A Dakila Awardee who has spent his married life in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. since 1967, Eufrosino (Presy, to his friends and acquaintances) Alix Guevarra is never far from the various building-design projects he had overseen in several states and cities which highlighted a career that won for him prestige and silent accolade from his peers. He started his career in the area for Airways Engineering Corporation designing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of the utility buildings at Riyadh and Jeddah International Airports and at the United States Embassy in Bogota, Columbia. Then he moved to Vollner Associates where he designed post office buildings across the US. He then spent the last 20 years working for Marriott Corporation.
At Marriott, Guevara oversaw building-design projects of full-service hotels at La Guardia Airport, on Long Island; in Warner Center, California; at San Francisco International Airport; and in Kansas City. He was also involved in the construction of other 35 hotels, including the Mega Hotels in New Orleans, Boston Copley, and San Francisco Moscone Center, each with more than 1,000 guestrooms. Later, he developed quality control programs for over 60 Marriott Hotel product types—from Courtyards to full-service hotels—by rating plans and specifications, a process resulting in the savings of 15 percent of the usual construction cost.
Prior to his retirement at age 71, Guevara worked for the firms of Nehmer and Associates, BBGM Architects & Interiors, and Gordon and Greenberg, where his notable projects included Foxwoods Hotel and Casino and Mashantucket Pequot in Ledyard, Connecticut. His visible projects in the area are the Fairview Park Marriott Hotel in Falls Church, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland; and the Marriott Navy Yard Courtyard, Hampton Inn at Massachusetts Avenue, and Mandarin Hotel, all in Washington, D.C.
Guevara, for a time, was a member of the Association of Philippine Government Architects and president of the Council of Philippine Arts and Architecture. He had been actively participating as officer and volunteer in civic and charitable organizations, including the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc., Feed the Hungry, Inc., Philippine Fair, and Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards.
Guevara was one of the two children born to Pablo Sanchez Guevara and Maria Josefa Alix Guevara, both of Nasugbu, Batangas. Both parents are deceased.
Q. What inspired you to pursue a college education in architecture?
A. My cousin who was then a student at the University of Santo Tomas’ College of Fine Arts urged me to take up architecture, he being aware that I had artistic ability and excelling in mathematics at the same time.
Q. Who were your role models in architecture and in designs?
A. As a student of architecture in the mid-1950s, the dominant architects at that time who impressed me most were Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Q. Designing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system involves knowledge of engineering, where and when did you acquire this skill?
A. Architects in the Philippines are mostly well-rounded in drafting skills to be exposed to different branches of related fields of engineering, such as civil, structural, plumbing, and mechanical. I had the opportunity after graduation from college to assist the mechanical engineer of Vitarich Feed Mills in designing for him a tri-valve outlet for the grain bins. He had been scratching his head on how to solve his problem. I gave him a printed copy of my design that ignored the “butterfly valve” that had been plaguing his imagination. My design was put to a test and it worked. I always had the inclination to innovate and invent. When I came to the United States in 1967 on the sponsorship of Airways Engineering Corporation, all positions in the AEC’s architectural department were already filled. But when the head of the mechanical department had read my resume, he immediately took me in as a member of his staff. After four months in that department, I was selected to take up HVAC course at the Carrier Institute in Northern Virginia. With additional mentoring by my colleagues in the AEC’s mechanical department, I finally succeeded in designing HVAC systems.
Q. Did you pass through any professional clearance or obtain any professional license to be able to work in international enterprises, such as Marriott Corporation?
A. None of my positions in the practice of architecture in the United States required licensure. Having been registered and licensed in the Philippines sufficed.
Q. In designing hotels or inns for Marriott Corporation, did you do much travelling and to where?
A. Definitely, to all sites of every project. Sometimes I had to visit three or four project sites in a week, scheduling my trips from Washington, DC to La Guardia Airport and proceeding to Boston and to either San Francisco or Warner Center in Los Angeles to manage the design and construction of the various projects that I held simultaneously.
Q. In the middle of your career, did you ever consider teaching at a university?
A. The thought came to my mind but I was too busy with my projects that I did not attempt to find a professorship position. I was happy and satisfied with what I was doing.
Q. Where and when were you born?
A. In Nasugbu, province of Batangas, in 1940.
Q. When was the last time you visited your birthplace?
A. I made it a point to go to Nasugbu to visit the graves of my departed parents whenever I’m in the Philippines. I have one living sister there whom I enjoy bonding with even for a short visit. My last visit was early this year, taking a break from the Feed the Hungry, Inc.’s project-implementations in various points of the Philippines.