The road to Dubai for architect Patrick Soriano, recently named the Global Filipino Architect of the Year in the 2023 UAP Dubai Design Awards, began with a piece of paper and pencil and a fascination for superheroes.
As a 9-year-old, he remembers attempting to draw his favorite superhero in an action pose and being very pleased with the outcome. From then on, Soriano fell in love with drawing. As a high school student, he developed an interest in architecture and devoted his spare time to exploring and looking at buildings around the neighborhood. He started teaching himself to draw every building in sight.
When it was time for college, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and that was to become an architect.
“As I grew older, I realized that the built environment has a profound influence on our lives, and I wanted to be a part of shaping spaces that not only captivate the eye but also enrich the human experience,” Soriano shared. “Landscape architecture offers a unique blend of artistry, environmental stewardship, and community enhancement that resonates deeply with me.”
Soriano earned his Architecture degree from the Far Eastern University.
Immediately after graduation, he landed a job in Doha, Qatar. He moved to Dubai, UAE, in 2008 and spent six years with the firm WoodBagot. In 2014, he went on board at Perkins+Will, where he met his mentor, Steven Velegrinis, who, at the time, was the head of the firm.
“He taught me to value the environment,” Soriano said of Velegrinis, “and how the public spaces are for everyone to enjoy and experience.”
Velegrinis, who is now Design director for Gensler Middle East’s Cities and Urban Design practice, in his endorsement of Soriano for the UAP award, wrote: “Amongst the design professions, curiosity is one of the most valuable qualities for a designer to have. Patrick Soriano — or Super P as I call him — is an exceptional example of the creative power of curiosity. Patrick’s sense of curiosity expresses itself as a sense of adventure in his design projects, driven by the absolute certainty that there is a better, more buildable way to deliver complex design projects from the scale of a single building to that of an entire city. ”
In March of this year, Soriano joined Emaar, the real estate conglomerate behind the iconic Burj Kalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain, assuming the role of Landscape Design Lead and overseeing all its landscape projects.
“I collaborate closely with the development manager to ensure timely project delivery and a positive customer experience. Additionally, I work in close coordination with the site team to ensure that projects meet high standards and align with the intended design.”
At 41, Soriano’s portfolio is impressive, with many high-profile projects that are changing the landscape of Dubai.
Dubai is indeed an exciting place to be in for any architect. One of the wealthiest cities in the world, it is regarded as a major crossroads and entrepot of the Middle East, a melting pot of cultures with a large expatriate community that includes Filipinos.
“The city boasts an impressive skyline featuring some of the world’s most iconic structures,” Soriano said. “Architectural practice in Dubai is dynamic and diverse, with a focus on innovative designs that combine aesthetic appeal with functionality. The city is a hub for architectural experimentation, pushing the boundaries of engineering and design.”
Soriano added that Dubai’s rapid urbanization and ambitious construction projects attract architects and design professionals from around the world.
“The city offers a unique canvas for architects to showcase their creativity and contribute to transformative projects. Additionally, the tax-free status, cosmopolitan lifestyle, and opportunities for professional growth make Dubai an appealing destination for architects seeking to advance their careers.”
According to Soriano, the UAP-Dubai is an important presence in the city. The community fosters a supportive environment, where architects can network, collaborate and share experiences, Soriano said. “Filipino architects play a role in shaping Dubai’s urban fabric and contributing to its architectural diversity.”
Soriano considers himself extremely fortunate for having the opportunity to work with a team of exceptional professionals in the Middle East. He said, “We share the same vision and passion for creating spaces that enhance the human experiences, celebrate culture, and contribute to sustainable development. As architects, we have a responsibility to shape our built environment with sensitivity, innovation, and a deep understanding of the communities we serve.”