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Cynthia Leif received her B.S. in Architecture with honors from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1981. She brought honor to the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas by winning the prestigious Aga Khan Award from the Union of International Architects. This award from the International Design Competition held in Warsaw, Poland was presented to her in recognition of her leadership and creativity in the project entitled Rehabilitation of a Small Unit in a Degraded Urban Environment. She also won in the National Design Competition with the theme Urban Low Rise Housing Clusters.  

These credentials gave her the opportunity to become the first woman architect to work in the highly respected firm of Francisco Mañosa and Partners in 1981. In 1987, she left the firm to start her own design and construction business. Since then she has designed and built many structures in the Philippines ranging from exclusive homes, townhouses, offices, schools, and churches.  
  Cynthia Leif was also able to develop a new holistic approach to home design and construction with her study of the “physics of a home”. The result is a series of homes built around two watchwords: function and quality. She is now using this knowledge to show her clients how to build healthy homes.  

Cynthia Leif moved to the United States in 2002. She is now practicing as a residential designer in the United States, specializing in custom home designs in the Ultra Modern/ Contemporary Style. Although she became a successful architect in the Philippines, she feels that the design environment and the materials available in the United States allow her to reach the full range of her creativity. She has now an International clientele of people who want beautiful and unique Ultra Modern/ Contemporary Homes.

Cynthia Leif is an associate member of AIA (American Institute of Architects) and a registered architect member of UAP (United Architects of the Philippines).

Design Philosophy

In a variation on the philosophy of "Form follows Function", the designer creates a unity between aesthetics and practicality.  In her designs, she always wants to produce a combination of rigorous design intelligence and graceful lyrical beauty. Most of her modern exterior styles have clean lines that produce a classic and timeless effect. The interiors evoke modernism in an interplay of light and space.

In all of her custom-designed homes, she makes it a point that the building relates to the land. She wants the interior to  relate to the exterior, and for both to flow into each other. In most of her residential designs, she wants to create the feeling of 'openness' which could be made possible through walls of glass doors, skylights, atriums, pocket gardens, balconies, and patios that serve as extension of the interior space.

Read ‘The Role of the Modern Architect’.
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