Global Pinoys Usher Landslide Win of Pinay Architect

New York, NY, September 1, 2011 – What may be the Global Filipino’s demonstration of a virtual “bayanihan” in the digital age has resulted in a landslide win for Filipino-American Architect Lira Luis, AIA, RIBA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C at Curbed’s bracketed showdown in the search for the globe’s Hottest Architect or Interior Designer. This week, Lira was officially named Hottest Architect of 2011. “She beat out the dapper, debonair Wesley Moon, the model-esque Gulla Jondsdottir, the enviably jawed Forrest Jessee, the smokin’-hot Matthew Gryzwinski, and, finally, the lovely and elegant Lindsey Coral Harper (an interior designer) in a 7,538-to-2,307 win,” writes Sarah Firshein, editor of Curbed.

Curbed, a national US site dedicated to interior design, decor, and real estate, having an audience with a $100K annual-income market share, hosted the competition. The showdown started with 32 notable architects, interior designers, and designers that included: Brad Ford, David Netto, Matt Gryzwinski, Lauren Gold, Joshua Cain, Ben Aranda, Tom Kundig, Mark Garzon, Jean Dufresne, Anna Cappelen, Taniya Nayak, Forrest Jessee, Wesley Moon, Giuseppe Lignano, Gulla Jonsdottir, Alexis Readinger, Bjarke Ingels, Kishani Perera, Lindsey Coral Harper, Nathaniel Ross, Nick Olsen, Rafael de Cárdenas, Victoria Hagan, Neil Denari, Winka Dubbeldam, David Bromstad, Hillary Thomas, Jeff Owczarek, Steve Somogyi, Nina Wolff, and Mark Kushner.

Lira, an unlikely candidate, was nominated into the competition by a well-meaning colleague. Faced with a challenge, she tapped into her social network that includes friends and families located both in the Philippines and those in diaspora. Her competitors didn’t think she would win.

“Regardless of whatever differences you may have, once you appear before a global audience, we automatically forget all that and bond together. While of course there are a few bad eggs rolling around, I think this is something instinctive to any Filipino, and is something to be proud of,” says Ana Alexis, who voted and campaigned from the UAE.

Some of Luis’ early and strongest supporters came from the alumnae of the School of the Holy Spirit in Quezon City, Philippines. “There were no formal strategies employed, as far as I know. It was just an idea that excited some members of the group and turned into what we may now call a ‘movement’,” shares a fellow alumna who voted from the Philippines.

Jorjette, from batch 1992, posted the voting information on Facebook Group Pages that have 260, 180, 90, 100, 1900 members. “But it doesn’t make that much of an impact till one makes it something personal and something people can see is important to you. I have some networks overseas which I have tapped as well by sending the voting link by email and giving it a personal touch which made the recipient see the importance of their participation and made them feel the passion I had for this journey. As such, they in turn sent out emails to their colleagues, friends, and relatives which led to a global snowball effect.”

“After the voting became more “heated” that was when all machinery was brought into action. We not only posted on ALL of our social networking sites, “we” meaning most of us who were members of the page, we also had others, like family, friends and colleagues, in to the action. I could say we are a pretty passionate bunch and wouldn’t settle for second. When we give our support, we, if i may borrow the words from Randy Jackson, are ‘in it to win it’,” shares Yasmin Concepcion of Pegasus Publications, Inc. voted and campaigned in Canada.

Ma Rowena C Solamo, who works at the University of the Philippines, received the information via word-of-mouth from her sister, Reena Castro. She says she voted for Lira because “siyempre, kababayan (compatriot) but most importantly, of the person that is competing. She is a person with integrity and a passion for a vision. I have utmost belief that the Philippines will be honored through her.”

This year, Architect Lira Luis is also named one of the Top 16 innovative design pros in the Midwest by i4Design magazine, and the first Filipino-American graduate of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Taliesin.