Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Vanessa B. Hidalgo

The original structure of the De La Salle University was built in the district of Paco, Manila by nine brothers from Europe and the United States on June 16, 1911. It housed 425 students in 1921 until the increase in student population made the brothers decide to move to its present location along Taft Avenue.

During World War II, the building was allowed to remain open because it was located in the outer edge of Manila. It served as a shelter for displaced civilians and wounded soldiers. Although repeated bombings severely damaged the building, classes went on and it even absorbed students from other schools which had been closed down.

Darkness fell in the corridors of the building on Feb. 1, 1945 when Japanese forces ordered the school occupants to vacate the building.

But Egbert Xavier Kelly, then president of the College, refused to do so. He went missing the next day and was never found. On Feb. 12 around noontime, 20 Japanese soldiers came to the campus and massacred 16 brothers who were residing there.

After the liberation of Manila, the school gained its foothold and continued growing since. Now, the DLSU campus has 19 buildings (nine classroom buildings and 10 other buildings) spread across the 5.45 hectares of land.

The St. La Salle Hall is a four-storey neoclassic­al architectu­re was the first structure in the campus. Designed by Tommy Mapua, the first Filipino registered Architect who also became the founder of Mapua Institute of Technology. The St. La Salle Hall is known to be “DLSU’s most historic building” being the first to house students of the College of Business and Economics. The building is also known to be the only Philippine structure mentioned in the book, 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You die: The World’s Architectu­ral Masterpiec­es.

Other buildings included the St. Joseph Hall, which was completed in 1956; Velasco Hall, which houses the College of Engineerin­g; and the Don Enrique T. Yuchengco Hall, a nine-storey building that has 20 classrooms and six conference rooms.

In 1980, the College of Ca- reer Developmen­t was establishe­d as a night school for working students. It was called the College of St. Benilde in 1988 and became autonomous in 1994. It is located near the DLSU main building.

The Bro. Andrew Gonzales Hall is the tallest academic building in the country. It stands 21-storeys high, has a to- tal area of 28,000 square meters, and has more than 100 classrooms.

On Dec. 2, 2010, constructi­on of the De La Salle Centennial Hall commenced as part of the University’s Centennial Renewal Plan. The 15-floor building cost P1.4 billion with Henry Sy Sr., chair and founder of SM Corp., donating a total of P300 million to fund the constructi­on. Hence, the building was named after him.

World renowned architectu­ral firm Leandro V. Locsin Partners designed the main concept of the Centennial Hall as a “habitable tree in the middle of a forest clearing.” The interiors were designed by Asuncion-Berenguer Inc. It is the only academic structure to receive the Philippine­s’ Berde Standard wherein sustainabl­e design is at the core of the building.

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