Our buildings are like hearts; they take in life and they breathe out life
The 10-story PWD-ready The Atrium @ Benilde, the fourth academic building and newest campus of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, has recently been inaugurated. The building was constructed in pursuit of the community of Christian Brother’s mission to provide innovative education and a safe learning environment.
“Amid the challenges and darkness of the past year, we need to be reminded that we are children of light; that we bring God’s light to those who live in darkness,” Benilde president Br. Edmundo Fernandez FSC said in his welcome remarks.
“We bless The Atrium @ Benilde in the midst of an extremely challenging time. May it always remind us of the hope and the light we carry in our hearts. I pray that it will always be a safe place for learners and a home for all bearers of light.”
“It is fitting that we are naming our building Atrium – chamber of the heart – for we see our students and our teachers as the blood that give life to the school.”
“Into our campuses they enter and depart and it is in our campuses where learning takes place, where formation happens, where values are learned, where lifelong relationships are made. Our buildings are like hearts; they take in life and they breathe out life,” he added.
The Atrium @ Benilde was built on the property of the late Br. Rafael Donato FSC and his family, through their generous support. Br. Fernandez extended his genuine appreciation to Ernest and Josie Rufino and Oscar and Connie Lopez, whose assistance has been invaluable in the construction of the Chapel of St. Benilde.
The edifice, on the corners of Arellano and Ayala Streets in Malate, Manila, was designed by award-winning architect Daniel Lichauco, the principal and managing partner of Archion Architects, and was constructed by D.M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI), a pioneer in advanced engineering technology.
Lichauco called The Atrium @ Benilde an environmental forced air structure. “It is a heat stack that allows all public spaces to be naturally ventilated using Bernoulli’s Principle of Fluid Dynamics,” he stated. “With balcony openings in every floor, we are not just drawing air from the bottom of the Atrium but also from the sides.”
“It was designed as a campus in a building where students can learn both inside and outside the classrooms,” he added. “The ground floor is also open to the public and it promotes the responsibility and desire of the institution to interact with its community.”
The ceilings of the corridors and classrooms are equipped with materials that absorb noise. “It makes sure that the classrooms are pleasant to be in and that the students can hear and understand their teachers well,” Lichauco explained.
The structure promotes out-of-classroom interaction reminiscent of the traditional quadrangles. It features a number of alternative learning areas and student lounges to address the needs of academic spaces and facilities while allowing flexibility of function for activities beyond regular classes.
The building features escalators every two floors, which are designed to deload the elevators.
The center will house The School of Diplomacy and Governance (SDG), School of Management and Information Technology (SMIT) and School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPaCE), plus various departments, offices and conference rooms, as well as initiative learning studios, classrooms and its own Learning Resource Center (LRC) dedicated to the students of the Benilde Deaf School (BDS).