Sunday, July 09, 2006

McGill takes the charge!

From June 30th to July 3rd, BuildAid witnessed the visit of the director of their own school of architecture – David Covo, a team of Hong Kong based McGill Alumni professionals (Philip Lo, Herman Au and his son Jeffrey, Alex Chu, accompanied by his wife Lily and their niece Tiffany Hu from Los Angeles), Edwin Keh, an entrepreneur also from Hong Kong, as well as Freeman Chan’s return to the Philippines with his two sons, Christian and Adonian, and Jeffrey Tsai – a family friend.

The objectives of this visit differed from one party to the next. David Covo witnessed the work completed so far by the BuildAid team and what was to follow. His very presence was another demonstration of his support. The McGill School of Architecture enlarged its international relationships and potential collaborations by one additional school, as links were made with the University of the Philippines School of Architecture. Through a successful meeting with professors, administration staff, and Prosperidad C. Luis – director of the school of architecture at the University of the Philippines, student exchanges and involvement of UP students to support the cause of BuildAid, holds hope for the future.

For the younger visitors, i.e. Christian, Adonian, Jeff, Jeffrey, and Tiffany, it was an opportunity to experience the slums of the Philippines and to recognize an alternative side to architecture. In the case of Adonian, it became the subject of a photographic study he later exhibited at his school.

Lastly, for the McGill Alumni team, the objective of their visit was to become further aware of the issues of housing relief in the slums of the Philippines, especially within the working range of CCT.

The visit began with brief presentations by the BuildAid team for CCT and the Hong Kong Alumni, which included present conditions, the work completed so far, and the necessary work to be followed up in the future. Following the final remarks by Ruth Callanta (CCT President), and David Covo, further discussions were conducted around dinner. The next few days were followed by site visits through Malibay, Gawad Kalinga – Southern California and Concepcion villages, Baseco, and Parola. Discussions were rich in emotion, in the exchange of knowledge, and in opinion.

On July 3rd, it was already time to wrap up, share experiences, visions, and most importantly develop a plan of action for the future. The Hong Kong team expressed strong support towards the cause of BuildAid and are willing to facilitate the upcoming efforts. As for David Covo, the internship posed great opportunities to move from theory to practice in the architectural field, as well as ways in which to reconnect the profession of architecture with the issues of community and housing development. Such experiences should restore the ways in which we see our world and communities, and the coming years should aim towards raising awareness of these issues to a broader community of the students at McGill.

Finally, as Freeman Chan put it: “The common denominator of all the teams is the desire for ‘Community Transformation’. The challenge is to make this personal, to take some risks, and to make some personal contributions.” These visions have a tangible plan of action, and are yet to be unveiled through the work of the different parties we formed links with. There is hope for the future; BuildAid crossed another bridge towards a broader awareness of architecture for the people.

Comments:
manu, while reading this article, i can't help but laugh at the thought of what was written in your Moleskine. LOL.
 
Very interesting comments Manu.

You have developped different projects not only regarding architectural faces but also, all your team work made up a very human being approach close to the Philippines people.

Congratulations to all of you!

Manu's Dad
 
manu, i really liked how wrote up this account. brings back good memories of that incredible day.

take care buddy and see you home soon,

cheers,

jilly
 
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