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BRACING FOR LIFT-OFF: ArchiGlobal Inc’s Journey Beyond the Local Scene

Reaching for the stars can be a lofty dream for many entrepreneurs. After all, today’s competitive landscape in architecture and design continues to ebb and flow toward exciting developments. Besides reinvigorating various industries with the help of technological innovations, many dated processes are being reassessed and improved upon for better, more streamlined systems. This makes it a goal for many business owners to prioritize adaptability and sustainability.

To stay grounded is one way to keep a company running within its limits. Doing so allows its different teams and departments to watch their limitations and work around smaller goals. However, this can be a tether that prevents them from looking at what more they can achieve by dreaming big. This is what ArchiGlobal Inc. sets out to do from the start, to go beyond the local scene and make waves across international waters.

A Dream’s Early Beginnings

Ar. Michael Torres sought to build his firm ArchiGlobal Inc. to go Global, as its name implies. After studying Architecture at the University of San Carlos, he passed the architectural board exam in 1994 and worked as chief architect at EDSA Architects in Cebu. Not long after that, he became the Vismin Technical Planning Head of Cebu Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc., from 1996-2007. He would then build an architectural firm, ArchiGlobal Inc., in 2008 as he saw the opportunity in the accelerating progress of Cebu.

The firm started as a three-architect team and one admin personnel. At first, they worked with mid-end residential projects and, afterward, procured housing subdivision projects for low-cost to mid-high markets. Later on, they diversified further to commercial strip projects including the landmarks Design Center and Streetscape in Cebu City.

After the firm’s initial phases, the company began to contract real-estate projects from former real-estate colleagues who built their real-estate companies. Some of these projects included collaborations with Cebu Landmasters Inc. where ArchiGlobal Inc. designed their very first condominium project and, later on, several mid-end market residential condominiums in Cebu and key cities in Mindanao.

Perspective rendering of AppleOne Medical Arts, an adaptive reuse building

featuring a façade treatment that provides an efficient sunshade.

A proposed commercial retail development combining modern and classical architectural elements.

A Tenacity To Welcome New Challenges

ArchiGlobal Inc’s rise in popularity was a testament to the quality products they delivered. Other real estate firms who believed in the firm’s potential were AppleOne Properties Inc. and Grand Land Inc. These firms gave them residential condominium projects including mixed-use developments.

Family corporations also procured the services of the firm to design mid-rise office buildings, most of them located in Cebu Business park. Owing to the strong real estate background of Ar. Mike, all the projects designed by ArchiGlobal Inc. became success stories, especially on how much these projects raked in profits for the clients.

This was achieved due to their thorough knowledge of designing from the developer’s point of view. Ar. Mike attributes the ArchiGlobal team’s adaptability as he states that “Our main differentiation as a firm is our ability to design from a developer’s point of view.” or the most part, a majority of the firm’s collaborations centered on residential condominium projects.

The next chunk is mixed-use developments followed by office building establishments. Currently, it has been building a growing portfolio of hotel and resort projects.

The Challenges Of Growth

The exponential increase of projects meant the need to render many extra hours of work to be able to meet client and project commitments. Operational woes included the need to hire and train architects and draftsmen quickly for the firm.

This included the procurement of computer equipment, software, and office space. The number of projects handled by the firm exponentially increased between 2014 to 2019, requiring more manpower on deck.

Answering a call to scale up, the size of the firm grew to over 40 pax in 2016. The firm’s manpower almost reach 100 pax before the start of the COVID Pandemic in 2020. This included employees in the firm’s satellite office in Makati.

Between 2016 to 2019, the firm needed to procure more office space to house its personnel. While the firm held three separate offices scattered in Cebu in 2018, it wasn’t enough to deal with the natural coordination hurdles of working remotely. It was by then that the top management finally decided to design and procure a bigger office space.

In 2020, the firm transferred to a preppy office – a warehouse converted into a spacious design studio that can house up to 85 personnel – in Mandaue City Cebu. Not unlike Google’s onsite workspace, this headquarters would make communication and collaboration easier between different teams and departments.

A study for a hillside residential development.

Sheraton Mactan Residences as viewed from the courtyard pool.

