Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, boasts of a rich and colorful past. From the oldest Chinatown in the world to Escolta which was known as Asia's Wall Street, Manila is filled with historic sites and buildings that provide a glimpse to the country’s vibrant past when it was distinguished as the Pearl of the Orient Seas. But as newer, shinier communities appear around the metro, many of these historic structures became neglected with the passage of time.
Despite laws that protect historic buildings, the substantial cost of restorations proves to be a huge hurdle for owners wanting to bring old structures back to their former glory. This leaves many to go for the easy, less costly route: demolishing and replacing old buildings with modern facilities. Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp., however, decided to take the more challenging path when it decided to retrofit its first Pioneer House in Escolta to make it more efficient, sustainable and ecofriendly.
Built in the 1960s, Pioneer House Manila remains as a relevant property in Escolta, but it has shown signs of old age over the years. Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp.’s passion for environment conservation drove the company to embark on a project that will extend and revitalize the building. As part of the extension, Pioneer incorporated to its new facade what remained from the adjacent pre-war Hamilton Building, giving the first reinforced concrete building in the Philippines and Pioneer House a new lease in life.
The transformation of Pioneer House Manila into a high-performance and healthy building while also integrating a century-old structure was a complex task that required the collaboration of various stakeholders to ensure success. Arcadis, as the project team's Environmental Sustainability Consultant, provided Pioneer Insurance with full technical support to guarantee that its sustainability goals were established and realized. We also worked as the project Cost Consultant where we helped the client obtain value for the money and time it invested in this meaningful project.
This challenging endeavor that aimed to seamlessly weave the old and new together resulted in a LEED Gold building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2019. Once completed, Pioneer House Manila will be the first reinforced concrete building that features environmentally sustainable designs such as water-efficient sanitary fixtures that can lower potable water consumption by 45%, energy-saving building systems that reduce annual energy use by 34% and a fully functional bicycle facility, among others.
And equally important as its sustainability benefits, the new Pioneer House Manila also gives the gift of history, culture and heritage to future generations. It provides a sense of place and identity by immortalizing in its structure an important link to the city's storied and vibrant past.