Every business owner concerns themselves with the success and sustainability of their business. Therein lies the question of what a person considers a successful career. Is it a high-paying salary? the recognition of industry experts? Or a massive portfolio of achievements?
The importance of making a firm future-ready
It’s every business owner's dilemma to wonder what will happen to their company after their
passing. Like any young architect, Ar. Daniel's initial idea of success was to be a prominent architect. However, he realized early on that the true determiner for success is to be an architect who gives significance to other people, whether they’re clients, team members, or the community surrounding finished projects.
Starting in 1996 as a single proprietor firm, Daniel C. Go Architecture Design grew into ADGO Architecture and Design Inc. in 2008. This expansion is a response to the need for sustainability, to make his company future-ready even in the event of his retirement. Ar. Daniel wondered about what would happen to his firm, his team, and the people that depend on them.
Certain architectural firms are still very active in the practice of architecture, even if their principal architects have passed on. For instance, Leandro V. Locsin Partners and GF & Partners Architects operate even with the passing of their namesake architects. Ar. Daniel noticed that these firms are still being managed by people who have been with these notable individuals, maintaining the brand and quality of service of their principal architect.
"I talked to my lawyers to make my architectural firm into a corporation so that if I pass on, the company can still continue to work." He adds, "As a principal architect, I want my people to have a secure working environment. Even if something should happen to me, I want the firm to go on."
Even before making this move for expansion, Ar. Daniel has already been molding his company into a self-sufficient team of empowered individuals. This is thanks to his model direction in curating ADGO’s workplace represented by its 14 core values:
Each of these core values create an acrostic that
borrows the letters from his namesake company, embodying the brand of ADGO Architects. Following these values help Ar. Daniel and his team face any adversities to learn and use thesechances as doors to opportunities.
The benefit of being prepared in the face of monumental challenges
In his keynote address as the guest of honor at UAP's 46th National Convention that occurred this year, Ar. Daniel Go highlighted the importance of developing core values to guide an architectural firm's path to success. The first of his company's 14 core values is to "Worship and Adore God." This brand of believing in faith has been instilled in ADGO Architects’ workplace, tying to one of the company's first major projects.
Although the company had worked on several residential and institutional complexes, building the Christ's Commission Fellowship (CCF) Worship and Training Center was the big break that tested his firm to face numerous obstacles. The 11-storey CCF Center in Pasig City is notably one of the largest worship centers in the Philippines, spanning an area of 97,000 square meters and a seating capacity of 10,000 people. As one of the largest projects the firm had faced, it was an overwhelming challenge to surpass.
With numerous established companies submitting their proposed designs at the time, ADGO’s
chances of successfully bagging the project in 2006 seemed slim to none. However, through extensive
preparation, and the grace of God, the fledgling company of ADGO Architects managed to surpass even its principal architect’s expectations. After being tasked to spearhead the development of the CCF Center, ADGO Architects took over seven years to design and build the project, becoming a memorable milestone for the company as the beginning of many achievements to come.
"We’re very proud to say that it was all Filipino-made, from the concept to its details, There were no foreign consultants involved in the design process.” Ar. Daniel adds that, “ It was very rewarding, because as we look back at it right now, it exceeded our projected outcome. I would say it’s a world-class facility. It appears grand but not expensively grand.”
This momentous opportunity was not won through sheer luck. Instead, it was hardly fought through perseverance and an acknowledgement of God's grace. "We do not know what God has in store for us, but we should always be prepared for the Big One, for the big break that God will give us.” Ar. Daniel adds, "You will never know if you'll have a chance to shine. But it does not mean that you will do nothing in the meantime." By building a solid foundation of skills, collaborating with a set of capable teammates, and instilling a proactive mindset, Ar. Daniel overcame the obstacles of this massive feat in strides.
Exterior Perspective of CCF Training and Worship Center and the Proposed 20-storey CCF School
Building located at Ortigas East, Ortigas Avenue corner C5 Road, Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
The first of his company's 14 core values is to "Worship and Adore God." This brand of believing in faith
has been instilled in ADGO Architects’ workplace, tying to one of the company's first major projects.
