metrobank art and design excellence - 2014

Our team was chosen as a National Finalist in the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Architecture Competition for 2014. The competition tackled the potential of creating a structure that serves as a civic art structure and as a cultural hub in the middle of a Central Business District. The challenge was to envision a structure where museum, cultural, and civic center merge as one.

We, Filipinos, are generally known to be hospitable.


But Filipino hospitality goes beyond physical interactions. Our hospitality focuses on the experience of our visitors. How we envelop them with our culture.


The design for the Manila Arts + Culture Center, located in Bonifacio Global City, focuses on the complete experience that Filipinos provide for our guests. It introduces and immerses the visitors to the local culture of the community. Dubbed as “Arko”, the civic center steers individuals into the inner workings of the community, showcasing the different characteristics found within.


The design for "Arko" is inspired by the traditional Filipino Baranggay Gateway. These gateways act as physical markers of space and as platforms for communities to exhibit their culture. One can quickly take note of the local factors that influenced the design of each gateway: regional material availability, preferred method of construction, and local symbolisms.


The design for “Arko” is defined by taking into consideration the different elements found on site. Pedestrian traffic paths, vehicular traffic networks, and important vistas were utilized to establish the form that creates a seamless flow of people and vehicles in and around the site.

The structure capitalizes on the honest tectonic expression of the arch. The light sculpted steel structural members become enticing architectural elements.  The form sets it aside from its urban neighbours but maintains it transparency, porosity, and openness. The green roof touches the ground making it an accessible extended public space. Moreover, the integration of the weaved outer skin allows it to become more culturally relatable while addressing sunlight considerations.


The space planning opens up a multitude of possibilities for different activities. An urban room or open hall is introduced and is the focal point of the civic center experience.  This area accommodates a multitude of events, functions, performances and activities. The space is flexible; on some occasions, it can house installation arts and sculptures which can be viewed by pedestrians passing through the space while on other instances performance artists can interact with the public.


“Arko” acts as a guide: it gives everyone the chance to fill up the center with their own activities, their own culture. “Arko” introduces and immerses.


The structure will provide the venue.

The people will give it meaning.

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