The design concept of the proposed master plan for the Talamban Campus is aimed at steering the University of San Carlos towards higher quality education, such that expansion and development is inevitable for future progressions. The layout is certainly aimed at catering to USC members’ need for further comfort in a more accessible, high standard and environmentally friendly institution integrating green architecture practices upon which students, professors and occupants alike are to experience a university conducive for education. Its concept is to provide a campus that is flexible to any future developments while the unity and rationality of the entire university remains intact.
Guided with a grand axis perpendicular to Gov. M.J Cuenco St. and passing through the entire developed part of the university grounds, it is then characterized into two main parts: the lower campus and the upper campus upon which security and privacy purposes such as gates, check points and main entry to the academic area are to be located between the two divisions.
The lower campus basically comprises the more public areas. It is to be situated around the University Garden, the primary feature aligned with the axis. It is then contemplated to be a flaunting and embellished landscaped garden that will serve as a “front yard” of the campus. Located to the right of the garden is to be an area allocated for a proposed hotel and alumni center while on the left is to be the Bunzel building proposed as a commercial mall provided with offices on the upper floors.
Moving forward along the axis will be the Administration building located right in front of the garden. This edifice is then visualized to be built on a pilot is creating an open ground floor that will serve as a reception and exhibit area, exposing the vista of the axis.
The upper campus where the academic sector is to be established begins from the University Commons which is located right after the Administration building. The Commons is to be a less flamboyant landscaped garden that leads the axis to the base of the hill, where the Sts. Arnold and Joseph Church is located to the left; and to the right the Arnoldus Science Complex (Science and Math Building) and the Philip van Engelen (CAS) Building accessible and connected to the Commons making use of walks, stairs and ramps as it is to be provided.
The Commons is actually to be found in the lower elevations of the campus, at this junction where the axis intersects the base of the hill is where the University Piazza will be located. “The [sic] Piazza is said to be a circular platform raised on stilts that will serve as the main dining facility of the campus” (Author of quoted statement). So, the axis of this juncture will be elevated perpendicularly to the level of the University Avenue pivoting its axis towards the Academic Plaza, where pedestrians may access the Piazza through a scenic elevator.
The landscaped areas such that of the University Commons and the University Garden, are classified and zoned as open spaces, firmly restricting buildings and structures to be erected upon their grounds.
Going further to the upper campus will be the Proposed Academic Plaza. This plaza is a “terraced platform” which elevates the pedestrians from the lower loop to the entrance of the Learning Resource Center and the Proposed University Museum through a stepped ramp, which will be easier to access. It will also maximize scenic views of the monument of San Carlos Borromeo which is to be erected. The original plan was to have 2 basement parking areas beneath the plaza accommodating 420 cars but was reduced to 66 parking areas due to budget constraints.
“All parking areas are to be located underground in basements for greeneries to surmount the entire landscaping and no cars are to be seen above” said Arch’t. Michael Espina, Dean of the USC College of Architecture and Fine Arts and one of the proponents of the masterplan.
Further land areas of USC-TC are the existing Retreat House, SVD residences and vicinity for future building sites.
THE STREET SYSTEM
One of the most essential concepts in this planning is the provision of pedestrian paths for comfort and ease. The street system fundamentally contains the University Avenue (the lower loop road) that will be the main vehicular access connecting lower and upper campuses and the upper loop road which will provide the access to the Robert Hoeppener Building, The University Stadium, and the Nature Park. These loops will have some minor roads connecting other colleges and buildings. The width of these roads will be only up to 9.00 meters and a 4-meter sidewalk in it that will connect all buildings along this loop. Also an “alternate all weather pedestrian walkway” is proposed connecting all academic areas to and from the lower campus.
Finally, PUJs will be allowed only for a limited area at the lower campus where the jeepney stop will be located in front of the Proposed Commercial Mall to reduce the traffic and overcrowding along the main road. This will result in the pedestrians having to walk through the mall to reach the shuttle terminal of the in-campus area.