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From dentistry to his dream course, this aspiring ‘arkitek’ dared to dream through scale models

By Sofia Valderama Published Jun 20, 2022 9:40 am Updated Jun 20, 2022 1:37 pm

Many students choose their college courses based on practicality. But at the back of their minds, they constantly dream of other possibilities they put aside in exchange for security and stability. Regardless of the consequences, a Filipino student decided to pursue his passion and shift courses by building scale models.

In a recent Facebook post, Joshua Ignacio, 21, expressed his admiration for architecture with a scale model of the University of Santo Tomas UST) Main Building that he created. According to the artist, the structure served as a “beacon of hope” during his early years in college when he was still taking up dentistry. 

In an interview with PhilSTAR L!FE, Ignacio said that he came up with the project name, Arkitek by adapting the Filipino word ‘arkitekto,’ because of his dream of becoming a renowned registered architect based in the Philippines. Ignacio added that he aims to have landmark buildings as his first project once he receives his license. 

“Nagsimula siya sa project lang. Habang tumatagal, na-realize ko na I was enjoying it. Then nung tumatagal, naging hobby ko na siya,” he said.

Ignacio explained through Arkitek, a Facebook video filmed by his friend, James Zhou, the importance of dreams and goals because they are the “driving factors of life.” 

“So keep fighting, keep going. You have no idea, you might have inspired someone along the way in this journey called life,” he said in the same Facebook post.  

Without his “obsession with symmetry,” Ignacio would not be have been drawn to architecture. School projects can be a burden for some, but Ignacio thinks otherwise. After finishing a two-story house project in his drafting class in tenth grade, Ignacio found beauty in the process that sparked his love for creating scale models.

However, it took a while before Ignacio turned the tables on his courses. 

Belonging to a family of medical workers, he endured and still clung to the hope that he could once study architecture. Taking up dentistry at the University of the East-Manila, his dormitory was near UST. This meant that every Sunday, he had a glimpse of the main building as he went to church at Santísimo Rosario Parish located in the UST campus. 

Scale model of UST Main Building.

 For him, the UST Main building contributed to his character as an aspiring architect.

“Nagagandahan ako sa kanya. Kahit na nandoon ako sa course na ‘di ako masaya or ‘di ko gusto, tuwing nakikita ko ‘yong UST Main Building, nagkakaroon ako ng sense of joy,” he told PhilSTAR L!FE. 

With all his might, Ignacio finally convinced his parents and received his family’s blessing. He took the road less traveled despite being encouraged to eventually take over the family clinic.

Scale model of UST Main Building.

In early March 2022, Ignacio was exposed to construction sites and workers and realized that laborers are the “unsung heroes of innovation” as they “earn less for what they work for.” 

As Ignacio is now an incoming freshman at the University of the East-Caloocan taking up architecture, he said in a Facebook post that he will put up the UST Main Building scale model up for sale and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the local construction workers he was exposed to in Tarlac.  

"I decided to make this model available for purchase. 100% of the proceeds will be allocated for local construction workers. That day I've had the chance to experience an on site work, I saw how hard working and persevering construction workers are, despite being underpaid. They're the unsung heroes of innovation. Without their blood, sweat, and tears, a lot of beneficial infrastructures couldn't have been a success. I'm hoping to help them in my own simple way," Ignacio wrote on Facebook.

"Since I was a kid, I've looked up to them. They are shining examples of perseverance. They've taught me that with a good idea together with a strong will to work hard. Anything is possible. I want them to know that they aren't alone in this journey in improving our country," he added.

“I’m going to buy construction [safety] materials like gloves, caps, or long sleeves kahit ‘yong mga daily lang na magagamit nila,” he told PhilSTAR L!fe.

Ignacio also disclosed on his social media accounts, that the scale model is open for price negotiation should anyone be interested in purchasing it.  

Scale model of London's Buckingham Palace. Photo exclusively provided to PhilSTAR L!fe.

Aside from creating the scale model of the UST Main Building, Ignacio also embodied patience and perseverance in his other scale model creations such as the Buckingham Palace in London and the Empire State Building in New York. 

Scale model of New York's Empire State Building. Photo by John Carl Tinio via the artist.

Curious how long he makes these scale models? Ignacio spent two months finishing each project, he told PhilSTAR L!FE. 

So if you are an aspiring architect, a person who is unsure of what course to take, or is thinking of shifting courses, Ignacio encourages you all to go for it and not let anyone stop you from reaching your dreams as you will eventually find your way to success.