by Robbie Antonio
PHILIPPINE architecture is in the eye of a storm of disruption, driven by architects
whose modern techniques are greatly influenced by a highly globalized culture and
These are the Generation Z, aged 10 to 25; and Generation Y or the millennials, aged 25 to 40.
They are joining the workforce at a time when the industry is facing a myriad of
challenges from climate change to unaffordable housing.
Their generation values civic-mindedness and doing noble work that makes a
difference, as many young architects feel that the current system of designing the built environment does not adequately address their social and economic needs.
This group prioritizes practicality and is focused on finding their social purpose, as
influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.
The pandemic’s mobility restrictions also drove the ongoing shift in urban design and architecture, which have redefined how people interact and use space.
As digital natives, these young Filipino architects do not just master computer-aided design software easily, but they also instinctively turn to the web to look for answers — watching online tutorials and discussing in chat rooms with their peers from all over the world.
Instead of seeking authority figures in education, they prefer just-in-time and peer-to- peer learning in this 24/7 culture.
They function well in collaborative settings such as in design studios, with team-
centeredness being a millennial trademark.
They also enjoy the camaraderie and joint efforts in site models in architecture.
Generations Y and Z have embraced the sharing economy, which may shape the future of architecture and urban planning.
Aside from shared living and co-working, this model also bred a new system of short- term habitation that responds to the needs of mobile citizens and digital nomads.
This generation’s reliance on digital tools resulted in data-driven design practices, such as in planning smart cities, eco buildings, and intelligent mobility.
This generation of Filipino architects is distinct due to their even more heightened
environmental consciousness, which bodes well for the country as it is constantly
ravaged by natural disasters.
Architecture is playing a crucial role not just in shaping our physical world, but also in solving these pressing environmental challenges, not only in ensuring our structures’ ability to remain resilient to calamities but also in designing form and function that significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
A key to this is studying structures from the past that remain resistant to floods and earthquakes until now, which is a testament to their sustainability.
The lessons gleaned from them can be applied when modeling the structural behavior of real buildings when subjected to these hazards.
At a time of numerous challenges from rapid population growth, dense cities, and
climate change, it is laudable that this new breed of architects is rising to the challenge.
They are exerting efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our civilization and adopting eco-friendly innovations such as alternative energy sources.
Aside from adaptive reuse, they are also conscious of material sourcing and sustainability.
Industry stakeholders must be aware of the great disruption that lies ahead, and
position themselves to take advantage of the changes and opportunities it will bring.
I believe that if their generational characteristics are harnessed, this new breed of
architects have the capacity to transform the industry and allow Philippine design and structures to be more influential in the international arena, and in the evolving human civilization indeed.
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