This week, I give this platform to Christian Vasquez, the current President of UAP124, who writes about how it’s time for Filipino architects to come out of the shadows and claim their place in the regional design industry.
Dubai’s population of design and construction professionals is massively organic and quite competitive.
With the city’s fast-paced development and the uniquely ambitious real estate market, being an architect in Dubai can be quite challenging; continuous investment in self-development is a necessity to keep up with this progressive notion.
Consequently, belonging to a community that promotes professional growth is an additive to keep up with the current and future trends within the industry.
The Global Filipino Architects community works to support the vast design talent that exists in the region and offer them a springboard from which to achieve greater success and career satisfaction.
A recent survey of the design industry found that almost three quarters of designers are from the West. But the Filipino architects’ community here believes it doesn’t have to be this way.
Why does diversity matter? Aside from the ethical reasons too obvious to outline, inclusivity is also good for business. Diverse teams mean new approaches, new markets and wider perspective that allows for creative and out-of-the-box problem solving.
With more than 2,000 members of the United Architects of the Philippines in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE), this organisation continues to upskill its members with a series of programs focused on the progression of Filipino architects. UAP124 upholds the highest educational and professional standards and in doing so, not only does the organisation promote their home-grown talent, but also empowers the design community as a whole.
As the current president of UAP 124, I always call each individual to action and move forward in seeking professional growth and global competitiveness.
Platforms such as the UAP Awards were established to support our objectives. Last Year, the UAP Dubai Chapter hosted the UAP Dubai Awards at the Palazzo Versace. Across nine categories, the awards honoured Filipino designers, architects, projects and design-oriented companies employing Filipino architects. The winners were selected by a reputable international jury composed of top architects in the practice.
To be honest, Filipinos architects undergo extremely rigorous training back home. After a five-year bachelors programme in architecture, they need an additional two years of diversified industry experience before they can take the state board examination that will ultimately award them the title of ‘Architect’ or Ar. The course and the standards of education are at par with leading architecture schools around the world.
Working in Dubai for almost a decade, I know Filipino designers’ contribution to the regional industry is monumental. They are recipient, adaptive and incredibly creative with the highest level of competency, reliability and dedication, but maybe a bit too humble. Here in Dubai, you need a voice to be heard. You need guts to get to the top.
It’s about time we Filipinos change the way we think in order to shape our future outside the Philippines — not only on the design stage, but in any profession or walk of life.
To become more valued and relevant in the Middle East, it is important that we elevate public awareness of our contribution to the industry, whilst protecting the profession and work towards sharing our knowledge, expertise and opinion with the wider community.
The timing is perfect. As the world marches towards greater and universal acceptance, equality and empathy, we have a global movement to inspire Filipino architects to work shoulder to shoulder with peers and colleagues from around the world and build a better tomorrow for all people.