Aidea – Merging Architecture and Technology in a Shining Example of a Global Filipino Business – Manila Newsletter



A world-class innovation center in Beijing, a skyscraper in Azerbaijan and a luxury condominium in Makati. What do these buildings have in common? They were all designed and designed by the Filipino architectural firm Aidea. This week, we hear from Aidea’s President and CEO, Architect Abelardo “Jojo” Tolentino Jr. talk about the creation of a global architectural firm in the Philippines and the importance of innovation and continuous collaboration to stay constantly at the forefront.

Aidea’s President and CEO, Architect Abelardo M. Tolentino, Jr. has been recognized as a mainstay of the practice for his design genius having built nearly a thousand developments around the world. He is also respected for his business acumen on how he grew Aidea from a team of 20 to over 370 and beautifully established the first Filipino architectural firm in the Middle East.

What many don’t know about Tolentino is his early penchant for technology. “My first choice in college was really computer engineering, but at the time it wasn’t available locally. He chose architecture as a close “second choice”, but always kept the pulse of the latest innovations in the industry. This love and appreciation for technology is why Aidea relies so heavily on the combination of design and architectural technology in its projects around the world.

But how did Aidea make its way beyond the Philippine coast? It was born out of the economic conditions of the late 90s. Tolentino began his career in Hong Kong, then was hired by the British architectural firm RMJM to lead its operations in the Philippines.

The architecture of Crimson Boracay is arranged on a terraced hill to maximize the ocean panorama from all angles. The harmonious flow of movement creates pleasant adjacencies between accommodation and amenities. Aidea was hired as a benchmark architect in collaboration with the design firm WATG. The project is also the first to call on Aidea’s expertise in Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).
Crimson Boracay is a 30,000 square meter luxury resort and spa in a secluded and exclusive cove on the country’s most popular vacation island. The design explores the relationship between architecture, landscaping and interiors.

“I returned to the Philippines during the Asian financial crisis,” Tolentino said. “As you can imagine times were slow, so we had to rebuild the business with projects we could get overseas, but in the process we also created our own local market.”

In 2003, Tolentino and its partners acquired RMJM and renamed it Aidea. The company was established with three key goals: to be a Filipino company doing quality overseas projects, to be a leading local company and one of the largest companies in the country and region, and possibly more importantly, to be a company that takes advantage of technology to provide the best quality of service to its customers and to build truly innovative buildings.

This inclination towards technology has been a key catalyst for Aidea to successfully execute some of its most famous projects in the world. This includes the Beijing Technical Center of Procter & Gamble (P&G), a multi-hectare research center that partners with Chinese universities to provide the best in research.

The Beijing P&G Engineering Center is a high-tech innovation hub comprising 34,000 square meters of offices, laboratories and a one-story pilot manufacturing component. It is the first P&G in Asia and is home to the company’s research, development and innovation center in the region.
Aidea led an international team of multidisciplinary design consultants who worked closely with P & G’s global design group to ensure that a critical installation delivery met the expectations of the largest consumer products company in the world. world. The design was based on the concept of modular laboratories wrapped in open workspaces, all organized around four-story sky-lit atriums. The architecture blends traditional Chinese character with modern elements.

“This is where P&G develops its new products,” explained Tolentino. “We took charge of this project from start to finish and engaged laboratory design experts under our leadership. It was the culmination of a long-standing partnership between Aidea and P&G that saw the company design more than 40 projects for the consumer goods maker across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Other flagship projects include the Socar Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan, which was a joint venture with Korean company Heerim, as well as the 40-story Museum Park Tower II in Chicago, a collaboration with US company Papageorge Haymes. In these projects, Aidea drew on its experience in Virtual Construction Design (VDC) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to apply it to high-rise construction.

Aidea, in collaboration with Pappageorge Haymes Partners, designed Museum Park Place Two, a larger and mirrored interpretation of its twin tower with a bold silhouette, taking full advantage of the breathtaking views of Lake Chicago, Soldier Field and Museum Campus to the East.
The financial center is the third collaboration between Aidea, Gensler and the Filipino developer, Daiichi Properties, Inc., for whom Aidea has been providing design solutions from its first office building project at BGC. Through the shared experience, the project team developed the design and technical strategies that enhance collaboration. The 44 floors of the iconic tower house 31 floors of offices, levels dedicated to retail and leisure, and a penthouse for executive offices.

“VDC and BIM were already mature in our business when we undertook these projects, but not yet in these markets,” said Tolentino. Aidea was therefore hired to apply the technology and enhance the expertise of its global partners.

From its humble beginnings during the Asian financial crisis to the global company it is today, Aidea strives to be an example for Filipino architects and designers. Tolentino firmly believes in the quality of local talent. “We have empathy. Our design has a lot of understanding towards the customer and his needs. We see it as a service. We also have a sense of technology. I think we have all the ingredients for success. We just have to believe in ourselves.

Aidea has conducted extensive surveys and interactions with Globe employees to design a work environment fully aligned with the values ​​and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of the workplace. The concept of the interior spaces celebrates the dynamic culture of the company and its passion for technology while providing the greatest comfort and encouraging teamwork and collaboration.
Aidea was commissioned to create a distinctive exterior shape to represent Globe’s aspirations and forge a strong bond between consumers, people and the community. Globe Telecom’s head office has more than 4,000 employees and is LEED Gold certified. Aidea’s Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach has enabled the integration of architecture, engineering, interior and graphic environmental design in the fastest and most efficient way.

Aidea’s success and global reach makes Tolentino all the more confident that other Filipino companies can do the same. “If we play in a bigger arena we might not win everything, but it encourages others to do the same. We want a future without borders and I think the Philippines has what it takes to do it, ”concluded Tolentino enthusiastically.

This vision of offering architecture and design as a technology service is a shining example of what a Filipino business can do. For Aidea, global recognition of Philippine design and architecture is not impossible, it is just new software.


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