Foundree Breaks New Ground on Architectural Learning
Philippine architecture is on the precipice of change. New technologies have emerged, allowing practitioners to experiment with new methods and styles in creating structures. Architects today are also becoming more socially aware, and aim to add meaning to their work as they meet society’s demands. In spite of this, challenges still present themselves. “Though it is trying its best to adapt and innovate, Philippine architecture is having a hard time defending its progress and evolution against commercialism,” says Generation T honouree Jason Buensalido. “It is important for architecture to become a means to stand up for the greater good.”
The idea of using architecture as a catalyst for change inspired Jason to create a community for professionals focused on their field. “For architecture to transform into something greater than its traditional definition, we believe that there must be a venue of critical thinking, relevant learning, and healthy exchange of ideas that can contribute to the improvement of the built environment, and therefore our lives,” he shares. As a result, Buensalido and his partners, Gerard Dy, and Edeline Payawal founded Foundree, a progressive learning centre for architecture and the built environment.
A play on the words “foundry” and “tree,” Foundree aims to be the guiding force for fresh architectural graduates and veterans alike who want to take their careers to the next level. The space itself reflects the creative culture that the centre fosters. Designed by Buensalido+Architects, Foundree’s interiors reflect “this state of always being a work in progress,” as Jason himself puts it. “Creatives always look for inspiration. And for architects, this space provides just that.”
As architects themselves, Jason co-creates programmes that support this mission with Gerard, who is also Foundree’s CEO and Head of Curriculum. The two co-steer the ship with Edeline, who is well-versed in business consultancy and startups. Together they take a very hands-on approach in creating fertile ground for further learning.
“As of now, we have a Transition Learning Programme for Architectural Licensure Exams for those who aspire to become licensed architects, and Professional Development Programmes for architects who want to establish or expand their practice,” says Gerard. It’s important to note though, that Foundree is more than just a review centre. Its classes and seminars welcome all professional creatives who want to learn about building and design. “We don't see enrollees as just students,” Edeline shares. “We actually see ourselves in them. We see their journey, and we want to accompany them in that journey to help them get to their next level.”
Foundree is aware that learning is a continuous process and that further knowledge can promote a positive societal impact in the long run. This is what makes them stand out from the rest. When asked what the ultimate goal for this institution is, Gerard shares that it hopes to fulfil Foundree’s vision: “We envision our students to be future game-changers and champions of enterprises that help improve our built environment, in turn helping to improve more lives through their work.”