A Peek at the New Army and Navy Club

It’s been a long time since the Urban Roamer talked about the Army and Navy Club. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Since then, things have quieted down a bit, especially after the controversy that erupted regarding this building more than a couple of years ago.

Now, it seems the work on the renovation/restoration (sort of) of the Army and Navy Club is almost complete and we can finally what has been done to the building, for the most part at least. Was the work faithful to the original structure? Were there any abominable changes made? Let’s find out.

First things first, the edifice has been kept largely intact so it still basically retained the same layout as the original Army and Navy Club building. It is also noticeable that the trees that used to cover the structure have mostly been removed, or maybe it’s just the leaves that grew so much that it covered the structure, have been removed. Those people can now better appreciate its architecture.

With that said, the renovated Army and Navy Club made one significant change over the original, at least from what can be observed on the facade. It is that the second level windows are smaller compared to the original. To give you a better idea, below is the photo of the original Army and Navy Club:

image courtesy of NHCP Historic Sites blogspot site

And here is the renovated building:

From what I’ve gathered, the change was made so there will not be too much sunlight coming in to the building which would generate more heat than needed. Especially now in the time of climate change when the temperatures are now higher than they were a century ago. Honestly, while I understand that reasoning, maybe there could have been other ways to go with this. They could at least made the windows a bit bigger like somewhere between the original size and what we got today as a compromise. Instead the small windows somewhat “cheapens” the building, given its legacy. Then again, that’s just a cranky heritage geek talking.

Another thing that caught this roamer’s attention is the ongoing construction of a building at the back of the Army and Navy Club. I cannot be certain if this building will serve as a expansion of the original structure or if this structure is actually of the United States Embassy complex which is actually just behind the building. Perhaps some of you may know.

For now, I will withhold final judgment with regards to the work done to this building until it opens to the public. Unfortunately, no specific date has been given as to when that will be. For now though, the work so far has been interesting and the developers strived to stay true to the building’s architecture and history, for the most part at least. This makes it more interesting to see what the new Army and Navy Club Building has to offer once it reopens to the public.



The Continuing Story of the Army and Navy Club

I was to give this matter a rest for a while, but then this recent news item was enough for me not only to revisit the issue but also perhaps reconsider my earlier views on the matter.

photo courtesy of Rappler from the office of Sen. Pia Cayetano

Apparently, the developer, Oceanville Properties, tampered with the main building itself and not just the ancillary buildings that it earlier promised to only do and without the presentation of the final plans the developer promised to present. Thus, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines issued a cease and desist order against further works to be done in the building, pending the presentation of the final plans as was first promised. Continue reading


The Question of the Army and Navy Club

In recent days, there was so much buzz about a beloved Manila structure, the Manila Army and Navy Club. Apparently, there has been some activity going on in the area as it looked like there was part of the building that is going to be taken down. For a city that is still reeling from the loss of a number of heritage structures, not to mention the existing ones being endangered, questions and concerns have arisen: what is going on at the Army and Navy Club? Why is there a secrecy it seems? Is it going to be demolished as well?

courtesy of Coconuts Manila

We cannot blame people from expressing these thoughts and concerns as there was actually not much news about this structure before this development. The news itself came as a surprise which few saw coming. But what is the real status right now of this structure? Is it really in danger? But before we get any further, I suppose it is appropriate for us to learn the story of this particular landmark, especially for us to understand better the circumstances it is facing right now. Continue reading