The nearly century old Gotiaoco building across Cebu City Hall was declared a historical landmark by the City Council in its session last Wednesday.
According to the approved ordinance, the structure built in 1914 in M. C. Briones Avenue will be conserved and used only to promote cultural heritage.
“There is a need to support the efforts of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC) in declaring properties in Cebu City that have historical significance to help promote heritage conservation,” said the ordinance authored by Councilor Margot Osmeña.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and prominent Cebuano Chinese families wanted the building, which sits on land owned by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to be used as a museum for Chinese heritage.
The building in barangay Sto. Niño was formerly used as a warehouse and office of the city government’s market operations division since it is located near Carbon public market.
It was declared uninhabitable after the Feb. 6, 2012 earthquake. Engr. Ariel dela Cruz, the city’s structural consultant, said cracks appeared in the building’s concrete walls and columns. Rama ordered the building vacated.
“CHAC acted on the request of the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Foundation Museum to declare the Gotiaoco Building as a heritage site based on its architectural and engineering structure as well as its historical significance,” the ordinance read.
The foundation, which plans to set up a museum, took over the lease of the property after it was vacated by City Hall offices. It envisions a showcase for the preservation, and promotion of Chinese-Cebuano heritage and culture.
The United Architects of the Philippines – Sugbu Chapter said the Gotiaoco building is the first building of Cebu that was installed with an elevator and the “last best example of neo-classical architecture present in Cebu.”
Pedro Gotiaoco, a Chinese trader from Fookien province in China had the building constructed in 1914. It was one of the first commercial buildings in the city. “The structure has a touch of neo-classic, American period architecture which is evidenced by its arcaded facades, a window proportion that partakes of the golden mean and a heavily set-reinforced concrete outer shell,” the ordinance said. Correspondent Edison delos Angeles