The steel pylon that temporarily surmounted the monument.
In Rizal’s birth centenary year of 1961, a stainless steel pylon was superimposed over the granite obelisk, increasing the structure’s height from 12.7 meters to 30.5 meters. The remodeling undertaken by the Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission (JRNCC) was widely criticized. Many found the gleaming modern steel shaft incompatible with the somber granite base. Moreover, the latter seemed to dwarf the much smaller Rizal figure. Others simply dislike the idea of tampering with a popular and traditional image.
The designer of the remodeling was Juan Nakpil, who later became the country’s first National Artist for Architecture. He quoted former Secretary of Education and JRNCC chair Manuel Lim as envisioning the pylon as a convenient guide for incoming boats, and for the people lost in their way around the city.
The P145,000 shaft was removed two years later under the request of Secretary of Education Alejandro Roces and Director of Public Libraries Carlos Quirino. It was dismantled during Holy Week, reportedly to prevent any court injunction from restraining them as government offices were closed during holidays. The pylon is now located at the median of the Baclaran section of Roxas Boulevard.
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