5 October 2017 — The McMicking Memorial and Plaza, designed by Leandro V. Locsin Partners (LVLP), was unveiled yesterday by Ayala Land at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.
The Memorial commemorates the pioneering achievements of Colonel Joseph McMicking and Mercedes Zobel-McMicking, who catalyzed the development of post-war Makati and transformed the area into a prime setting for economic growth. The rise of the community of Makati through the Ayala Corporation, as a result, had a significant knock-on effect for the entire country in attracting big business.
It is the first public art project LVLP have completed, made more unique by a collaboration from an unlikely source. The contractor, Asia Pacific Marine, who are known for building boats, were appointed for their precise craftsmanship and engineering expertise.
The Memorial portal is constructed out of weathered steel, which appears to rise up from a shallow pool of water at the end of an axial vista beginning at the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza. The solidity of the structure and the water is a reference to built structures that have arisen from previously natural land over time. The ‘lightstream’, visually linking the Memorial to its counterpart water feature at the opposite end of the plaza, symbolizes a continuum between visionaries and successors, the past and the present, and thus, the present and the future.
LVLP states, “The portal and water represent the union of Col. and Mrs. McMicking, a partnership that brought together the ingredients of visionary resolve and deep humanity that resulted in something much greater than the sum of its individual parts.”
Speaking at a preview of the Memorial, Andy Locsin likened the artistic collaboration to conversations between great modern Filipino architects and artists of a bygone era, when a holistic cross-pollination of creative ideas took place—a dialogue, which he claims, has somewhat been lost since the 1980’s as professions have become more specialized. The success of the partnership has inspired LVLP to pursue future projects of a similar ilk.
The architects look forward to seeing the serendipity of public encounters at the memorial being played out. “The general public is enjoined to play, walk, splash, and run through the cooling and illuminating sheets of water and light as a reminder that ultimately, the spirit of a place is by, for, and about people,” says Andy Locsin.
It is worth noting that Ayala Land strives to incorporate a public plaza as part of any new development. Decades of growth in Makati have set an example of how to establish a development model for the benefit of the nation. The McMicking Memorial and Plaza is a timely, monumental reminder of where these visions began right at the heart of Makati.
Photographed by Lawrence Carlos