Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines

While architectural firms face some of the bigger challenges in local real estate in terms of competition, several have managed to stand out and lead the industry in design both locally and internationally.

While certain limits apply to foreign investment and ownership of real estate in the Philippines, fewer restrictions apply to the architectural firms tasked with its design and development. This makes it a little more challenging for local firms to contribute and subsequently benefit from the industry’s slow but steady growth of around 6 percent per year.

Despite the competition, a number of architectural firms have managed to stand out and be locally and globally competitive. Let’s take a look at some of them: 

1. AIDEA Philippines, Inc.

An architectural firm that originated in England in 1995 but ultimately evolved into an all-Filipino firm by 2003, AIDEA is one of the Philippines’ largest design practices and has been included in BCI Media Group’s Top 10 Architectural Firms for three consecutive years, and ranked 62 among the WA (World Architecture) 100 for 2015.

Recent projects by AIDEA include the Ascott Residences, Kidzania Philippines, High Street South Corporate Plaza Tower 2, and Woodside Greentown Twin Towers. The project it has recently gotten the most acclaim for has been the Globe Tower in Bonifacio Global City, as it is now one of the most praised and desired office buildings in Metro Manila.

Globe Tower Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
Globe Tower. Photo via AIDEA Philippines

2. ASYA Design Partner

Asya Design Partner has constantly been in BCI’s Top 10 architectural firms since the recognition started being awarded in 2005. Headed by Architect Albert Yu, the firm is widely recognized for its holistic services that help owners develop properties from the ground up. ASYA is also the only local firm with its very own 12-story Platinum-certified green office building.

Working with as many as 65 developers so far, ASYA has completed design for a bevy of structures both locally and abroad. The most recognizable include the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the Fo Guang Shan Temple in Malate, and the City of Dreams Manila.

City of Dreams Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
City of Dreams. Photo via Shutterstock

3. BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design

BUDJI+ROYAL is an architectural design firm established by Royal Pineda and Budji Layug, born out of their creative collaboration that began in 2001. The company prides itself on bringing its signature organic modern style to the world. Their total approach to design integrates the demands of interior design, architecture, furniture design, landscaping, and home accessories into one complete practice.

Their award-winning portfolio features local and international resorts, hotels, airport projects, and commercial and residential developments. They have projects across Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA, Australia, United Kingdom, France, and Israel. Meranti Hotel in Quezon City, Lumot Vacation House in Laguna, and Camara Residence in Makati City are their most well-known projects in the country.

4. Casas + Architects, Inc.

Casas + Architects, Inc. is a multi-disciplinary architectural firm supported by an ingenious contemporary vision. The company is dedicated to upholding the ideals of architecture and master planning every aspect of their work. Their body of work spans commercial properties, high-rise residential condominiums, hospitality facilities, and institutional complexes that integrate architectural integrity with natural environments.

The firm was founded by Jose Pedro C. Recio and Carmelo T. Casas, who both cut their teeth in one of Hong Kong’s leading architectural firms. They began their creative partnership in 1990, serving as design consultants for projects like The Pacific Plaza Tower in Makati City, the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Studio, Richmonde Hotel, and Salcedo Park, a notable landmark in Salcedo Village, Makati.

5. Edward Co Tan & Architects

With a passion for sustainability, Edward Co Tan & Architects (ECTA) has established itself among the top architectural firms in the Philippines by embracing advancements and methodologies that complement the systems developed by environmental institutions like the Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

A five-time entrant in the BCI Top 10, ECTA continues to embark on several high-profile projects in the country, bringing as much of their commitment to sustainability as possible to each one. Some of the most recognizable projects of the firm include the cylindrical Del Rosario Building in BGC, The Sanctuarium in Quezon City, and the upcoming World Hotel and Residences in Quezon City.

The Sancturium Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
The Sancturium. Photo via ECT Architects

6. GF & Partners Architects

GF & Partners Architects began as Gabriel Formoso’s successful personal practice. The renowned architect began his career in 1939 and established himself as one of the first 100 licensed architects in the Philippines. The firm eventually evolved to include founding partners Susana S. Castillo, Ricardo S. Dela Rosa Jr., Jaime C. Marquez, Rodolfo V. Lameyra, and Severino C. Villarama.

Most of the firm’s designs are underscored by Formoso’s penchant for “bold-lined fascias” and “masculine-looking rubble walls.” His creative vision has been described as “a pride in architectural symmetry, elegance, and beauty.” They’ve been responsible for some of the most notable buildings in the country, such as the Ayala Alabang landmark Alabang Town Center, Makati City Hall, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Makati Shangri-La Hotel, and One Serendra.

7. FSL & Associates, Co.

Founded by renowned architect Felix S. Lim in 1983, FSL & Associates, Co. is an architectural firm with over 700,000 sqm of completed commercial, office, and LEED projects. They’ve been consistently awarded the Asia Pacific Award for Best Office Development since 2012.

Together with architects Don Fendi Li, Patrick Jefferson Lim, and a team of talented designers, the firm has persistently challenged, enhanced, and diversified Metro Manila’s skylines and thriving urban centers. Among their most notable projects include the Ortigas CBD landmark Podium Mall and BDO Tower in Ortigas Center, and Eton Cyberpod Centris in Quezon City.