Aerial Perspective of a Proposed 10 hectares Logistics and Warehouse Complex owned by First B Realty Corporation.
The value of faith in ADGO’s workplace culture
Building the CCF Center isn’t the only instance where Ar. Daniel and his team had a brush with God. As the first core value of his company reiterates, he emphasizes the value of deepening a relationship with God not just on paper but also in practice.
Ar. Daniel notes that in his firm, spiritual life and personal relationship with the Lord are very important. Every morning his team participates in a 15-minute devotional time, where they read the Bible and learn
from the Daily Bread devotionals. “I feel that starting the first part of our day aligned with God’s will is very important. This is why I encouraged my team to set aside 15-20 minutes each day to share their thoughts and experience on how the Bible’s verses impacted them and how they can apply these into their personal life.” He discovered that it helps them a lot, mentally and spiritually. “At ADGO Architects, we not only train you to be a great architect, we also look after the spiritual aspect of your growth.”
The ADGO Architects team regards these morning rituals as a vital part of enriching their working experience, allowing them to experience an opportunity to give thanks and reflect. This is expressed by Ar. Daniel’s team, from senior architects to project heads.
Ar. Daniel in discussion with ADGO senior architects (L-R) Ar. Brian Evangelista, Ar. Lorie Aringo, Ar. Ric Aringo, Ar. Shealla Bigalbal, Ar. Karen De Guia and Ar. Mark Lim
Ar. Daniel leading ADGO team in their daily devotion (right) Daily Team huddle. Every project team leader and member are encouraged to voice out their opinions and take notes during a project discussion (left)
Architect Mark, Ira, Harvey and Brian discussing elevations of site reflected on the Topographic survey and how it will affect the project.
Ar. Shealla: “Our daily devotions help me to align my thoughts and actions to what they should be. The devotions also strengthen my relationship not just with God but with my officemates as well. It gives us a glimpse of what they are going through.”
Ar. Mark: “It influences how to live my life according to God’s words. And it also serves as a constant source of encouragement as we are doing this everyday.”
Ar. Brian: “Daily devotions improve my relationship with God and to the people around me. It also helps me to have a positive mindset. “
Ar. Lorie: “Our devotion time every morning helps me start the day at work filled with inspiration and words of wisdom. It's a constant reminder for me to seek his guidance for decision-making and to be motivated throughout the day.”
Ar. Ric: “Daily devotion gives an opportunity for us in the office to orient our day early in the morning and gives glory to God.”
Besides enriching their faith, Ar. Daniel makes it imperative to reinforce mentorship for supervising, training, and preparing his team to be capable architects and members of society.
At ADGO Architects, we not only train you to be a great architect, we also look after thespiritual aspect of your growth.
AVI Corporate Office located at Veterans Village, Project 7, Quezon City
Walter Mart Muntinlupa is located along West Service Road in Sucat, Muntinlupa. This new mall complex will have a 2-level commercial space and a basement parking as well as 2-storey logistics warehouse building at the rear of the complex.
The value of mentorship in ADGO’s progress and success
It’s not uncommon for businesses to have a hierarchical structure from the company owner down to the lowest employee. This sets a level of organization to optimize workflow but can come at the cost of alienation to one’s position in the company. Ar. Daniel challenges this industry practice by ensuring that he’s present and approachable to his team, from his senior architects down to the newest recruits throughout their stay in ADGO Architects.
With ADGO Architects’ 25 years of service, Ar. Daniel remains hands-on with the development of his firm. He continues to do this even as his team expands to provide an everyday teaching experience to his team. He notes the value of being a present mentor figure by saying that “It’s impossible for me to mentor my team if I’m not around. This is why I really spend time in the office to explain how I do things in a specific way. I allow my people to go through the process so that they would know what I would do when facing different problems.”
“In our culture here in the office, I spend a lot of time with my senior architects. At the start, there were just 6 or 7 of them. Now, they are capable of mentoring the next set of young architects.” Production head Ar. Brian, who has been with ADGO Architects for over 13 years, sees this practice as a beneficial experience to new recruits. As a senior member, he handles new members of the team by passing on the torch in practice. He notes that “With our new architects, we teach them how to approach and handle clients’ needs. With my experience from learning under Ar. Daniel, it’s also how I pass on the mentorship I experienced to them.”
