Looking up at the Tree of Life structure and dome which now covers the central courtyard of the adaptive reuse of the original Antonio Toledo-designed building, by Dominic Galicia Architects and Periquet Galicia, Inc.


The DNA of the National Museum of Natural History

Extra insights into past and present of the Natural History of Natural History adaptive reuse building

  • January 1, 2018

In this extended outline and supplement to the cover story of Volume 1, 2018, we reveal the National Museum of Natural History building’s past and present with:

  1. Original drawings of Department of Agriculture and Commerce building for the Bureau of Public Works;
  2. Archival photos of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce building;
  3. The final elevations for the National Museum of Natural History;
  4. Unrealized design ideas: wayfinder motifs;
  5. Structural analysis and development of the Tree of Life by Nippon Steel;
  6. More photos of the National Museum of Natural History as built.

 

1. Original drawings of Department of Agriculture and Commerce building by the Bureau of Public Works

Excerpts of the original drawings of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building by the Bureau of Public Works with Antonio Toledo as consulting architect. These drawings were reproduced to aid Dominic Galicia Architects and Periquet Galicia, Inc. in taking cues from Toledo’s intended expression of the architecture and informing the adaptive reuse design for today.

Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building Antonio Toledo drawing
First floor plan. Clockwise from top left: entrance and lobby (top left), records section room (top), property section room (right), vault for plans (bottom), vault for computation (left). Landscaping for central courtyard visible. Reproduction courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.
Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building Antonio Toledo drawing
Second floor plan. Clockwise from top left: Bureau of Forestry (top left and top), district land office (top right), file room/computation books (right), portico/lobby (bottom), fiber inspection service room (left). Reproduction courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.
Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building Antonio Toledo drawing
Section through main entrance and marble hall. Reproduction courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.
Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building Antonio Toledo drawing
Developed internal elevation drawing of marble hall. Original Toledo grillwork reemployed in the adaptive reuse design today, with marble finishes also reinstated. Reproduction courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.
Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building Antonio Toledo drawing
First floor hexagonal stairwell detail drawing. Reproduction courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.
Department of Agriculture and Commerce Building Antonio Toledo drawing
Detail section through hexagonal stairwell. Reproduction courtesy of Department of Public Works and Highways.

 

2. Archival photos of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce building

Here are a series of old historical photographs of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce building before and after World War II, and its post-war reconstruction as the Department of Tourism building.

National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
A photo of the Department of Agriculture taken shortly after completion before World War II. Image from Felice Sta. Maria.
National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
Escolta Street, Pasig River, Intramuros, Manila City Hall, Government buildings on the Luneta (Department of Finance and Department of Agriculture and Commerce buildings), Rizal Monument. (Vertical aerial reconnaissance photograph, Allied Geographical Section Southwest Pacific Area WWII Terrain Studies). Image courtesy of John Tewell.
War wreckage scars government section of Manila, Philippines, Feb. 1, 1946. Written on this photograph is: “Manila one year after Yanks re-entered. War wreckage scars government section of Manila, Philippines, Feb. 1, 1946. Building in center with the large grounds is the Commerce Building; behind and left of it is the Finance Building, and just above the Finance Building is Legislature Building and City Hall is above the Legislature Building.” (AP Wirephoto) Image courtesy of John Tewell.
National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
War-torn Agriculture and Commerce Building (1945). Image courtesy of John Tewell.
National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
War-torn Bureau of Commerce Building, east and southeast-facing in ruin (1945). Image courtesy of John Tewell.
National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
War-torn Bureau of Commerce Building, east and southeast-facing elevations collapsed (1945). Image courtesy of John Tewell.
National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
Rebuilding WWII damage (1949). Agriculture and Commerce (foreground), Finance and Legislative Buildings in stages of being rebuilt. Intramuros in left distance showing the building that were not demolished by 1949. Post Office building and Manila City hall on the right side. At bottom is Cathedral Church of St. Mary and St. John, and the tall white San Luis Terraces building. Notice that the east wall of Intramuros is almost all destroyed and gone. Photograph taken by a “Life” magazine photographer. Photographer: Jack Birns. Image is copyrighted by © Time Inc.
National Museum of Natural History Department of Agriculture and Commerce archival photo
The rebuilt Department of Agriculture building. Image from National Library Collection.

 

3. The final elevations for the National Museum of Natural History adaptive reuse design

The full set of charcoal elevation drawings by Dominic Galicia Architects.

National Museum of Natural History elevation drawing
North Elevation (Agrifina Elevation)
National Museum of Natural History elevation drawing
East Elevation (T. M. Kalaw Street-General Luna Street)
National Museum of Natural History elevation drawing
West Elevation
National Museum of Natural History elevation drawing
Northeast Elevation (General Luna Street)
National Museum of Natural History elevation drawing
South Elevation (T. M. Kalaw Street)

 

4. Unrealized design ideas: indigenous wayfinder motifs

The images below, courtesy of interior designers Periquet Galicia, Inc., show the unrealized ideas for wayfinders across the entire museum with indigenous depictions of the flora and fauna of the Philippines.

