Architects: Mimics of God’s Providence and Artistry

[Address to new ADDU Architects, 20 July 2013]

It is a distinct pleasure for me to be here this evening to express my personal congratulations and the felicitations of the entire Ateneo de Davao University, not only on your passing the Architectural Board exam, but on your passing with the distinction of a 4th placer and a 1st placer nationwide in your ranks, Archt. Clarissa Mae M. Segura and Archt. Kenneth Yap respectively.

In congratulating you, I wish to congratulate the faculty members of your Department, led by Archt. Wilfredo Polycarpio, who have passed on the secrets of the architectural profession to you with patience, perseverance and obviously great success.

I also congratulate your parents, relatives, benefactors and friends for having supported you throughout the years to this day of great recognition. You know better than I how it would not have been possible without their support to succeed in the manner that you have.

The work of the architect may be among the more discreet professions in the world. Books are known by their authors, and paintings are known by their artists; too often though the work of the architect is eclipsed by the owner of the building or its function: the Madrigal Building, the Sears Towers, the Pentagon, the Tower of London, City Hall or Malacañang Palace.

Yet we know that the architect truly transforms the face of the earth in the majesty or monstrousness of the things that he or she designs – sometimes elegant palaces in manicured gardens, at other times structured nightmares of human misery and sufferings haunting ruins of grey cement and cold steel.

On the other hand, we know that it is because of good architects that we live, hopefully, in progressively more beautiful buildings and homes, but also because of them that we can now choose to live happily and work efficiently in structures that celebrate not only the creativity and artistry of the human genius in diverse cultures, but are also better attuned to the environment God has blessed us with. Because of good architects we are learning to create structures that are more respectful of the scarce resources needed to construct and maintain them, structures that are today greener than grey, harmonized with the sunrise and the sunset, mitigating the strength of the winds and magnifying the gentleness of the breezes, built to capture, utilize and celebrate light, not to shut it out, necessarily planned in conjunction with blossoming trees, refreshing waterways, restful lawns, living ponds, colorful flowers, dancing fountains and people able – even in a mighty metropolis – to breath and appreciate the presence of the dragonflies and fireflies, the kingfishers and the hummingbirds.

To all of you, new professional architects of our homes, skyscrapers and workplaces, designers of our temples, chapels and cathedrals, fashioners of our towns and cities, my sincerest best wishes! May you participate in the creativity of God himself – who created our world for the sake of the human family He loves! May your architectural creations mimic both his providence and his artistry! And unto this end: may you find the clients of such passionate needs and liberal resources that stir your imagination and force you to almost divine creativity; but may your architectural discipline and science keep you firmly on this earth in the world of human beings!

After a lifetime of proposing, encouraging, designing, perfecting, and supervising the implementation of your designs, may you look back on all you have done with great satisfaction, saying with the Creator, not only that all has been commissioned, but that all has been blessed, all has been good, in the service of humanity, unto the greater glory of God!

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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