St. Cecilia’s Hall, whose art deco architectural style brought modern architecture into the campus, was built in 1930 and inaugurated in 1932. The architect of this magnificent structure was Andres Luna de San Pedro, the only son of the great Filipino artist, Juan Luna. Andres, like Juan Nakpil, was known as a brilliant innovator.
The architectural statement of St. Cecilia’s Hall was that the Conservatory of Music was “contemporary”. St. Cecilia was to become the premier concert hall of Manila, reflecting the excellence of music education offered by the school. The adjoining wings (also referred to as St. Cecilia) house the music rooms, classrooms, a library and offices.
Art deco, while a clear departure from traditional design, creates its own repertoire of motifs, namely stylized forms, abstract patterns such as suggestion of movement and strangely, echoes of Egyptian drawings and architecture. To know what art deco is, one only has to look at St. Cecilia’s Hall inside and outside, and come away in wonder and awe.
Like the rest of the school, St. Cecilia was destroyed during the bombing of Manila at the end of World War II. It was rebuilt 1955 and resumed its role as a venue for major concerts that featured renowned Filipino and international artists. In 1999, the hall underwent an extensive restoration to cope with the reality that the campus was no longer in quiet neighborhood. Street noise had invaded the hall through its vintage 1930s windows. Restoration and renovation meant central air-conditioning, an impressive lobby, aisle carpeting, upholstered seats, excellent acoustics and a considerable amount of money raised by loyal alumnae.