A man of blueprints-A A +A
Sunday, November 3, 2013
REAL estate is a saturated domain. How do its actors radiate influence when everybody else wants to rule the world? “You don’t follow trends. Design as how your client wants you to. It makes you timeless,” said James Galias Jao, who plays it safe yet shines like a diamond. The gem is actually his birth stone.
Architect. Interior designer. Urban planner. The 46-year-old industry icon has carved a niche in the realty sector with his modernist, versatile and hybrid attack to details.
The only architect in the family, Jao graduated with Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from the University of Santo Thomas in Manila and then studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science with a master’s degree in City Design and Social Science. Being the first and only Filipino to have completed such a post graduate education was an investment which strengthened Jao’s foundation.
A pioneer of green architecture and sustainable master planning in the country, Jao is executive director of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers and was recently elevated to the College of Fellows for professional practice by the United Architects of the Philippines.
Jao’s initiatives stretch from urban, residential, academic to leisure developments.
The LuzViMinda Eco House showcased Jao’s tenure and solid orientation in the field.
Mock models of the genius output were exhibited at the Manila Construction Show in SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from 2008 to 2010. The actual house now stands in Bulusan, Sorsogon.
Jao is also the brains behind the first carbon neutral housing in the Philippines, The Eco Jao Bahay Kubo.
Another stunning success is the 3,800-square-meter Kite House in Alta Vista, Cebu—a masterpiece featured last April in the primetime TV program, Rated K.
Once again, Jao shows his ingenuity with his latest elegant creation—the onsite showroom of the AppleOne Banawa Heights. AppleOne Properties Inc.’s 2.8 hectare exclusive residential district in Good Shepherd Road in Banawa, Cebu City, is Jao’s transitional interpretation of the classical Victorian theme. The property, as inspired by the San Francisco Bay Area’s Pacific Heights, addresses its towers, villas, mansionettes and grand lifestyle to the younger generation of clientele while translating Jao’s touch of eco-urban living.
Jao was born in Manila but practiced in Cebu.
“I’ve proven that you don’t need to be in the capital (region) to be excellent. You can be anywhere and send waves all over the archipelago,” Jao said confidently.
“The real estate scene in Cebu has been active in the past few years. There’s been an influx of entrants in the cosmopolitan. It’s fun to work in a competitive market,” he beamed.
Jao designs what he has experienced (living in London) which separates him from other players. Another distinction is his reciprocity with clients.
“It’s a give and take situation. But most of the time, clients pump me up to conceptualize,” he shared.
“Inter-island jetsetter” is a title outside work. Jao travels a lot. His itchy feet have explored five cities in the US in 12 days. Ironic as it might sound but Jao is not settled in his own house yet. For now, he finds contentment in residing alone in an abode sitting on a 200-square-meter lot in Guadalupe.
Jao’s ideal house, which will be realized soon, is small, functional, space-convenient and efficient cost-wise.
“A dream house is easy. My ultimate ambition? An eco town. I think it’s what we need for sustainable development,” the environmental advocate said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 04, 2013.