Our individual experiences of the Philippine International Convention Center are most likely limited to a college graduation, a concert or two, and that’s that. Occasions so big and loud and full of people, the building becomes really nothing but any old structure with a roof to keep us safe in case it rains.
A pity, really, because the PICC is one of the most sublime architectural gifts we need to be looking at without the distraction and interference of a million students wearing graduation gowns. And as with most sublime things, it must experienced, or at least listened to and meditated on.
Recently, the photographer and @brutalistpilipinas founder Patrick Kasingsing had the great privilege of walking its divine halls and walkways on the invitation of the PICC itself (and the people currently running the institution, of course). “Without the crowds, trappings and pageantry it is usually associated with,” says Kasingsing.
The result of that visit can now be seen in his @brutalistpilipinas, and the photographer’s deep admiration for the magnificence of the Leandro Locsin work is clear in each picture, from his snaps of the austere and low entrance leading towards the spectacle of its lobby and grandeur of its halls.
And then there are his pictures of its exterior. The photographer’s favorite spot is the cantilevered floor that connects the Reception Hall to the Delegation Building. “This location is where I often start my shoots,” he says. “A place where both Locsin’s respect for the human scale and penchant for simple but bold gestures are in full view.”
Through Kasingsing’s pictures, we learn that we’ve never actually really seen this stupendous 70,000 sqm complex before. And we’re glad to have seen it through his eyes.
Meanwhile, we also wanted to know what’s going on in there at the PICC at the moment. It turns out it’s preparing to celebrate its 45th anniversary this September, and you’ll be glad to know it’s being taken care of.
1) How has the PICC been during the pandemic? Are you opening it to the public? Or has it been open all along?
The PICC remained open even during the ECQ period as government offices within the PICC Complex (the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Professional Regulation Commission) continued to provide services to the general public.
When MECQ was declared in June 2020, all of the other government agencies holding office at the PICC Complex such as the National Privacy Commission, Senate Electoral Tribunal and PICC itself resumed full operations. Hence, the Center has been open for business since then.
We have also hosted small meetings of government agencies and re-engineered physical and technical arrangements based on approved restrictions relative to the conduct of mass gatherings. We are currently accepting bookings and inquiries for future events.
2) How are you maintaining the building?
We have been cleaning and maintaining our meeting rooms and facilities regularly, as if we are fully operational. We have also taken advantage of the lull in our event calendar by undertaking new constructions, major repairs and renovations, such as replacement of carpets, conversion of air conditioning to the latest technology, installation of additional ramps for PWDs, and construction of new fire exits as well as new offices for lease.3) What can we look forward to from the PICC in the coming months?
We have been busy preparing our Center for the new normal in events since last year. We have procured and installed equipment relative to safety and sanitation. We are also improving our equipment and connectivity relative to digitization so that we can fully support our clients' requirements for virtual and hybrid events. Meanwhile, we await the IATF's new directives on mass gatherings and look forward to the easing of restrictions so that we can start confirming bookings.
PICC's 45th anniversary is on September 5 and we hope that by then, we will be able to celebrate it with our clients and host their events once again.
For more photos of the PICC, check out @brutalistpilipinas on Instagram.