It’s back-to-school once again! And in keeping with the current “happening”, we’re featuring our schools, UP Diliman and Ateneo University, in a different light, showing off their artsy side. Apart from being two of the Philippines’ top universities, both are also venues for noted works in art and architecture. Today, we’ll take a peek at UP Diliman’s campus.
I have always thought of UP as a prestigious school with a pleasant environment because of its trees. It was only after I went through Ana’s photos of the campus when I realized that UP is like one huge museum, displaying works from several National Artists in both art and architecture. Two spots that stand out are the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, commonly referred to as the UP Chapel, and the Quezon Hall or the administration building.
Designed by National Artist for architecture Leandro Locsin, the 1950s modernist UP Chapel is the country’s first church with a circular layout and the first structure with a thin-shell concrete dome architecture. Unlike most churches that are enclosed, the chapel is basically open except for the slanted columns and wall segments that provide partial enclosure to the interior space. The whole perimeter above the walls is also open for indirect natural lighting and passive cooling through the stack effect.
Together with Leandro Locsin, there are three other National Artists that are “on display” in the Chapel. The unusual ceiling-mounted, two-sided crucifix and altar table were made by Napoleon Abueva (a distant relative, I’m proud to say!), a National Artist for sculpture and the Father of modern Philippine sculpture. The wall murals depicting the stations of the cross were done by Vicente Manansala and Ang Kiukok, while the floor pattern entitiled The River of Life was made by Arturo Luz, all three being National Artists for painting.
Another art site is the imposing American colonial structure of Quezon Hall where the famous Oblation statue can be found. Designed by Juan Nakpil, another National Artist for architecture who is also recognized as the pioneer of modern Philippine architecture, Quezon Hall features neoclassic details like its symmetrical façade and tall classical fluted columns but minus the typical capital and base.
The UP Oblation, on the other hand, was by Guillermo Tolentino, another National Artist for sculpture. A statue of a naked man, the Oblation has always been synonymous with UP, representing its ideals of selfless dedication and service to the nation.
On your next visit to UP, take time to go to these sites, as well as the other buildings along the academic oval, for an unconventional Philippine art tour. -ardel
Tags: ang kiukok, arturo luz, napoleon abueva, oblation, parish of the holy sacrifice, philippine architecture, quezon hall, university of the philippines
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