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Meet the firm that’s putting Philippine architecture on the map

By Tricia Quintero
November 29, 2021

When you think of architecture capitals in the world, countries like England, China, Spain, Italy, and Japan come to mind. But Philippine-based global architecture firm, Aidea, believes that our local industry is not far behind, but just a few pushes and maybe new pieces of technology away.

Among Aidea’s past works include Procter and Gamble’s innovation center in Beijing, the Museum Park Tower II in Chicago, Socar Tower in Azerbaijan, and Crimson Boracay. But just how this Philippine-based firm shot to the global stage?

View of the Crimson Boracay at night showcasing the flow of its architecture

Aidea started in 2003—at the peak of the Asian Financial Crisis—when President and CEO Architect Abelardo “Jojo” M. Tolentino returned to the country to run the Philippine arm of British architecture firm RMJM. From there, he and his partners acquired RMJM in the Philippines and named it Aidea.

They had three clear goals in mind: be a Filipino company delivering quality projects overseas, be a top local company and one of the biggest firms in the country and region, and be a company that leverages technology to provide the best quality of service to its clients and to build truly innovative buildings.

Another project that Aidea worked on with Gensler and Daiichi Properties, Inc. is The Finance Centre

Their focus on technology is one of the biggest factors that catapulted them to the global stage and attracted global clients. Virtual Design Construction (VDC) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) were applied in their skyscraper construction way ahead of firms in other markets.

“VDC and BIM were already mature in our company when we took on these projects, but not yet in those markets,” he shared.

Aidea’s success and achievements serve as precedents to the rest of the Philippine architecture industry. Tolentino truly believes in the power of local talent. “We have empathy. Our design has a lot of understanding toward the client and their needs… We also have a knack for technology. I believe we have all the ingredients to succeed. We just have to believe in ourselves.”

And with Aidea leading the way, there’s no doubt that the rest of the local industry can follow suit.

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