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Aside from being the home the Oblation, the Quezon Hall is the front-most building of the university from the University Avenue. It houses many of the administrative offices for the entire university.
After the transfer of University of the Philippines from Padre Faura, Manila to Diliman, Quezon City, four buildings were initially built: Palma Hall, Melchor Hall, Gonzalez Hall and Quezon Hall, which was formerly called as the Administration Hall, built in 1950.
For 5 years, the Palma Hall was the seat of the administration. The central administration was then transferred to the Administration Hall. During the term of President Carlos P. Garcia, the hall was refurbished and a flagpole was installed on it. It was on August 3, 1962 when a Philippine flag was first flown. After a year, it was renamed to Quezon Hall in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon.
On September 26, 1984, the North wing of the Hall where the office of the UP President was located was razed by fire. Because of that, Executive House was established to serve as residence for the UP Presidents.
Since January 1986, the hall became the seat of twin fulcrums of power: Central Administration on the North wing and UP Diliman Administration on the South wing. Because of that, it became a rally ground for students who demanded for greater subsidy and other concerns, and even workers who demanded for salary increase.
The Quezon Hall was designed by Juan Nakpil, our first National Artist for Architecture. He was recognized as “a pioneer of modern Philippine architecture,” who has contributed immensely to the present state and form of Philippine modern architecture. The hall is buttressed by huge pillars reminiscent of neoclassical architecture. Another feature of the building is its open portico which provides a view to the amphitheatre on the opposite side of the Oblation complex. According to what I have learned in our Architectural History class, Juan Nakpil based the peristyle concept of the Quezon Hall to the work of architect Eliel Saarinen at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It was also neoclassic in style since it was established in the United States during the height of classic revival in the early 1900s. However, Juan Nakpil added some details to make it genuine. These neoclassic remnants were also evident in the other buildings of the campus like the library or Gonzalez Hall, the College of Engineering or Melchor Hall and its mirror image, the College of Liberal Arts or Palma Hall. Being the main structures of the campus, these buildings possess power as shown by the grandeur of its scale and overall Hellenistic fashion (Defeo 2000). Another interesting system Juan Nakpil has applied is the installment of floor glass blocks to provide natural light in the basement rooms of the building.
Defeo, Ruben D.F. The Diliman Campus Then and Now, Sites and Symbols: UP Diliman Landmarks. Quezon City: Office of the Chancellor-UP Diliman, 2000.
Juan F. Nakpil & Sons, architects & engineers : 30th anniversary. Manila : Carmelo & Bauermann, 1957n.