Owner: City of Baguio Project Donor: University of the Cordilleras
Burnham Park was originally envisioned by Arch. Daniel Burnham as a green park that would serve as the breathing lung of the city. Its location, that of being at the heart of the urban center made it more unique compared to other city parks around the world. As a green park located on a prime site chosen by Burnham himself, and considering its important role as a carbon sink and as an aquifer,it is but fit and proper that any design and planning initiatives shall retain such important features.
The master plan as proposed by the UC design team incorporated such features by applying "Green Architecture and Sustainable and OrganicApproach" in its planning and design. These were achieved by balancing environmental protection and development through the improvement of ratio between the built-up areas with that of the open space,preservation of existing trees and vegetation and their integration in the total design. Ecological concerns were also addressed by increasing permeable areas and providing more landscaping and green roofs to proposed support facilities in the park. Elements of green architecture like recycling and reuse were also taken into account to save on energy use and water consumption. Passive approach in the design of facilities was likewise incorporated to take advantage of natural lighting and ventilation.
The need for these facilities were determined by assessing park-user requirements and for practical reasons dictated by prevailing conditions and the need to adapt for future needs and requirements.
The main concept of the park were guided by inputs from previous Burnham Park summits initiated by the city through the former Burnham Park Management Authority (BPMA), inputs from the citizenry during previous exhibits held at SM and at Session Road during the previous Panagbenga, inputs during the Feb. 4 presentation attended by various NGO groups, media, professional groups, and city officials,park user interviews and guided by the UC principles of planning and design that it should be: user-friendly, ecologically balanced, with practical recreational options,aesthetically pleasing, and with the integration of culture and history.
Major areas comprising the master plan are the following:IgorotGarden, Rose Garden, Melvin Jones,Picnic Groves,Skating Rink,Athletic Bowl and Burnham Lake.
The Rose Garden area which serves as the gateway to the park was designed at the entrance in a manner befitting Arch. Daniel Burnham as the designer of the city. His monument located right at the entrance was provided with an ample spaceand elements that would serve to emphasize his importance to the city and the park's history. Its location gives it a sense of place and arrival. The central area was designed as an amphitheatre dictated by its unique terrain ideal for that purpose.
The IgorotPark shall retain its Cordilleran character with enhanced landscaping and increased area for common activities in the park like chess and dama games.Perfecto Street,which runs along the length of the park, will be pedestrianized and free from jeepney parking. This portion serves as the start of thatwalkable portion which was likewise adopted to the Juan Luna and Lake Drive areas.Turning these areas into pedestrian zones will encourage people to walk and be safe and free from accidents. On the other hand, the existing "turo-turo" area shall be turned into a two level restaurant with outdoor dining areas and decks that would give customers a panoramic view of the park aside from having a character that gives it a Cordilleran touch. Present number of concessionaires will be accommodated in the proposed structure which will have additional features of solar panels and green wall.
The Melvin Jones area shall have as its main elements two multi-level green parking buildings at both ends of the field (former Ganza and Solibao areas).These two structures shall alsoincorporate concession areas at the ground and second floor level with restaurants, roof garden and outdoor dining features. The concept adopted here was inspired by the famousBanaweRice Terraces that would give it an eye catching unique look and make it appear organic and "natural" to itsenvironment.These structures shall incorporate the elements of recycling and reuse through the provision of water harvesters that would impound or collect rainwater from the green roofs recycled for toilet's use and for landscaping requirements.Added features are proposed bleachers area around the vast multi-purpose field intended to provide comfort and convenience to spectators, jogging lanes were also added along Harrison Road and Lake Drive side with shaded picnic areas.
Picnic Groves 1 and 2 shall be enhanced and provided with additional landscape and attraction elements, prominent of which is a water cascade feature that would link the two picnic areas with a behind-the-water curtain access. Other features are viewing decks and pond at the base of the cascade which will offer a good photo-taking area with a landscaped logo of the City of Baguio as a backdrop.
Beside Picnic Grove 2 would be a tourist bus parking areas with a green parking building that would cater to parking requirements at the Athletic Bowl area. This building will also have concession areas like aconvenience store, Wi-Fi center, drivers lounge,etc. restaurant and a green roof for promenade and viewing decks. This parking building can accommodate 300 cars and 20 tourist busses.
Across this area is the skating rink that would bring back the open type style of its original design. Very prominent would be the roof, which will have an iconic form and material symbolic of the Baguio sunflower. It shall also incorporate skating area for kids and ample picnic areas with varying layouts and themes. Skate rental areas and snack stores are just located nearby.
The Athletic Bowl area shall be provided with an imposing entrance gateway featuring the latest in technology with its giant digital scoring screen. As a showcase for a modern facility, the Athletic Bowl shall be provided with additional bleachers catering for 17,000 spectators shaded under a tent and cable structure that symbolizes the perennial fog and imposing mountain ranges in the Cordillera.Close to bleachers in some areas would be playing areas for table sports like table tennis,etc.Under the bleachers are athletes' dormitories and support facilities like shower and locker rooms, and equipment and practice areas. A stage with VIP area is also provided beside the grandstands and accessible from a nearby parking area.
Close to the main entrance is a proposed gymnasium that integrates under its green roof the existing library building,parks and PTA offices.The new edifice will house an indoor basketball court,a ring for mixed martial arts and boxing, aside from a fitness gym and support facilities. One unique feature of this gymnasium is a tennis court located on top of the green roof which also symbolizes the rolling terrain of the city. Likewise, located outdoor is an area with bleachers for sepaktakraw and related sports.
The existing swimming pool building shall have its existing roof enhanced and provided with additional facilities.
The archery range shall likewise be improved to comply with accepted standards and features.
The Pine Trees of the World area with its existing trees and vegetation shall be preserved to live up to its name as an ecological sanctuary and camping areas. The friendship park shall be preserved and enhanced with landscaping elements and an amphitheatre shall be provided for outdoor lectures and literary and theatrical activities.
A multi-purpose building for seminars and exhibits with a restaurant and souvenir shops is proposed in that area fronting the Gov. Pack Road side. Its strategic location gives a sense of arrival from visitors coming from Marcos Highway and Kennon Road which for that reason makes it as an ideal reception place for tourists. Augmenting it isa six storey high viewing tower provided to give a panoramic and refreshing view of the entire Burnham Park.
Finally, the Burnham lake which serves as the heart of the park shall have as its main feature, the revival of the musical fountain with colorful lighting reminiscent of the past.Boating docks shall be redesigned and relocated at the corners to give it a new look and to maximize docking areas which will give it a more organized layout. Other new features are pocket gardens on its four corners symbolic of the different culture which created a big impact and contribution to the development of Baguio. These are the Cordilleran, American, Oriental and Contemporary-themed corner landscapes. Ramps shall take the place of stepped pathwalks not only in this area but also to all other areas, for it to be user-friendly to all park users including the elderly and specially-abled people.The existing biking lane area beside the lake shall be enhanced with an improved layout to make it safer and more conducive for bikers. The existing bike rental area and a proposed kids biking area shall be clustered on a portion of that area between the children's playground and the orchidarium.
To sum up,the proposed master development plan for Burnham Park has been conceptualized not only to reflect the colorful history and romanticism of the past, but also to adapt to the needs and requirements of the present and to be reflective of the future and for the enjoyment of generations to come.
Arch. Robert V. Romero, MAEHP Project Head-UC Burnham Park Design team