(Part 2 of a two-part series)

ARCHITECTURE did not just come out of nowhere but due to the needs of man for physical security from the vagaries of nature, physical security from man itself, and man's quest for what is a true and beautiful dwelling for his family. There is this three-inch thick textbook called "A Comparative History of Architecture" written by the eminent British architectural historian Sir Bannister Fletcher, who happens to be a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, which enumerates the continuing evolution of architecture.

The modernist German architect Mies van der Rohe once said, "Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space," and the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright once opined, "Architecture is the most concrete record of a society on how rich or how poor that society is."

While the engineer is the expert in focused on the structural design of buildings, the architect's forte is focusing on the spatial, the formal and the functional needs of the client. Solving the initial design requirements of the client is the first role of the architect. The technical engineers then do the job of structural designing and Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Safety and Sanitary designing that is just suitable and proper.

Becoming the prime professional in a building design team is accorded to the architect so that the client can directly talk to them even on matters that pertains to the architectural aspects of designing a structure for man, which is beyond the professional limitations and competence of technical engineers. Architects should not be relegated to being just mere draftsmen of technical engineers. Instead, the architect should perform the duty of being the "internist doctor" that shall correctly diagnose a client's building design needs!

Architecture can never be claimed by technical engineers as part of their professional practice. There are no credentials as to diplomas and even board examinations passed to qualify them to practice architecture. Each profession has its own autonomy to practice in accordance with the law. All the technical engineering professions have their own laws distinct and separate from each other. including architecture.

The practice of architecture should not be usurped. One of the alleged reasons why the Philippines is a backward and poor country compared to its more advanced neighbors like Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia or Indonesia is because architects and engineers have been given positions of power that apparently may not have functioned properly in the use of their responsibilities.

Thus, there is the risk of administrative sanctions such as those agencies who may have arrogated to themselves the non-compliance to implement strictly horizontal and vertical projects.

The legal maneuverings of some groups to illegally practice architecture is probably one of the reasons why they have emboldened themselves to illegally practice even beyond their professional competence and expertise!

These technical groups and their professional organizations should recognize the separation of each professional work and concentrate more on doing their job in making the country progress by collaborating with the right professionals. It is imperative for the design and construction team to be progressive and cohesive rather than allegedly encroaching the practice of other professions.

Architecture is not engineering, and engineering is not architecture. The technical engineer should be contented as the prime professional on technical engineering works rather than displace the role of the architect in the design of the built-environment. Architecture is the embodiment of the soul and culture of a country and its people.


Architect Rommel R. Alanis is a Bachelor of Science Graduate of Architecture from the University of Northeastern Philippines College of Civil Engineering and Architecture in 1977, in Iriga City Camarines Sur. His forte is design-build services and retrofitting of damage structures on a limited scale. He loved to write non-fiction, poetry and art and architectural criticism. His science interest is on cosmology thru the writings of Stephen Hawking and others on black holes and time warp