What is your architecture story? Before you start on your journey as an architect, before you can truly find the passion and depth that you will need to constantly strive for, you must find your own story.
My own story starts with toys and building bases and houses for action figures back in the ’80s. As a young boy, I enjoyed setting up the scene and story for my collection of toys the most. Web crawling superhero Spiderman also left a strong imprint in me—with that dynamic sense of movement and varying views as he swings through Manhattan. I then started to take a more serious interest in drawing and sketching, which taught me to appreciate the importance and beauty of scale and proportion.
Books and traveling were a major influence as well. As a whole, I’ve read and traveled extensively, allowing me to imagine different worlds, to look at things from an outsider’s point of view, and to compare the way things worked in an Asian city, a European city, or even a magical elven city. Reading has thoroughly opened my mind.
I’d like to share with you a story that has come to define the architecture that we practice. When I took my Master’s Degree in Singapore, WTA was already a growing young firm with bright hopes. I had to then fly back and forth between Singapore and Manila almost every week. This allowed me to see the contrasts between Manila and Singapore, the strengths and weaknesses of each city as I traveled back and forth and observed their architectural dynamics.
Singapore is a much more structured and heavily governed city than Manila. The length and breadth of how government there works hand in hand with architects is proof of how architecture matters in the growth and development of its society. It opened my eyes on how there are some things that should and can only be done by institutions and, given the proper channels, how much architecture can do for a country.