During the Spanish era there were no schools of Architecture in the Philippines. The first Filipino recorded architect was Felix Roxas y Arroyo, born circa 1820 in Manila, studied in Spain and stayed for many years in England and France. Previous to this, a Filipino could aspire to erect an architectural structure through the help of a Maestro de Obras or master builder. The first formal school for master builders was opened only during the last decade of the 19th century. On 14 September 1902, many of the graduates of this school joined the civil engineers and surveyors in the country and founded the first professional organization of architects and allied professionals–the Academia de Arquitectura y Aguimensura de Filipinos (AAAF). It maintained direct consultation with the American Institute of Architects (AIA). A year after, its name was changed to Academia de Inginieria, Arquitectura y Agrimensura de Filipinas (AIAAF). In 1904 it founded the first school of Architecture in the Philippines, the Escuela de Ingenieria y Arquitectura, which offered five-year courses in Architecture and Civil Engineering.
In 1911, the AIAAF was dissolved when the civil engineers withdrew to form their own professional organization, but not before it has struggled for the passage of an Engineers and Architects Law. In 1921, the Philippine National Assembly Act No. 2985 passed, the first enabling law for the practice of the professions of engineering and architecture, defined the unique and separate identities of the two professions.
The profession of Architecture in the Philippines was given its first separate statute on 17 June 1950 with the enactment of Republic Act 545, “An Act to Regulate the Practice of Architecture in the Philippines.”
From the early 1930’s to late 1950’s, associations of architects were founded, but only three survived until the early 1970’s–the Association of Philippine Government Architects (APGA), League of Philippine Architects (LPA), and the Philippine Institute of Architects (PIA). In June 1973, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree 223, creating the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) regulating all professions and accrediting only one organization to represent each profession.
The newly integrated organization of architects was called the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP). All 1300 members of the three organizations automatically became members of the UAP and during its first year, 700 members officially registered for active membership.
On 26 March 1975, the UAP was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and on 12 May 1975, the PRC issued Certificate No. 001 to the UAP as the duly accredited professional organization of architects in the Philippines. The organization has been participating in the activities of local government units, in civic and in related professional fields. The UAP received many professional awards including the highly acclaimed Excellence Award given by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Most Outstanding Professional Organization of the Year awarded by the PRC in 2002.
The UAP has been instrumental in the passing of Republic Act 9266: The Architect’s Law of 2004, effective April 26, 2004. On 22 June 2004, the PRC, through its Board of Architecture, accredited the UAP as the Integrated and Accredited Professional Organization of Architects (IAPOA). The new law granted Filipino architects more definitive rights, benefits and distinction as against other professionals in the construction industry
The United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) was born on December 12, 1974 out of the noble vision of unifying the three (3) existing architectural associations at that time – the Philippine Institute of Architects (PIA), the League of Philippine Architects (LPA) and the Association of Philippine Government Architects (APGA). Through the concerted efforts of the officers and members of the three organizations, the vision officially materialized on March 26, 1975, where the UAP was registered with the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On May 12, 1975, the UAP was granted Certificate No. 001, the first professional organization to be accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). The PRC is the central agency of the Philippine Government charged with the licensing and regulation of professionals and the professions, as well as the Accredited Professional Organizations (APOs).
Since its registration, UAP has received many awards, including the highly-acclaimed PRC’s Most Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization. To date, it is still the first and only APO to win the award four times in the Award’s eighteen-year history. These were in years 2002, 2007 and 2008 and this year 2011. The award is presented annually to recognize the achievements, services and commitments of the APO to the profession. UAP bested forty two (42) other professional organizations, through 12 stringent criteria set for the award.
For its volunteer works, UAP was chosen in addressing housing problems, urban degradation, environmental conservation and promotion of volunteerism for socio-economic development; the UAP was a Regional Nominee to the “Search for Outstanding Volunteers” by the Philippine National Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) in its celebration of National Volunteer Month last December 2005. PNVSCA takes the lead in advocating and recognizing the contributions of volunteers to nation-building and international cooperation.
Last April 2009, in celebration of the Earth Day, the UAP, through its advocacy group “Green Architecture Movement”, was awarded the 2009 Father Neri Satur Award for Environmental Heroism – the only accredited professional organization in the Philippines to receive such a prestigious environmental award.
last November 2010, UAP received its First International Award – in Adelaide, Australia, the EAROPH 50th Golden Jubilee Award in recognition of the organization’s substantial contribution to the advancement of Planning, Development and Management of Human Settlements in the Philippines.
Reference: UAP National Website http://www.united-architects.org