“Know that as architects, our legacy is not just the buildings we design, but also, the influence we impart to the public, our clients, our colleagues, and the next generation, who will carry out the task in improving the world we live in.”
Powerful, inspirational, and compelling — these words perfectly sum up Architect Ma. Luisa Daya-Garcia’s speech for the fresh batch of newly-appointed architects having their oath-taking ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center on March 5.
With the Queen of Green herself gracing the hall as the guest speaker for the event, it is without a doubt that she was able to draw the audience in with her captivating speech.
Architect Lui first gave the audience a glimpse of her early career as an architect. She recalled that she was discouraged to take up architecture because it was competitive in that field, plus it was a male-dominated profession. These instances did not stop her from pursuing her dreams.
“Be that as it may, such does not mean, that women in this profession cannot shine nor make their mark” she says after talking about what it’s like to be a female in a male-dominated industry.
She follows this up with a list of notable female architects and their impact in the industry, both locally and internationally.
“These women architects led advocacies to benefit the society, played important roles in volunteering their services to create a change, and have their voices heard”
In the next segment of her speech, she raises the concept of work-life balance as an architect. She defines work-life balance as: having time for yourself and the people who matter to you, and having time for your passion that ignites you to do what you love to do. Making life choices is no joke, especially for women architects. Even Architect Lui had to ask herself whether she should prioritize her family first or her career. She then speaks about the importance of work-life balance as she brings up her personal experiences as a mother, daughter, wife, and architect.
“Finding how to fit all of these activities in your schedule is only one factor. But finding what you enjoy and what you love to do is another. Therefore, I would say, that finding your passion is really, really critical”
In the next part of the speech, Architect Lui recounts the early stages of her career, saying how she was tired of doing routine work and trying to fit in the mould of a typical architect. With that, she stepped out of her comfort zone.
She took the risk in order to stand out from the throng of architects, while expressing her creative freedom at the same time. Her ideas included practical activities which was something unconventional at that time, such as turning scraps and waste as resource materials, collecting rainwater and reusing it, taking advantage of the sunlight’s powers in her projects, and many more.
“So I pursued it. I held onto it. I believed in it. I researched, practiced and exerted to learn more. I walked my talk.”
Years later, Architect Lui found out that those kinds of practices actually fell under a certain category in her field, which is Green Architecture.
“Finding your passion is critical, because no matter how difficult circumstances may seem, work with passion, becomes easy because you enjoy it. The more you enjoy, the more you get better, the more you become successful. As Architects, we can turn that passion to build, create and change. What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?”
She then starts the next part of the speech with passion and conviction—as she tackles on the environment, climate change, and the responsibility an architect holds in creating sustainable change for this world. With Green Architecture being her forte in the industry, she was the perfect speaker to deal with the aforementioned subjects. Being highly knowledgeable in that area, she delivered facts about the many different threats we face as a planet, while reminding the audience that they have an extensive task in planning and designing, that can determine whether climate change is manageable or not.
“Regardless of where you will fit in in the practice, remember that you are not here to just propose design solutions in dealing with global crisis
YOU ARE POSITIONED WITH POWER TO LEAD THE WAY IN LIMITING CLIMATE CHANGE.”
Architect Lui then lets the audience know that all of them have the equal opportunity to live up to their own potential and impact others with their own voice, talent, and capacity.
“It does not matter whether you are male or female in this profession, whether you are part of the small, medium, or large architectural firm practice. What matters is your willingness to be part of the solution.”
Capping off her speech, she leaves the audience something to ponder on once they leave the hall as newly appointed architects of the Philippines.
Dear Architects, it is in your hands to execute the much-needed transformation to revive the life back to this planet that has been drained out by the erroneous building practice of the past.
With all these said, the question now… is not how you can make a difference
The real question is:
How can you NOT afford to make a difference?
Today, when you leave this hall and practice as a fresh new architect, I dare you to develop your Environmental Intellect regardless of the specialization you will venture into, in order for you to see and do things in a different perspective; to design with a moral obligation not just directly to the people that you serve, but to indirectly be of service to humankind and protect this Earth, that we call home.”
Architect Ma. Luisa Daya-Garcia is one of the country’s notable leading Green Architects. She has been in the practice of designing green and sustainably even before it became a trend in the industry. As a leader in designing green, she applies her strong sense of environmental awareness and responsibility when she tackles on her projects. She embraces the challenge of creating and developing design solutions that equally respond to its users and environment.
She is the head of LDG Architects, a company that comprises a team of highly-trained professionals who specialize in the field of architectural design, construction, and other allied design, while focusing on the principles and application of green and sustainable design. LDG Architects is an influential group recognized by BCI Asia with the FuturArc Green Leadership Award.