8. Jonathan O. Gan + Associates

Known in the industry for institutional architecture projects like the Xavier School Sports Complex in Manila and the Southville Foreign College in Las Piñas, Jonathan O. Gan + Associates has been a BCI Asia Top 10 awardee on numerous occasions. The firm’s other projects like the A. Venue Mall and Jonathan O. Gan + Associates have gone as far as to be featured in the award-giving body’s magazine.

The architecture firm’s more recent projects include the Chimes Condominiums in Greenhills, Robinsons Tagum in Tagum City, and the Midori Clark & Casino in Mabalacat, Pampanga. The project in Pampanga is one of great anticipation, as it is set to stand in a city classified as the new business frontier.

9. Jose Siao Ling & Associates

Established in 1983 with only three office staff in San Juan City, Jose Siao Ling & Associates exemplifies building something from the ground up. Fast forward to more than three decades, and the architectural firm stands as one of the most decorated in the country. The firm has been in the BCI Asia Top 10 eight times, with members of the firm recognized as top ASEAN or APEC Architects.

Undoubtedly, the most recognizable project designed by the firm is the Mall of Asia Arena, the leading venue for large-scale events in the Philippines. Notable residential projects embarked on by the firm include Luxe Residences in Taguig, and H Hotel by Harolds in both Cebu and in Quezon City.

Mall of Asia Arena Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
Mall of Asia Arena. Photo via Jose Siao Ling & Associates

10. JSLA Architects

With an impressive body of work composed of over 450 completed award-winning projects, such as the SMX Convention Center in the SM Mall of Asia complex, JSLA Architects has been committed to providing exceptional real estate services since 1983. Their stellar portfolio also includes 37 of the 70 malls of SM, more than 30 buildings in Bonifacio Global City, several BPO buildings in Robinsons Malls, and numerous hotels, resorts, and residential properties across the country.

What started as Jose Siao Ling and Associates, a small architectural practice, has grown into a family corporate practice that encompasses more than 50 design capabilities. Their main mission is to be a formidable presence in the architectural world, planning and providing highly productive spaces that are safe, ingenious, efficient, and sustainable.

11. Pimentel Rodriguez Simbulan & Partners

An architectural firm founded by three partners who had great success as sole proprietors, Pimentel Rodriguez Simbulan & Partners is the team behind a number of very recognizable structures in Metro Manila and the Philippines. These include the series of Ayala Life–FGU Centers in Makati, Alabang, and Cebu.

Some of the more recent projects that the multi-awarded firm has designed and will soon change the Metro Manila skyline include Edades Tower and Garden Villas in Rockwell Center, Shang Salcedo Place in Makati, and The Grove by Rockwell in Pasig City.

12. R. Villarosa Architects Partner & Associates

Established in 1972 and grown into a partnership with personnel of over 40 individuals, R. Villarosa Architects Partner & Associates is one of the most established and experienced architectural firms in the Philippines. The firm had been in the BCI Asia Top 10 for the Philippines for the past three consecutive years, and is the team behind the Gramercy Residences, the Philippines’ tallest residential towers. R. Villarosa Architects’ projects also include Acqua Private Residences, a six-tower residential condo project by Century Properties.

Acqua Private Residences Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
Acqua Private Residences. Photo courtesy Century Properties

13. Visionary Architecture, Inc.

Established in 2001, Visionary Architecture is one of the younger architectural firms in the Philippines, but in a short span of time, the firm has established itself as one of the best in the industry, being recognized with several awards and being the key design team in a number of high-profile projects.

Its projects include the Circuit Events Pavilion in Circuit Makati, Xavier School in Bonifacio Global City, and Avida Towers Serin East in Tagaytay. Perhaps the biggest projects of the firm to date are several projects/sections of Arca South in Taguig, a sprawling mixed-use estate currently being developed by Ayala Land.

Arca South Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
Concept for Arca South by Visionary Architecture, Inc.

14. WTA Architecture + Design Studio

Cited for the first time in 2015 by BCI Asia for its Top 10 in the Philippines, WTA Architecture + Design Studio markets itself as a “multidisciplinary group of young and idealistic architects and interior designers, and urban planners and engineers.” Established in 2007, the architecture firm has made large strides in a short time, resulting in their receipt of the Archstoyanie Nikola’s Belvedere First Prize.

While sporting a comparatively smaller project portfolio, WTA is already behind a handful of notable structures in the Philippines. This includes Portal Mall along Ongpin Street in Binondo, Manila, The One Mall in Valenzuela City, and the upcoming Inoza Tower in Bonifacio Global City.

Inoza Center Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
Concept art for Inoza Center by WTA Architecture + Design Studio

15. H1 Architecture and Design

H1 Architecture and Design is a well-established full-service architecture, master-planning, urban design, and interior architecture firm. The group has one of the largest portfolios of high-profile projects in the country, a testament to the trust it has earned from investors and property owners.

H1’s key projects include Fora Mall in Tagaytay, Parkway Corporate Center in Alabang, Soltana Nature Residence in Cebu, Panglao Oasis in Taguig, and Six Senses Resort in Pasay City.

Six Senses Resort Top Architectural Firms in the Philippines
Six Senses Resort. Photo via Federal Land

Main Image via Shutterstock

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