Three Design Principles

Since the COVID pandemic struck right after the firm transferred to its new office, the firm acquired a work-from-home set-up and made use of the seemingly lull period to “sharpen the saw”.

This allowed the firm to hone its processes and set a better model for its collaborations working forward. To achieve this, the firm’s heads and middle management organized strategic planning exercises.

Among the important resolutions procured in these sessions were the goals to be a 100% BIM-ready firm and the firm’s resolve to apply three design principles as part of the firm’s mission: A Sustainable Future, A Focus on People, and Community Relevance.

ArchiGlobal Inc.’s three core design principles were drafted during the firm’s online Strategic Planning Seminars during the COVID lockdowns. It both came from looking back at their past projects and envisioning the quality of projects that they will design in the future.

These are the underlying reasons for the design principles:

Delivering Project Sustainability:

As we all want to contribute to creating a green future, ArchiGlobal Inc. is also committed to this advocacy. In a world that longs to be healthy and safe from disease, sustainable design does not only add long-term value to the project but also gives more appeal to the project, especially in the eyes of its end-users.

Highlighting People as the focus of planning and design investigations:

The firm aims to address both its clients’ needs and the well-being of the different people who will use their developments. When this focus is realized, their projects will always become part of the memory of the people who use them. They will have no hesitation in coming back again and again to their developments.

Providing a positive social impact:

This adds value to any development when it becomes relevant to the community where it belongs. The goal to design with the common good in mind is key as their projects do not only inspire to help contribute to making the world a better place to live; they also concretize what human solidarity means.

Through these three core design principles, ArchiGlobal Inc. sets the guidelines they need to follow to achieve a world-class standard. It is a statement of their mission as architects and as designers toward the world and the people who will use the buildings that they design. This is proof of their ability to uphold three different facets of a building’s purpose, from designing for sustainability to delivering a people-centered structure.

Aerial view perspective of Sheraton Mactan Hotel and Residences. Image credits to Blink Design Group.

Sheraton Mactan Hotel perspective. Image credits to Blink Design Group.

A Process of Applying Their Principles

A firm applying its design principles shows how well it can stick to the project's needs by aligning it to its vision. This is where ArchiGlobal Inc. utilizes the versatility of its teams by incorporating these guidelines to refine their design choices.

In the 21,000 sq. meter AppleOne Medical Arts Building in Cebu City, they prioritized sustainable adaptive re-use solutions. Aluminum louver fins wrap the old glass facade building to act as a sunshade. The addition of permeable walls also allowed for better, open “breathable” spaces to flow and enter interior common areas with ease.

For the Oakridge Business Park Mandaue City in Cebu, the firm had to work with over three hectares and six buildings to design a mid-density masterplan that features a central park. To make the natural and structural elements work together, the development’s mix of functions must perfectly sustain each other. To accommodate the users of the IT center, amenities were placed which include a grocery store and several restaurants.

Addressing a target demographic of younger residents, the Armani Citygate Davao project had four towers in a site area of 1.7 hectares. It featured community spaces located in the middle of the development with amenities well-integrated with its environs. It is complemented by a subdued tropical landscape design to complement a place conducive to a well-balanced lifestyle.

Mivesa in Cebu has 7 towers in a small 1.8 hectare property. The buildings were arranged in a skewed configuration to create open space nooks that became community spaces. This knack of creating community spaces is evident in the firm’s recent project, Uptown Metropolis in Cagayan de Oro City, which features a huge central garden amenity with spaces for families to enjoy.

Besides these VisMin projects, ArchiGlobal Inc. would have their first international collaboration with Blink Design Group for the Sheraton Mactan Residences Project by AppleOne Inc., a 5-star resort hotel recently opened last September 1, 2022.

It sits at a site area of 3.8 hectares with a total floor area of 160,000 sq. meters. The design reflects some features of vernacular architecture, which provide a great sense of community achieved in the residences area. The building floors are effectively zoned to allow a flawless integration of the different functions of the hotel. This project received many praises for its exquisite design.

Amani Citygate Davao Aerial View perspective. Colorful buildings surround the community’s amenities that extend to an adjacent water reservoir.

