall is located in the historic center of Ermita, Manila bounded by Natividad Almeda López Street to the north, Mayor Antonio Villegas Road to the east, and by Taft Avenue and Padre Burgos Avenue to the west. Originally, it was a part of a new government center envisioned by Daniel Burnham, which is now Rizal Park. Other buildings in this complex are the Old Congress Building, which nowadays is the home of the National Museum of the Philippines, Museum of the Filipino People, and the Department of Tourism Building.
Aside from giving time and direction, it is where Manila’s mayor holds office and from whose office emanates the official acts, decisions, projects. It houses some of the departments and offices in the City of Manila.
The Manila City Hall during 1901 was made up of Oregon-pine which covered one third of the area used by the current building. After 31 years of occupancy, City Engineer Santiago Artiaga suggested to reinforce the floor of the weakened structure supporting the session hall used by the municipal board and avoid the accommodation of too many people along the corridors and in the hallway.
In 1941, right before the destruction of Manila, a City Hall of a national capital was constructed. This was designed by Antonio Toledo, the same architect who built the Finance Building and Old Legislative Building which are both adjacent to the new City Hall. It was immediately destroyed by the war in February 1945. With the aid of the United States Army and the city government, the new 8,422 square meter-City Hall was built which included around 200 rooms and uniform windows on all of the facade. It added an east wing which accommodated other offices.
The building sits on a trapezoidal shape of the lot in between the Legislative and Post Office buildings. Due to the monotony of the building envelope, one cannot distinguish the principal facade from the main entrance properly. The south entrance has a balcony emphasized by three arches resting on Corinthian columns while the north entrance has the same design treatment but has pediments and a tall, hexagonal clock tower capped by a dome.
All the trees inside and around the vicinity of the City Hall were planted by Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing during the early seventies.
The clock tower, also designed by Antonio Toledo which was completed during the 1930s is the largest clock tower in the Philippines. It stands out during nighttime when the whole of the tower lights up. Every hour, they rung the bell three times continued by a melody. It has now become the icon for the city of Manila.
During its heyday, the Manila City Hall was criticized because of monotony, lack of entrances and the clock tower location. But after years of its continued existence, the critics praise the design for its original intent. As other people may view it as a casket when seen from an aerial standpoint, it was intentionally formed to look like a shield of the Knights Templar which symbolized that the country is under the influence and protection of the Roman Catholic Church.
The City Hall is the main administrative building and houses the local government of the city of Manila. The following departments are housed and provide their services from the city hall:
- General Management
- Revenue Generation
- Legal or Public Safety
- Infrastructure and Sanitation
- Public Welfare Service
- Media Bureau
- Electronic Data Processing Team
- Emergency Team
- Police Assistance
The City Hall is open to the public from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday.
- de la Torre, Visitacion (1981). Landmarks of Manila: 1571-1930. Makati: Filipinas Foundation, Inc. pp. 19–20.
- Lico, Gerard (2008). Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines. Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press. p. 291. ISBN 978-971-542-579-7.
- "Historical Landmarks: Manila City Hall". Manila..gov.ph. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Manila City Hall". Manila, Philippines. Yahoo! Travel. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
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