National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Left to right: Pattern tree (1200mm x 1200mm); pattern lizard accent tile at second floor passage; pattern turtle accent tile at second floor passage
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Indigenous motif wayfinder tiles for the fourth floor
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Left to right: fourth floor stair hall, fifth floor ramp landing, fifth floor stair hall
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Left to right: sixth floor stair hall or ramp landing, Maranao pattern (1200mm x 2400mm), Maranao pattern (2400mm x 1200mm)
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Ground floor passage with unrealized tree pattern motifs
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Group entrance porch with unrealized floor tile pattern
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder indigenous motif wayfinder
Group entrance hall with unrealized indigenous floor pattern
National Museum of Natural History wayfinder submarine exhibit diorama
Unrealized submarine coral exhibit with oceanic dioramas. The cavity for the submarine exhibit still remains for potential future realization.

 

5. Structural analysis and development of the Tree of Life by Nippon Steel

An exclusive outline of the development of the Tree of Life structure from Japanese engineers, Nippon Steel. Text is written by structural engineer, Tatsuhiko Natsuhara.

A. Structural concept

A hybrid system of a single layer shell and trusses is applied to the Tree of Life dome, in order to replicate the appearance of a tree branch and also make the structure as efficient as possible in order to minimize construction cost. The challenge was to locate the diagonals and lower chords to equally support the dome structure. The trusses, therefore, are arranged in both a radial direction and in a circumferential direction. To support the dome with high flexibility, the Nippon Steel truss system (Nippon Steel Technology) is adopted for the diagonals and lower chords.

National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life structure
Detail of Tree of Life structure: trunk, lower chords and diagonals (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life structure
Detail of Tree of Life structure: trunk, lower chords, diagonals and upper chords (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life structure
Detail of Tree of Life structure: radial arrangement of trusses (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life structure
Detail of Tree of Life structure: circumferential arrangement of trusses (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Looking up at the completed Tree of Life dome structure.

 

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B. Structural node connectors: 3D-modeling, 3D printed modeling, and fabrication of components

To create a spherical dome with diagrid system, the nodes of Tree of Life dome need to be connected by several elements, which all have different angles respectively. For this project, the upper chords and diagonals make connections to the nodes. There are many different types of connections. In order to ensure that the quality of the components are consistent, the fabrication process should be the same for all components. The challenge is in defining the detail concept for all the different types of connections.

It is also important to share this process with project team—including the architect, structural engineer, general contractor, and sub-contractors—at the early stages of the project. Nippon Steel adopts several methods to visualize the components, which include 3D-CAD modeling, 3D-printer modeling and a full-sized mock-up.

National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life structure
3D CAD model of one of the Tree of Life structural node connections (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life structure
3D-printed model of one of the structural node connections (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life fabrication
Fabricating a section of the steel ‘trunk’ of the Tree of Life (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life fabrication
Fabricating the steel node connectors for the Tree of Life (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life fabrication
Fabricating the ends of the chord members for the Tree of Life (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life fabrication
Assembling a node connector for the Tree of Life structure (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life fabrication
Assembling a node connector for the Tree of Life structure (image from Nippon Steel)
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Detail of the Tree of Life dome structure. Note the node connectors in between the chord members.
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Looking up at the completed lower chord members for the Tree of Life and the upper chords of dome structure.
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Detail of one type of Tree of Life node connectors.

 

C. Fifth floor curved bridge

The main structural challenge of the fifth floor curved footbridge is to prevent an uplift reaction force. To solve this issue, an additional outrigger support is applied, which helps locate the centroid of the curved bridge within the supports. The supports of the bridge are not horizontally fixed to the ramp structure, so the bridge needs a roller support solution. However, the fact that the roller supports are applied at the truss end of the bridge makes this a difficult structural solution. The difficulty is caused by the centroid of the curved bridge not located within the line between truss ends, and as a result, an uplift reaction force could occur. A roller support device preventing an uplift reaction force was considered an expensive solution for this project.

National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life bridge
Tree of Life fifth floor curved bridge: structural concept (image from Nippon Steel)

 

6. More photos of the National Museum of Natural History as built (photos by Ed Simon)

National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Tree of Life structure and dome and the central courtyard
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Detail of the Tree of Life structure and dome
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
Looking up the panoramic elevator shaft
National Museum of Natural History Tree of Life
The super moon as seen from the Tree of Life dome during BluPrint’s night at the museum
National Museum of Natural History grillwork
Original Antonio Toledo grillwork motifs
National Museum of Natural History grillwork
Original Antonio Toledo grillwork on the southeast elevation
National Museum of Natural History Ayala Hall
Light and shadow through the double-height windows and original grillwork in the Ayala Hall
National Museum of Natural History Ayala Hall
Ayala Hall
National Museum of Natural History group entrance lobby
The group entrance lobby where school and tour groups will be security checked and registered prior to entering the museum proper
National Museum of Natural History facade detail
Detail of the restored neo-classical Toledo-designed façades
National Museum of Natural History Dominic Galicia
Dominic Galicia, principal of Dominic Galicia Architects, sits in the central courtyard by the Tree of Life
National Museum of Natural History Tina Periquet
Tina Periquet, principal of Periquet Galicia, Inc., sits in the central courtyard by the Tree of Life
The full National Museum of Natural History cover story is featured in BluPrint Vol 1, 2018.