Design

IN PHOTOS: A Final Look at the Glory of the PhilAm Life Theater

The PhilAm Theater is currently being dismantled.
IMAGE Gerard Lico
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The Philam Life Auditorium is now being demolished. The site will become part of the many development projects under SMDC.

The 780-seat theater was designed by architect Carlos D. Arguelles, who also designed the Philippine National Bank Building in Escolta and DBP Building in Makati. In 2013, after acquiring the theater, SMDC vowed to preserve it. 

Photos of its dismantling went viral on Facebook on August 4. 

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“SMDC stressed that the complete theater including all its elements and most especially its acoustics will be preserved. This will be done in close consultation with the country’s music, acoustics, and design experts” SMDC said in a statement in 2013. 

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We are not sure what will happen to the theater or how SMDC plans to preserve its state. But thanks to the photos taken by Architect Gerard Lico, we get a final glimpse at the glory that was once the country’s premier performance stage. 

"I had the rare privilege to have the last look at the iconic Philam Life Building, a mid-century opus by Carlos Arguelles, prior to its ongoing transformation," said Lico. 

According to Lico, the theater was decorated with continuous panels of carved wood relief and lacquer, which was 1,536 centimeters long. It depicts episodes drawn from Philippine life and folklore.

"Executed by wood carving maestro Jose Alcantara, the wall relief was transferred to the National Museum in 2019," said Lico. See more of the PhilAm Life Theater below.

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Photo by Gerard Lico.

Photo by Gerard Lico.
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Photo by Gerard Lico.

Photo by Gerard Lico.
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Photo by Gerard Lico.

Photo by Gerard Lico.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Photo by Gerard Lico.

Photo by Gerard Lico.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Photo by Gerard Lico.

Photo by Gerard Lico.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Photo by Gerard Lico.

Photo by Gerard Lico.
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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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