By Andrea Aro
Filipina Christine Espinosa-Erlanda, a Dubai-based architect, was nominated for the “Architect of the Year” award in the 12th annual Middle East Architect Award.
Erlanda was also nominated for the Big 5 Women in Construction Award.
In an interview with the Kabayan Weekly, a Filipino newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Erlanda shared how she was able to achieve her dreams.
“I am fortunate that my humble beginnings in Tondo, once I was a little girl sketching my dreams on the wall, I have culminated my creative instincts, have met mentors along my way, flew from Manila to Dubai and now I am part of building the future of the Middle East, designing and working on noteworthy award-winning projects, master plans, heritage, residential, commercial, hospitality, and heritage projects, turning visions into reality.”
Erlanda graduated from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) with a degree in Bachelor of Science Major in Architecture.
She spent her internship at the Manila City Planning and Development Office.
Erlanda is now an associate architect in UAE for 11 years, working for Godwin Austen Johnson.
Erlanda explained how she survived to work in a foreign country despite all the challenges that she had encountered.
“I am a Filipino. I smile a lot. Being Filipino helped me cope with the challenges of working abroad. We Filipinos are like water; versatile and can adjust to any shapes or forms and like water, they are necessary to life. Filipinos have the hunger for development and better future. We are not bounded by our race, gender nor financial situation. We Filipinos need to lift each other up, raise our flag and show the rest of the world our ingenuity, resilience and skills, all of those while radiating with the sincerest smiles,” she explained.
One of her missions as an architect was to empower women and promote gender equality: “As an architect my mission is to design and build something valuable that will last even after my own lifetime and in doing so elevate the position of women in what is, still, a male-dominated arena. Being part of the industry that creates and shapes the present and future cities keeps me close to that mission.”
The 12th annual Middle East Architect Award recognizes the great architects behind the best projects in the architecture community in the Middle East. The awarding ceremony will be on November 20.