Architecture industry gets boost from real estate sector’s growth
Behind every successful real estate venture are many other firms under the value chain, among which are architectural companies tasked to breathe life into developers’ concepts.
With the booming real estate industry in Cebu and its impact extending to at least 60 industries, other sectors are also seeing growth within their own ranks.
“The booming real estate in Cebu has given the architecture industry a big push,” architect Loloy Castro, past president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)-Sugbu Chapter, told Cebu Daily News in an interview.
UAP-Sugbu Chapter has around 500 member architects, Castro said.
The importance of architects in nation building and development is recognized by the State under Republic Act No. 9266 or the Architecture Act of 2004.
R.A. 9266 defines architecture as “the art, science or profession of planning, designing and constructing buildings in their totality taking into account their environment, in accordance with the principles of utility, strength, and beauty.”
Aside from legal provisions, Castro said society has also acknowledged the need and relevance of architects in planning and development.
“Architects, being the prime profession in the design and construction industry, are being tapped by real estate developers, both big and small, to handle all their design requirements,” he said.
Among the big names in Cebu’s architectural scene are ArchiGlobal, Arkinamix, and Canizares Architects.
As an effect, Castro said homegrown architects are beginning to show strong competitiveness and an utmost desire to pursue design excellence, which has always been with them all this time.
Castro said that by excellence, they do not just refer to value for money and commercialism but “value for humanity and community, and environmental consciousness.”
An architectural firm based in Cebu is also looking at the growing real estate industry to fuel its bid for revenue expansion.
Architect Jaynice Bandalan, project manager at Goudie Associates, said that while they have clients based in Cebu, these were national accounts delegated to them by their office in Manila.
“We are working right now to find our own clients, those who are really based here,” Bandalan said in an interview.
Some of their clients based in or those with operations in Cebu include Accenture, Convergys, Nestle, H&M, Matimco, Ginza Japanese Restaurant, Philam Life, Aboitiz Corporate Center, and Mandani Bay.
What they provide for most of their projects in Cebu are interior fit-outs, but they also offer design and build services like that for Matimco.
Among those which the company is considering to reach out to are business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, corporate offices, restaurants, hotels, and condominiums.
Established in Hong Kong in 1983, Goudie Associates is run by a group of design professionals in architecture, management, interiors, and construction.
The company expanded in the Philippines in 1996, setting up an office in Makati City. The firm set up shop in Cebu in 2004, which is currently located at the Keppel Building in Ayala Business Park.
The architectural firm has completed over 2,000 projects all over the country since it first established operations here.
Reaching out to Cebu-based clients, Bandalan said, is a way to expand the revenue stream of their company.
She said she sees potential in the BPO market, adding that the more the sector grows, the more likely Goudie will be able to tap prospective clients in Cebu.
According to property management and research firm Colliers International Philippines, the influx of knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) companies has propped up office space demand within the Cebu Business Park and Cebu I.T. Park.
BPO offices’ design
Wilfredo “Jun” Sa-a Jr., managing director at Cebu IT/BPM Organization (CIB.O), said the design of BPO offices will impact on the productivity of employees.
“For typical contact center, they prefer large wide open spaces from 2,000 to 2,500 square meters floor plate with minimal obstruction (like posts and walls) for easier line of sight,” he said in a text message.
Sa-a added that work areas tend to be accented with bright colors to keep their workers awake.
Accenture’s fifth facility in Cebu at the Filinvest Cyberzone Tower 1 shows these features: wide open spaces.
Arvin Yason, Accenture Philippines managing director for technology, said in an earlier interview that it also has movable furniture to reflect the need to be “nimble” in the industry.