An International Affair for Architects
There are about 50,000 Architects in the Philippines between environmental planners, urban planners, interior designers, landscape architects, conservation architects, industrial architects, green design architects, residential architects, or commercial architects.
Most of them determine the design, the materials, and the building techniques used in their various projects, and all together play a big part in building the country in all aspects.
How can international cooperation foster innovation in design and architecture in the Philippines? That was one of several interesting questions asked during an exciting digital event held on Friday, November 6. Part of the EU-Business-Avenues business mission in the Philippines and in partnership with the Infrastructure and Construction Focus Group (ICFG) the event featured innovative solutions from European companies in an exchange with the Architects in the Philippines proudly represented by the United Architects of the Philippines and the Philippine Institute of Architects.
As a cherry on the cake in the speaker’s range, the most successful foreign architect in the Philippines, Italian architect, and entrepreneur Romolo Nati told his personal story on how he pushed for sustainable green design and succeeded in building a successful development company in the Philippines.
One of the speakers, the former president of the Philippine Institute of Architects, Arch. Arnel Colcol, tackled the question of how to best collaborate with European entities for innovative products and how these companies can penetrate the Philippine market. A well-discussed point by all the speakers during the event was the importance of CSR programs and how these could eventually become a tool for European companies to gain visibility in the market. The same point was raised by Architect Ramon Abiera, the former Executive Director of CIAP, the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines and now a Director of the Infrastructure and Construction Focus Group (ICFG) and UAP Committee Chair for Sustainability, Resilience, Innovation, and Intellectual Property.
He recommended 3 strategies for better collaboration with the Philippine setting: participate in local exhibitions, participate in events like conferences and forums as well as educational training that are being held by the various industry associations and groups. He underlined the importance of having a reliable partner and a go-to organization like ICFG to tackle local networking, market-entry, corporate promotions, and strategic market development. Having someone at your side that knows the right people, that can pull the strings and rub elbows with the industry stakeholders is simply essential.
Collaborative efforts and relationship development are also a very important point for the President of UAP, Architect Renato Heray. He underlined the history and global scope of his organization that reaches several continents with their various foreign settings. UAP is a true example where CSR programs help the country to overcome the consequences of the many natural disasters and help rebuild homes, buildings, and damaged areas.
As a raw model for any investor in the country Arch Romolo Nati, the Chairman & CEO of Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) gave his testimony on how he navigated through the various challenges in the Philippines until he succeeded by listing his development company with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). His intuition to invest and focus on secondary cities in the provinces was history repeating itself and something he remembered very well from the way Italy developed as a country in the 70’s and 80’s.
In fact, in the aftermath of Covid and with the push for the Balik Probinsya his vision came to fruition together with the idea to develop with nature and sustainability in mind. IDC is successfully building in Cagayan de Oro, Sto Tomas Batangas, and soon in other provinces in the Philippines.
Various European companies presented their products to the architects during the event in a form of a one-minute corporate introduction. That part could have taken slightly longer also to please the curiosity of the participants about the various solutions that were showcased like special aluminum cladding, wooden flooring, intelligent louver solutions as well as cloud-based construction management applications. Good to know that such events with ICFG will soon become a monthly habit to be able to focus on various technical aspects of designing and building.