Words by Lucky Chan
Photos by Karl Angelo delos Santos
Since 5th grade at De La Salle College, Grade School Taft, this true-blooded La Sallite was already determined to become a licensed practicing architect. After graduating from La Salle Green Hills in 1978, Bart Vista took the entrance exams for a degree in architecture at only two universities and ended up at the Philippines’ oldest academe, the University of Santo Tomas, (UST), College of Architecture and Fine Arts.
Bart graduated from the 5-year course in 1983 with a Degree in Bachelor of Science & Arts in Architecture and passed his Professional Regulations Commission licensure board examinations in 1985. The young Vista then eagerly pursued his professional calling firmly grounded in the Lasallian values of Faith, Zeal for Service, and Communion in Mission.
Arch. Vista is a registered licensed architect with the Philippines Regulations Commission and is a corporate member of the Philippines’ professional governing body, the United Architects of the Philippines, or UAP. He is also an Associate Graduate member of Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia, or PAM, the UAP equivalent in Malaysia.
Upon obtaining his degree in architecture, Arch. Vista worked for V.O. Duran Architects in Manila. It was in this office wherein Arch. Vista got his first break in actual project designs, presentation renderings, extensive detailing, and the development of construction drawings.
In the same workplace, and under the strict guidance of his employer’s mentorship, he obtained the first-hand experience in writing contract documentation, quantifying bills of quantities, and developing specifications for building materials. Little did he realize that these very same special skills would be the fundamental technical trades that would later strengthen and reinforce his practice as a professional; the same skills that he has masterfully adapted and continues to knowledgeably practice in his career up to this very day.
His design exposure covered an extreme range of project schemes, from the ‘all-timber’ housing developments of the government, to interior design projects, to several types of office buildings, condominium blocks, entertainment centers, and even general hospitals.
Advancing deeper into his career, Arch. Vista shifted focus and further refined his project management skills at PMCI, or Project Management Consultants Incorporated. It was under the watchful tutelage of the company’s well-experienced project managers where Arch. Vista’s abilities were precision-honed in the methods of Harvard Project Management. Again, it was the intensive hands-on exposure, through continuous management training and experience that contributed to shaping the essence and backbone of Arch. Vista’s professional practice today.
Parallel to his work and while in his early years as a licensed professional, Arch. Vista gradually started to incorporate his own architectural practice. After his stint at PMCI, he progressed into full-time professional practice and began to undertake residential projects. At a later stage, his practice progressed into offering ‘design-and-build’ services. It was at this point in his career when Arch. Vista learned the necessary skills, techniques, and methodologies of actual building construction work.
After being headhunted in 1990, Arch. Vista expatriated to Malaysia and joined Malik Lip and Associates Sendirian Berhad, the pioneering and still largest landscape architecture consultancy firm in the whole of Malaysia
At Malik Lip, Arch. Vista headed the LA and production departments and as a project manager himself, redefined his landscape architecture and fine-tuned his knowledge on artful soft and hard landscape designs, plant material selection, and planting techniques
Having perfected his practice in landscape architecture, and backed-up with his exposure on architectural and interior design, Arch. Vista’s professional practice began to evolve into his present novelty of practice – his ‘integrated’ consultancy services.
Drawing back upon his previous experience of running his own business, Arch. Vista incorporated PDAA Sendirian Berhad, a professional landscape architecture consultancy firm in Malaysia. PDAA KL was part of a network of PDAA offices located in Manila, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. The three offices came under the umbrella of the holding group PDAA Group International or PGI. The group was proud to be the first Asian landscape architecture group of companies of international caliber with a strong project track record spanning 12 countries.
Arch. Vista held the position of Managing Director at PDAA Sdn. Bhd. and within 1.5 years of being in the market, PDAA fully established itself at par with the biggest landscape consultancy firms in the country. In its first year of operation alone, Arch. Vista was responsible for PDAA’s marketing blitzkrieg strategy that translated into an average of 30 projects per year.
In addition to being a director for PDAA Sdn. Bhd., Architect Vista was also a company director for various private construction firms dealing in particularly specialized trades such as themeing art, visual merchandising, and various artisan works.
Tandem to PDAA’s incorporation, Arch. Vista resumed his architectural private practice in Manila and now in Kuala Lumpur and after the recession of 1998, consolidated his services in Manila to establish ABBV+A architects.
ABBV+A architects now specialize in the professional ‘integrated’ service of converging the 3 disciplines of architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture resulting in a project with a single cohesive design. Its present main thrust is into high-end residential projects and selected commercial developments for a particular range of discriminating clientele.
Today, with an accomplished and successful professional career spanning over three decades, Arch. Vista and his honed skills in project management, his profuse experience in contract documentation and development of critical and detailed construction drawings, his vast know-how on construction work, and his proficiency in design, has extremely excelled in his novel practice of rendering an ‘integrated’ professional practice. For the past 32 years, Arch. Vista has continued to offer these much sought after ‘integrated’ services not only in Manila but in Kuala Lumpur and in neighboring countries as well.
But Arch. Vista has not just devoted himself to his career alone. The Architect’s inherent Lasallian vocation guided him through his generous acts of community service. His perpetual desire to help his fellow countrymen has always been one of his priorities.
Through his and that of his associates’ companies, he continuously provided employment in Malaysia for Filipino architects, engineers, and skilled & unskilled workers. From 2005 to 2015, he has organized free-of-charge several basketball and volleyball tournaments for Filipino men and women OFW’s in Kuala Lumpur. He also played an active role in the Filipino community of Kuala Lumpur’s Cathedral of St. John where he was also a communion minister for a number of years.
In 2013, Arch. Vista extensively renovated the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, on a pro bono basis. “It was my window of opportunity to give back to the Filipino community and to my country,” he explains.
So together with his staff architects, consulting engineers, contractors, and suppliers, Arch. Vista transformed the once run-down interiors into a present-time, open-planning styled government office resulting in increased efficiency of much-needed services to the Filipino community, tremendously uplifting the morale of both OFW’s and embassy employees.
The following year, and also on pro bono agreement, Arch. Vista tore down and rebuilt the entrance to the embassy grounds and installed a more prominent large black granite signage at the entrance wall. This undertaking provided a lot of ease and comfort not only to the visitors but to the security personnel as well.
As a result of his philanthropic and social service, Arch. Vista received through the following years several awards and commendations from the embassy. In August 2015, he has also bestowed an Exemplary Community Service Award from former Secretary Albert F. del Rosario of the Department of Foreign Affairs. In May of that same year, he was nominated for the Banaag Awards at the Office of the President of the Philippines, Commission on Filipinos Overseas Workers. And in July 2016, he received a Commendation Letter from the Congress of the Philippines, House of Representatives (Resolution No. 34).
In personal gratitude, former Ambassador Eduardo Malaya named the embassy’s newly renovated community hall as the ‘BVista Community Hall’ and permanently mounted a plaque of recognition and gratitude to Arch. Vista in the embassy lobby.
Arch. Vista asserts that it was the Lasallian spirit that has brought about his bountiful blessings and encouraged his numerous good deeds. His mission of faith, his zeal for service, and his communion in the mission were always his guiding principles. As he borrows the words of W.T. Purkiser, Architect Bart B. Vista continuously lives on by his credo of “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
And as he achieved a pinnacle in his career, Arch. Vista wants to come home to his motherland. In the next few years, Bart will be coming back to the country to start accepting projects in the Philippines.
Welcome back home Arch. Bart B. Vista.
This article was originally published in Vol. 16 No. 2 of AnimoMagazine.