BY FIEL ESTRELLA
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NIKKI BONUEL
With many an office trading in your run-of-the-mill corporate setting for an environment that’s much more open to creativity and collaboration, it was only a matter of time before the world of academia caught on.
Ateneo de Manila University’s Areté—a new hub for its School of Humanities that takes its name from the Greek word for excellence—is a three-story ode to art, technology, and ingenuity. In addition to being a haven for students of liberal arts and sciences, it is also the newfound home of a more spacious Ateneo Art Gallery, where professors may even opt to hold classes in the exhibition rooms for the ultimate visual aid.
The futuristic new building, which will be fully operational in February 2018, will have a theater hall with 900 seats and a more low-key black box theater that holds 250 people. Facilities include studios and rehearsal spaces, as well as the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Sandbox Zone, a “playground” for students of the Ateneo and other universities to explore ideas and work together. Tables may even be mixed and matched to fit together according to the needs of the individual or the group. Even more interesting is a fully operational kitchen—not for a cafeteria of some sort, but for the new Restaurant Entrepreneurship program, a partnership between culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
The Ateneo Art Gallery opened to the public in October and recently held two exhibits, “Mutable Truths: Perspectives in Philippine Contemporary Art,” featuring works from Poklong Anading, Martha Atienza, Lyle Buencamino, Charles Buenconsejo, Buen Calubayan, Marina Cruz, Kawayan De Guia, Leeroy New, Mark Salvatus, and Ronald Ventura, and “Ateneo Art Awards 2017,” featuring works from the winners in the recent 2017 Ateneo Art Awards. On-site through January 2018 is Mark Justiniani’s traveling installation “The Settlement,” a part of his Infinity series that plays around with space and illusion and revolves around Philippine history and today’s turbulent times, earlier exhibited at the Ayala Museum as part of Art Fair Philippines 2017’s 10 Days of Art.
A major feature of the Areté is its bridgeway, which stands for its goal to bring art and innovation together. With unprecedented learning experiences and opportunities that pave the way for unique ideas, insights, and appreciation, there’s just no limit to what could come next.