Kevin Siy, a Bachelor of Science in Architecture graduate from the University of Sto. Tomas, was asked to present his thesis proposal on plans for rehabilitating the Manila Zoo to Manila Mayor, Isko Moreno. Last July 8, the two met and were able to agree on a shared dream of bringing Manila Zoo back to life, in the appropriate and sustainable way this time around. While no concrete plans have been laid, Kevin shares that Mayor Isko was highly receptive to his thesis plans and is considering it as a strong basis moving forward.
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Kevin’s thesis had the goal of making “Manila Zoo a prime tourist spot and center for education that will cater all people from different sectors.” He does this by proposing facilities which are much better suited to the animals than what was previously given and constructing a layout which is more open, allowing both animals and visitors to feel freer. On his Facebook post, he explains that these improvements were conceptualized after speaking to the staff at the zoo and multiple observations of the animals.
The design works to make the new-and-improved Manila Zoo a better place for all, and Kevin explains it does so in the following way:
One of the main purpose of the design I conceptualized is to enhance the state of living for the animals in the zoo. Like I have mentioned, my thesis is not just to make Manila zoo a prime tourist destination and center for education but at the same time to make it the best environment for the animals; a place that they can experience the great comfort they feel in their natural habitat. The issue of animals in captivity is usually one of the most pressing issues when maitaining facilities like a zoo. This is due to lack of proper maintenance and facilities that can accommodate the animals’ needs.
That is why I proposed this thesis project that can maximize the area with all the needs of the animals including feeding areas, wide space where they can roam around freely, and other facilities that can give the animals the proper care they need. I also introduced show areas and amphitheater to let the users and animals interact more.
The main driving force behind Kevin’s passion for the project was his nostalgia for a childhood that saw Manila Zoo in its prime and a desire to recreate that experience for many others. Memories made spending weekends and bonding with family in Manila Zoo has cemented his love for the place. He holds strong in his belief that “it was a happy place for most Filipinos and seeing it fade through time urged [him] to make it [his] thesis project.”
On his meeting with Mayor Isko he divulges that it was brief but showed they have a common goal for Manila Zoo which is to bring it back to its prime. While they have not gone into details as of yet, as it still under process, Mayor Isko was able to see the whole concept of the design and expressed a desire to use it as the basis for the redevelopment of the Manila Zoo.
Kevin also shares that the success of his thesis would not have been possible without a number of people and wished to show gratitude for them:
Thank you to my thesis adviser for his support Ar. Rogelio Caringal and for seeing me throughout my thesis journey and Ar. Cecille Villanueva for guiding me; for my juries Ar. Joseph Fernandez, Ar. Victoria Perez and Ar. Rodel del Rosario for sharing me their knowledge and comments that can help improve my thesis proposal and to my Alma Mater, The University of Santo Tomas, for providing the good quality of education I needed to help me prepare well in my chosen profession.