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This Hotel is Broken: The Albergo Diffuso Applied to the Historical District of Calle Real
The City of Iloilo is one of the top tourist destinations and most progressive cities in the Philippines. At its core lies the Downtown Central Business District, one of the two remaining heritage conservation areas in the country. Its buildings date back to the 19th century, exhibiting various styles from the Spanish to American colonial periods. Although its streets are still bustling with life today, most of the buildings are underutilized with only selected areas occupied by different businesses. Such buildings create a heavy atmosphere which can discourage visitors and drive out potential businesses, stagnating the community’s growth.
To counter the problem of vacancy, the project patterns the Italian phenomenon, Albergo Diffuso, which literally means “dispersed or scattered hotel” – a hotel that provides accommodation and other services in rooms located in separate, existing buildings in a historic center. While the services are separated, it still functions as a whole wherein visitors are encouraged to explore instead of staying in one structure. The uninhabited areas in the host community will accommodate tourists while integrating them with the locals.
The dispersed hotel will consist of six buildings located along the district’s main street and the historic heart of Iloilo, Calle Real.
The Villanueva Building (1927) is the most iconic building in Calle Real and was known as the International Hotel as it catered to foreign guests. To give tribute to its previous use, it will offer deluxe and suite rooms and its own restaurant. Beside it is the Divinagracia Building (1913), whose former ownership by two families resulted in its facade being split into two. It will offer deluxe rooms and a cafe on its roof deck.
Beside the Divinagracia is the Hoskyn’s Building (1877), the first department store and the first to introduce the “fixed price” policy in the country. The building will serve as the hotel’s one-stop shop for local finds.
A pedestrian overpass will connect the Hoskyn’s to the Javellana Building (1922), which was gutted out by a fire but was later restored due to its prime location. For the same reason, it will serve as the core where the central lobby is located along with amenities, such as a salon and a rooftop pool overlooking Calle Real. Beside it is the Iloilo Central Trading Building, whose upper floors will be repurposed into luxurious rooms and its topmost floor into an indoor-outdoor bar.
At the end of the strip is the Regent Arcade (1928) which was known as the Cine Palace and the last remaining standalone theater in the city. It will serve as the cultural hub of the hotel with a theater restaurant.
The buildings in Calle Real are witnesses to the story of Iloilo and are avenues for social and economic growth. By contributing to the revitalization of the district, tourists and locals will exhibit a greater appreciation of the culture and the existing community life is enlivened, therefore continuing its story.
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