Hi! I’m Andrea, a Filipina Architect/ educator. I took my undergraduate studies at the University of Santo Tomas (Batch 2010) and on the way to attaining my MA Degree (Master of Interior Design) from the University of the Philippines. Currently teaching my eighth semester at my alma mater, UST College of Architecture. I’d like to be more than my profession while inspiring and creating in the Filipino setting (and maybe the world!).
Every month, I post something I think that should be said out there. I am aiming to broaden and elevate Filipino design by means of education/ thought leadership. If you want to talk to me about aligning the architectural profession, industry, and education, hit me up. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I see you in real life, please be reminded that I’m nearsighted; so you’d probably need to get over the fact that I can’t see you from afar. Small talk isn’t really my thing. Get to the point already!
Recently, some students asked me to answer some questions for them. I thought I should let you know what they asked, and what I said.
Why did I take up architecture?
I was a reluctant architecture student. I took it up because of my parents. (I came from a family of architects!) Believe it or not, I actually fell in love with architecture while studying my MA in Interior Design. As a life-long learner, I’m choosing architecture over and over again *kasi love is a choice!*.
What is your advocacy?
Relevance over Complexity. This talks about filling the part I need to be in society, and doing that without frills or hiding under false pretenses. It scales through the different hats I have to fill: be it as an architect/ educator/ researcher/ mentor/ leader. As an educator, I bring in well-digested modules, lectures, and activities. As a researcher, I aim to fill a gap. As a leader, I inspire and motivate as much as I can. As an architect, I’m still trying to figure it out.
I have to be relevant to where I am and I want to enable others to find their own “why,” as Simon Sinek says. I imagine a world full of passionate people who live their own advocacy.
If you could describe architecture in one word, what would it be and why?
Opportune. It speaks of the time it was built, the ideas that encapsulate it, the technology available and the will that concretized the intent/ idea. It’s the perfect timing for all of these elements to come together. It doesn’t happen by accident or by chance. Architectural Design is an educated intent realized.
What is the architect’s role in today’s society and how can you encourage and promote architecture?
The role of the architect is to show a possibility; architectural design is all about predicting futures. Although the role of the architect (as a professional) is not solely about drawing, it is also about educating the client/ public in general. It’s so hard to communicate a vision without being understood. Promoting architecture is about learning how to speak to an audience. We generally need to de-mystify the profession without reducing the profound ways architects use creativity to bring about something more than just a building.
When people understand what we’re doing, and why it’s important, it will be a start of a very beautiful discourse for the overall improvement across all scales (from the individual to nation-building).
Ano po pampagising niyo? (What wakes you up?)
Pure will, fear, and prayers. If needed, anything mocha will do. Milo is my favorite! (I don’t believe in exhausting yourself or romanticizing the idea of not sleeping for work)
Do you think the profession would be able to help change today’s society especially in our country?
Definitely! Architecture as a social art needs an author that is optimistic. Designers always have to think positive – else, what are we left to design with? However, it needs to be said that there are only a few things architecture can actually solve.
It’s one part of the solution, but we can’t change a society with a single part of the equation. A flawed framework/ system could make the physical solution fail. Architecture can be a catalyst for change and the behaviors needed to reinforce the environment and vice versa. People have to change and pair it with a sustainable culture within a viable framework.
In the near future, do you think architecture will change especially in time for millenials?
Architectural Design is all about solution-finding. We have a lot of problems to solve and it’s quite a shit hand we’re dealt with: over-population, rising real estate prices, pollution, climate change, etc. Remember what I said about architecture being opportune? The problems change, so the solutions will have to as well. As far as I’m concerned, I think we’re the authors of our own future. If architecture won’t change, we’ll have to do something about it – wouldn’t we?
What would you say to people who are interested in taking up architecture?
It’s not supposed to be easy. If it was, then everyone would do it.
Architecture isn’t all about drawing, but you’ll be doing a lot of it. You don’t have to excel in all the subjects to love architecture. You have to make it love you. Passion isn’t about talent – it’s about working your butt off and actually thinking it’s all worth it at the end of the day.
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not taking control of your own education. There’s only so much architecture school can give you. Five years isn’t enough for anyone to grasp everything there is to know – believe me. Dig into the things you’re passionate about! Learning is a life-long, never-ending thing. Enjoy the process!
Be prepared. The game is constantly changing. Research constantly and don’t ever lose your sense of wonder. Stay curious, stay hungry.