In 2007, Romolo Valentino Nati, an Italian architect, arrived in the Philippines for the first time. Not only did he come to see the beautiful islands of which he had heard so much from his Filipino friends in Washington DC, but also to explore professional and entrepreneurial possibilities.
His aim was to introduce green architecture, not as a concept to which builders and real estate developers pay lip service for its hype value and for mere profit, but as a realistic approach to development, one that could be applied in the Philippine setting.
He was not disappointed. “I met Filipinos who, like me, are passionate about green architecture and sustainable real estate development,” recalls Romolo, a multi-awarded green architect and designer.
The heartwarming welcome he received, along with excellent prospects that he recognized from the outset, encouraged him
to return for a series of visits. This led to an introduction to Atty. Jose D. Leviste III, or Jojo, a Sydney-based Filipino who was also in town to explore career options in his home country. Theirs was a propitious first meeting, for they soon realized they share the same love and respect for the environment and a vision of sustainable development.
In 2009, the two teamed up and founded Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corporation (ITPI), with Romolo as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Jojo as President.
Interestingly, the company’s first venture, which has earned praises, is located in Cagayan de Oro City, 900 kilometers from
the Philippines’ capital, right on the island of Mindanao. Primavera Residences, as the project is known, consists of two towers situated inside the Pueblo de Oro Business Park, a Philippine Export Zone Authority-registered export zone.
“You have to understand how real estate impacts the environment. Some people underestimate this,” Romolo says of the design principles of the company.
“With an increase in energy consumption, there is an increase in electricity production, climate change and environmental degradation. There is a need for a solution, but to know the solution, we need to know how we created the problem,” stresses Romolo.
“We want to be thought leaders,” Jojo says. “At first at the level of our projects, but in the longer term, I would like our ways of thinking (in relation to design, efficiency and quality of life) to spill over and influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments in a wider sense.”
Featured in PowerPlay Magazine, July 2014