Pioneering architecture

Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao
·3 min read

THIS year marks a milestone for architecture as a profession here in the Philippines. It has been 100 years since the landmark law stating the separation of the board examination for engineers and architects was signed. The year 1921 also marked the time when “maestro de obras” were recognized and automatically registered as architects in that same law.

Here in Cebu, architect Jose Mari Cañizares can be considered as among the leading lights of the profession, who are considered as homegrown architects. Fondly called Mari, he is a graduate of Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U), passed the architect licensure examination in 1972 and immediately started his own architectural office.

Mari was among the architects, who were instrumental in the integration of three different associations of architects all over the Philippines at that time, uniting them into a common group, the United Architects Integration Committee, or now known as the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP). Today, the UAP is recognized as the integrated and accredited professional organization of architects in the country. While the group is nestled in Metro Manila with its headquarters in Quezon City, the UAP had its birth right here in the Queen City of the South.

As a prolific practitioner bound by good ethical conduct, Mari is recognized by peers and clients alike. He was recognized as outstanding alumnus of the University of San Carlos (1979) and CIT-U (1990). In 1996, he was elevated into the prestigious UAP College of Fellows for his notable contribution to the architecture profession and outstanding service to the professional organization. In 2003, he was awarded “Architect of the Year” by the Professional Regulation Commission.

Over more than four decades, his architectural firm has designed and completed a long list of building projects ranging from quaint residences to landmark buildings. Today, as it closes in to its 50th year in the design and construction field, it has evolved into a “diversified practice complimented by youthful and aggressive partners and associates applying the same fundamental principles that started with the firm’s inception in 1972.”

The Cañizares Architects Design Company (CAD Co.) now involves Mari’s two architect sons Jose Diego and Kenzo, who have inherited their father’s drive and creativity, which are vital in many project collaborations both here and abroad.

“It is always crucial to keep track of the latest trends in design and materials to keep us always up to date with market demands,” said Mari. “Keeping up to date is a lot more convenient with (my sons) involved.”

As its architectural practice continues to thrive, the firm immerses itself in many building projects in and out of Cebu. With its new branding, it signals a renewed commitment of the architects to provide high-quality professional service guided by sound ethics and, of course, wisdom from Mari. He admits that it is quite hard to pick a “favorite” from his myriad of projects throughout the years but Mari always maintains the thought that the most memorable project will be the next one “because each and every project, big or small, is a new challenge.”