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Why the World Needs Architects

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 We’re often asked to imagine life without water, without food, even life without people. But how about a world without architects? It’s easy. It’s living in a city of only parking lots and manufactured sheds. It’s a village of boxes and living spaces resembling those of the first two houses from an age-old nursery rhyme about three little pigs and their effort to shield themselves from the big bad wolf. And even though we go so far as building our homes with bricks, we’ll still fail miserably. For while we can build spaces with basic functions, it will be a life without form. 

Most people never do so much as meet an architect, let alone engage one in planning and designing vertical structures. Launched middle of this year, the #GETANARCHITECT Campaign, aims to educate the masses on who an architect is, and what they do. Architect Benjamin Panganiban Jr., United Architects of the Philippines’s incumbent president, couldn’t have explained it any better when he said, “If we just talk among ourselves, we will obviously understand who we are and what we do. But there is a need now to communicate this to the misinformed masses. The intention of the campaign is to educate the society on the value of, and roles and functions of the architect. We want them to understand what an architect does in nation building.”

Get an architect for your plans and designs 

I’ve heard sad cases of friends who encountered malpractice of design and setting false expectations in designing and constructing their own homes. Surprisingly, most of them are aware that they shouldn’t do it themselves. However, they expected other people to do ALL the work for them. It’s only later during construction when they realize that they had spent more money and poor quality of materials because they did not entrust the job to the right people. Architects do not only have the talent and experience needed for these jobs, they studied years to master these. 

Design and construction demand a multitude of knowledge—from understanding legal implications, knowing where to find construction products, to maintaining the structure and keeping it safe for its tenants. Architecture, being a 5-year course, tackled all these. This half a decade-long academic journey is not a walk in the park. Throughout my college years in UST (and a mainstay in the UST Library, because where else can you tambay with ac that time?), I’d often spot architecture students use their breaks to put finishing touches to their plates, and sometimes dozing off because they obviously didn’t get enough sleep the night before. I would also remember my two older brothers, who are now licensed architects, joke about how architecture students can win a “walang tulugan” game, effortlessly. My point here is that these people spent thousands of hours equipping themselves with both technical and life skills in perfecting their craft. They definitely know what they are doing. Trust them!

Architects create ART

Novelist Victor Hugo was right when he said that “architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race.” If you walk past buildings in Makati, and BGC, you’ll see that their forms contribute a lot to how the city looks and feels. For after the fumes and smoke have settled, these towering heights make the city look polished and beautiful to the eyes. Just making something that doesn’t collapse in on itself is an achievement of mathematics, logistics, mechanics, physics, and city planning. What more if these structures become gigantic artworks unto themselves? 

Architect Panganiban explains politely why architecture is more than just a science. “Architecture is more than the understanding, planning, and creation of vertical structures. It is an art because it brings form into these solid masses.” Architecture is indeed the perfect blend of the sciences and the arts. The balanced integration of artistic sensibility and scientific methodology as it applies to designing vertical structures and the environment is essential to creating great architecture. During the process, you’ll be able to link mathematics to the design, nature and intent of historical buildings, explain how context might change the way a building is built, and consider all those ‘great ideas’ Victor Hugo was talking about. 

A Call to Action 

Now on its second month, the campaign is more than just creating awareness. It is also a call to action. The campaign endeavors to encourage people to get a licensed architect to lead them in designing and planning their homes. This is anchored on the key responsibilities of the profession: architects do not only create a beautiful space, they design an organized one. They design not only artful and tasteful structures, they ensure that the function, flow, and interrelationships of the spaces to another, are well taken care of. 

The campaign asks for one thing: Entrust the hard job to the registered and licensed pros. 

Architects DO MORE 

Architects also have a passion for people, just as much they do with buildings and the environment. They make our lives better. Architect Panganiban adds, “at the end of the day, the most important thing about our job is making the client feel comfortable in the living space we designed and planned.” 

They do all these, and more! Their expertise expands to heritage conservation, tourism, sustainability, and basically anything to do with vertical structures. I won’t go much into the details. They will be saving this for the second phase of the campaign. 

Indeed, Architects are part of something universally human. They plan and they design. They imagine. The last one, they do effortlessly. It is what they’re gifted to do anyway– imagining things that aren’t there – then relentlessly realize them until they are. They let their imagination soar, and create towering heights out of these. By planning sturdy vertical structures, they create us a safe city. By designing something with form, they build us a beautiful world. D+C

FEATURED IMAGE: Daniel Mccullough by Unsplash
WORDS: Lean Panganiban-Duanan 

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