A Cebuano architect’s love for nature

Renowned and multi-awarded pioneer Cebuano architect Jose Mari Cañizares recently celebrated the Golden Anniversary of his self-founded establishment Cañizares Architects Design Company at the Citadines Ballroom, Baseline Center.

Early in his career, his clients were his relatives and family friends. To gain confidence, he made himself look older than his age of 23 years by growing a beard and patting white powder on his hair. But he soon realized that building a reputation could not be achieved overnight. In time, with pleased repeat clients and high-profile referrals, the number of his projects grew and became more diverse.

Jose Mari Cañizares with wife Marilou.

His design philosophy, from day one, has always been to create structures that are in harmony with its natural environment, an influence from his mother who was the President of the Cebu Garden Club for many years.

Through the 50 years, Architect Mari has gained recognition and awards for excellence from both local and international organizations. His numerous citations include the 2003 Outstanding Professional of the Year Award given by the Professional Regulation Commission.

The United Architects of the Philippines elevated him as its Fellow for his contribution to architecture. In 2008, he was conferred the APEC architect title, which enables him to provide architectural services throughout the Asia Pacific region and allows him to collaborate with other APEC Member Architects.

In addition to master-planned communities in Cebu and neighboring islands, he pioneered the design of beach resorts such as the Pulchra Resort, Badian Island Resort and Bohol Beach Club.

As part of his initiative to give back, he designed several churches, among them Parish of The Alliance of Two Hearts and the Mactan Sto. Nino Church, the latter shaped like Magellan’s helmet. He was likewise responsible for the expansion of the Redemptorist Church.

In the 80s, Architect Mari searched for alternative materials to the coral stone, its overuse resulting in an adverse impact on marine life. He relates that a friend was exporting the Sudtunggan stone to Japan and he began to use it. Since Sudtunggan was difficult to pronounce, he suggested to call it Mactan Stone. This became his signature finishing material in several of his projects in the early 1990s.

The firm, originally known as JM Canizares architects, was renamed the CAD Corp., whose mission is to develop great design solutions that satisfy quality, budget, efficiency and environmental responsiveness.

To build upon his legacy, Mari’s sons, Architects Jose Diego “Jiggy” and Kenzo John Cañizares, eventually joined the firm.

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