Ar. Brian notes the key difference of ADGO from other architectural firms as being a more well-rounded workplace environment. “As ADGO started as a small firm, we learned to handle time management, prioritization, and self-discipline. It’s also necessary to recognize the value of believing in your team as partners and collaborators.” In ADGO, the team members aren’t just tasked to perform individual tasks, they’re already trained to manage an architectural firm. ADGO’s team members are exposed to the diversity of workplace functions, from accounting jobs to administrative tasks.
Ar. Ric, who also has a long-running stint of over 15 years with Ar. Daniel reinforces the value of transitioning and mentoring new recruits. “In ADGO culture, we provide a seamless transition to give them the right skills to provide quality work. All the teachings of Ar. Daniel is passed on to new
While it’s important to learn from more experienced professionals, ADGO’s workplace culture doesn’t shy away from being a constant space for collaboration and learning. “From the project lead to the project members, I meet with all of them. If we encounter a problem, we learn as a group. What I impart to you, I want you to teach to the next generation.” Says Ar. Daniel.
"It’s necessary to recognize the value of believing in your team as partners and collaborators.”
“I’m the type of person who’s always open to new ideas. Even as the founder of ADGO Architects, I don’t consider myself a very knowledgeable architect. There’s always still so much to learn from other people’s suggestions and inputs.” He adds, that ”It’s not always about you. Knowledge shared is knowledge gained. Here in ADGO, we maintain a culture where everybody learns something new every day. The moment we stop learning we become a fool.” Since every project has its own set of challenges, Ar. Daniel believes that an individual must strive to keep learning and improving.
The responsibility of a principal architect to his team
A productive workplace environment is a necessity for a motivated and empowered team. For this reason, Ar. Daniel reinforces the value of creating a safe and secure space for his team. This applies to their adaptation of using the latest and licensed industry-standard architectural software and to the implementation of stringent safety protocols for their workspaces during the pandemic.
ADGO Group Photo CS
Atrium of Primer Workplays showing the Dining and Offices. Photo of the Dining area and huddle areas.
Architects cannot produce quality work without having the right tools at their disposal. For this reason, Ar. Daniel makes it a standard to subscribe and use original softwares to keep him and his team at the forefront of modern industry practices. “Right now, we’ve migrated from standard CAD to more advanced architectural softwares. Although these softwares are very costly and expensive,” he adds, “It’s an investment to give my team the chance to familiarize themselves with the latest softwares and provide them with the right skills to handle international-standard projects. Plus, it allows the company to require fewer people to work on a project.”
Besides innovating the workplace, Ar. Daniel also invested in creating a safe workplace environment. “The work of an architect takes a lot of meticulous coordination and teamwork, and every plan and detail in a project has to come together. This is why as a team we opted not to have a work-from-home setup. Instead, we took the necessary safety precautions to remain safe and productive.”
As the principal architect, it’s Ar. Daniel’s responsibility not just to maintain the quality output of his team but also to uphold their safety and welfare. “Thankfully, we are blessed that the area in our office is spacious. It allows us to follow IATF safety protocols, practice proper social distancing and install medical-grade disinfecting machines in our workplace.”
Facade of the mixed-use CMG Corporate Office Building along J. Cruz street, Brgy. Ugong, Pasig City.
Aerial Perspective of One Oculus Center located at Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
The task of training better architects and individuals in society
There are many approaches to become a successful and prominent architect. For Ar. Daniel, his vision of success is one that’s known for doing the right things. Part of this comes with training his team to be competent in their own right by equipping them with the right skills and resources to become better architects.
Worrying about the competition will always be
an aspect of running any architectural firm however, Ar. Daniel doesn’t let this reality halt his willingness to mentor his team. “I mentor my ADGO members not just to be a better architect but to be a better person in society. I’m not insecure about myself and my career. I don’t need to be worried about my people becoming more successful than I am. If I mentor them well and they become successful on their own, then it's a source of joy and fulfillment for me. If they choose to stay with ADGO, then it’s even better and we continue to grow.”
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