A Drive To Learn And Grow From Past Experiences

The goal of being world-class isn’t something one can achieve overnight. The ArchiGlobal team has spent years collaborating with other firms and honing their team’s solid foundation. Among their notable residential condominium projects include residential condominium milestone projects with Cebu Landmasters Inc., AppleOne Properties, Inc., Grand Land Inc., Golden Topper, King Properties, Priland Development Corp, A.Brown Company Inc. along with many other real estate companies.

Another recent milestone is their partnership with JLPD Studio back in 2017, a masterplanning firm, headed by Ar. Joel Luna, the former IDG head of Ayala Land and the former boss of Ar. Mike. Understandably, one would look at these names and focus only on the fruits of ArchiGlobal Inc.’s labor. However, these projects aren’t so easily accomplished without facing the hurdles of project timelines and logistical obstacles.

Ar. Mike enables his form to do its best by working with a solid foundation. “The firm has established internal systems to process our designs fast for the needs of our clients. In

turn, we definitely learn from our clients and get a macro perspective of the potential growth of different real estate sectors.”

Ar. Mike adds that, “every time we explore a new project site in a new province, we get to know the economic and cultural activities of the place to make our designs more contextual.” With an extensive portfolio to mark the firm’s different milestones. Ar. Mike and his team are always looking toward the next project as a new challenge to explore their new learnings.

Ar. Mike notes that “The best project is always the firm’s most recent project. Although this is a cliché, there is great truth in it for me. The most recent project is always the result of the firm’s past project experiences – applying the best practices and eliminating the glitches of past projects. Our firm’s knowledge grows ever richer as the firm acquires and gets to design more and more projects.”

Grand Residences Cebu features a 35-storey twin tower. These are part of a complex of a total of five residential towers that share an expansive garden and pool central amenity.

A Goal Set And A Goal In Sight

Just a few months shy of its 14th founding anniversary, ArchiGlobal Inc. was recognized by BCI Asia as being among the Top 10 Architectural Firms of the Philippines. This distinguished title comes from the awarding body’s criteria of featuring architectural firms that offer extensiveness and diversity while adding a premium to green building principles and developments. Firms featured on their list achieve this by answering the design and economic needs of the company’s home country.

This recognition would be a milestone not just for the ArchiGlobal Inc.’s team, but for architects in Cebu. This celebration marks the awarding of the first architectural firm outside Manila that made it to BCI Asia’s Top Ten list.

When asked how he felt about the firm’s recognition, Ar. Mike had this to say: “It was a long ride. BCI Asia has been corresponding with us for many years back, knowing that we have a big portfolio of projects in the VisMin area. We are thankful to BCI Asia for trusting us and making us always part of the activities that they organize in Cebu.”

Thinking ahead to see how the ArchiGlobal team can reinforce their brand of world-class service, Ar. Mike is looking toward making the firm 100% BIM-ready in a year’s time, while also providing the firm’s designers more experience to develop their skill sets for the needs of current and future clients.

(Opposite page) Meridian by Avenir, a SOHO condominium development in Cebu City. (Above photo) One of the firm’s designs that feature a green internal atrium.

A Journey Beyond Limits Built On Hard Work

Like any company, ArchiGlobal Inc. started with a goal and a vision. While it may seem like a long-term goal for many, patience was not the only thing Ar. Mike and his team had to achieve it. By building a solid foundation in their design process and putting grit and passion into their work, ArchiGlobal Inc. set concrete steps to reach the goal of finally “going global” as its principal architect envisioned.

Reaching for a grand goal may seem too unrealistic for some, but it can be a great motivator to always push beyond one’s limitations. While the unpredictable changes in the industry’s landscape can throw many architectural firms off their footing, there’s still the old and reliable way of finding the secret to achieving one’s goals. Ar. Mike has this succinct and precise advice for budding architects on how they can work toward making award-worthy projects and milestones: “Work hard. You can never genuinely achieve anything without hard work. This is still the formula for success.”

For more information about ArchiGlobal, you may find them here:

Address: 15F, AppleOne Equicom Tower, Biliran Corner Mindanao Ave., Cebu Business Park

Telephone: (032) 266 5575



Check out more Cebu Architectural Firms:



ArchiGlobal Inc. and Blink Design Group

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