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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Architecture: What I Do For A Living

The West Stand of the newly renovated Khalifa Stadium. This is the largest project I have ever been involved with to date.

This is my profession. This has always been my childhood dream. For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be an architect. When I graduated from high school in 1985, I've set my sights taking architecture as my college course. I've got discouragements from relatives and others. They say it's a difficult course and most who graduate end up being just draftsmen for the entire span of their career. Those made me worried but at the same time I believed I can rise through the trials and went on. Shaken but not stirred, 007 might say.

The design team of Al Wakrah Hospital behind the scale model. It has a footprint nearly as big as Khalifa Stadium. I'm one of the architects who contributed into its design development.
Fortunately for me, my parents did not believed in forcing me to do something that I will not be happy with and so, they supported my studies in architecture despite their wish for me to become a lawyer instead. Architecture was indeed a gruelling and challenging course - mentally and physically. Lots of sleepless nights, field works and research. Even our teachers were discouraging us. "If you don't think you've got what it takes to complete this study, might as well shift now." Words they used to say to us. But I persisted and held on to my dream.
Five years later, of the 100% enrollees during the first year in 1985, only 25% remained during graduation. I was one of them. Another year after, I took the Board Exams. I knew that the Architecture Board Exams has one of the highest mortality rate of all professional licensure exams. An average of only 22% (during my time) of the examinees get to pass. Again, I made it and finally became a full pledged architect.
At the West Stand vomitory of the Khalifa Stadium.
16 years after graduation, here I am working abroad as a senior architect for one of the worlds largest consulting firm with perks and a few other small, but nice privileges. I'm not at the peak of my career yet. I'm still struggling for my way up there but I'm quite happy with the way my career is going, with the choices I made and the path I chose to take.
With Ronnie, a Filipino architect as well, and a major player in our construction supervision team of a 25 storey apartment building.
I'm not that rich yet and I don't believe I've achieved enough to stop working. But I'm glad I held on to my dream.


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