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APL Architects’ Approach to Collaboration

Of the many industries in the world, the construction and development niche is one of the few that boasts a unique and recurring collaboration among several trades and disciplines. Principal architects, mechanical engineers, constructors, and even the right suppliers must work hand-in-hand to create a vision into reality. In many ways, every construction and project development is a result of managing expectations and setting harmony in all aspects.

Building a Compelling Portfolio Across the World

Architect Philip Lu completed his Architecture degree in Manila, Philippines as he graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1990. He took his strengths in developing leading-edge designs as he expanded his knowledge and craftsmanship by taking his early apprenticeship in Brazil and California, USA. After passing the board exams, he knew he had to take his talents abroad once more. “I wanted to do something on an international level. Right after taking my board, I had my eye on Singapore or Hongkong” says Ar. Philip.

When deciding between the two, he took a decisive step that would be instrumental in shaping his career and his work ethic. “The architecture scene and the work ethics of the Singaporeans impressed me more. As a young architect, I longed to join a well established firm. With that, I was fortunate and

blessed to be accepted in one of Singapore’s top architectural firms during the 90s.” says Ar. Philip.

In 1992, he found his place in DP Architects Pte. Ltd., one of the biggest firms at the time which handled notable projects like the Marina Square Complex and the Esplanade (Singapore Arts Theater). From there, he was given the privilege to work with the 3 senior directors of DP Singapore. One of his most notable projects was the Marina Square Leisureplex’s extensions comprising a commercial complex with six cinemas by Golden Village. This would just be the first of many projects, where he would bring his talents to different parts of Asia from Kuala Lumpur, Myanmar, and China.

Climbing Up the Ranks in DP Architects

“It was a very humbling experience because I was learning from three masters. A true eye opener for me to learn the fundamentals of my practice.” Ar. Philip adds, “Being Filipino and able to engage directly with foreign clients (Marina Center Holdings) was a unique experience that developed my confidence and self-esteem. I look back now and realize the trust that was given to me. I owe them a lot. I will be forever grateful to my mentors in DPA.

By 1999, he went back to Manila to join DPM Consultants Inc.(Phils.) and was hailed as the “1st Associate Architect” of the firm. That came with huge shoes to fill. “I eventually came back to Manila in 1999, still with DP, because we had a branch here at the time,” he recalls. The following year, he became one of five directors of DPM that handled the design for the NAIA Terminal 3 (pilot project) for TAKENAKA corporation.” Throughout his stay with DPM Consultants, he was also tasked to work on several local projects that would establish his name in the local scene.

Being instrumental in landing the first commercial complex project for the firm, Mango Square Commercial Complex in Cebu was one of the first collaborations he spearheaded with DPA Sing. However, like any foreign company, after NAIA 3 was completed, the DPM team went back to Singapore.

Ar. Philip Lu opted to stay in the Philippines and set his roots in his home nation. Mango Square’s client, Ludo-Luym Development Corporation (LLDC), found this as an opportunity to create and renew a lasting bond with Ar. Philip Lu. Over time, he would be motivated to establish his own firm. However, as many success stories would have it, the road to starting as an independent player in the industry is far from easy.

“Being Filipino and able to engage directly with foreign clients (Marina Center Holdings) was a unique experience that developed my confidence and self-esteem. I look back now and realize the trust that was given to me. I owe them a lot. I will be forever grateful to my mentors in DPA."

Finding APL Architects’ Footing in the Philippines

Aside from specializing in townhouses, residential projects, commercial buildings, hotel and resorts projects, APL’s goal is to create a structure that will contribute positively to our surrounding environment. This is most notable in how they handled one of their biggest challenges in developing Aqua Boracay.

With an area of approximately 16,000 sqm of tropical haven, Aqua Boracay is a massive resort comprising seven magnificent white structures situated on the bay of Bulabog Beach, the eastern side of the island. Its elliptical shapes and seashell-themed buildings make them quite unlike any resort you’ve ever seen before. Housing over 140 guest rooms overlooking the beach’s calming breeze, the project was finalized and designed by APL architects headed by Ar. Philip, together with international and local collaborators.

This impressive feat of a resort houses not just a massive guest capacity, but also a wide range of recreational structures, like gyms, spas, rectilinear swimming pools, and the admin offices. This ambitious project came with various logistical challenges, which really pushed APL’s creativity and problem-solving to its best.

“When we took on this project, we encouraged “self -sustainability” to our clients with regards to facing various issues like not having the proper storm drain facilities from the LGU, to erratic power supply amongst others. ” Ar. Philip adds, “Together with JSR & EMCEES Engineers, our reliable MEPS consultants, new power houses and advanced water treatments were introduced to regulate the power flow and water treatment processes. This enabled the treated water to be reused while the excess is safe for discharge. The resort in a way becomes self-regulating and sufficient.”

The resort's multi-functional rectilinear swimming pool boasts several features, most prominently its child-friendly areas while catering as well to all age brackets.