Builder/Architect Magazine (June 2009) Cover Story
The Dynamic Balance of Yin and Yang
The natural world can be explained through Yin and Yang, the interaction of opposing forces that complement each other to create harmony. Marsha and Eric Golangco embrace this ancient Chinese philosophy. Strong technical expertise is complemented by vision and creativity. They draw on past wisdom and integrate innovation to build a transformational future, and they are community leaders with global connections. With their company Golangco Global, they unite contrasting talents to form a sustainable building design consulting company grounded by solid construction experience.
Both Golangcos proudly continue the legacies of their fathers. "My late father was a well-known feng shui builder in Hong Kong. What inspires me is the way in which he conducted his business, always thriving for excellence and always paying attention to the highest quality of the work," says Marsha Cheung Golangco. "My own business has evolved from a traditional into a global empowerment kind of business."
Second-generation builder Eric Golangco grew up in Manila, the Philippines. "My father was a successful general contractor, constructing commercial buildings, residential high-rises, infrastructure and roads." Eric has divided his time between the Philippines and the United States, working with his father and with primary residential developers in the Bay Area. "I've been in the construction industry for some time, and in California, specifically in residential suburban development. Eventually I decided that I wanted my own brand of construction and consulting—so Marsha and I formed our company Golangco Global."
The company's expertise are on sustainable building design integrated with feng shui principles. They provide strategic planning and project management services for master planned communities, site development, landscape, architectural and interior environmental quality design. "We feel strongly about making a difference to our environment and setting an example for our children and others around us to work together for the common good," says Eric. "Our work is akin to social entrepreneurship that does good to the society while creating wealth, and we both learned that from our fathers."
Marsha's education includes a BS in Biology from Santa Clara University, a MA in Economics from San Francisco State University and a doctoral academic program in Environmental Science from the University of the Philippines. Her talent in applying the Chinese cultural system of feng shui to sustainable green building projects has earned her the respect of home builders. "They engage me throughout different stages of the development process. I find they consider me their 'secret of success,' because whatever I contribute they find economically useful, which translates to easier sales, higher customer satisfaction and larger profits." As a complement to Marsha's academic achievements, Eric completed a BS Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University, a MS Civil Engineering in Construction Management from Stanford University and a MBA from St. Mary's College in Moraga.
The Golangcos are committed to sustainable building educational efforts, local to global, presenting multiple fronts in both the Philippines and the United States. Eric appears on the speaking circuit, redirecting crucial industry focus by staging sustainable design seminars for builders, architects, and local construction groups. "Education is the very first part of improving and changing our worldview and way of thinking."
Marsha is the author of two feng shui books with a third book nearing completion, She is a past chairperson of the Contra Costa's Human Relations Commission and is a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Honorable Mention Humanitarian of the Year Award in Contra Costa County. Eric is the President of the Chinese American Political Association, and both are active members of the local Home Builders Association (HBA), the California Building Industry Association ( CBIA ), Build It Green, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
"We definitely feel our involvement in business and our diverse community shifts traditional paradigms and helps others and us see possibilities in many dimensions," says Marsha. "Many of our environmental issues are related to the depletion of natural resources due to overconsumption. That's actually where sustainable green building and practices apply, because it's not just one set of fixed rules, but rather adaptations to different environments and different cultures. That is why we call ourselves Golangco Global. We adapt to global environments, go to different countries and be of service to that culture."
Eric believes the clients with whom he has the greatest impact are property owners, builders and developers. "With any project, whether they are residential or commercial buildings, homes, high-rises, schools or hospitals, we can always apply sustainable building designs and practices to enhance & improve them." says Eric. "The ideal client is one that believes in the concept of sustainable living, economically feasible development with social benefits."
And applying the concept of Yin and Yang, Eric explains, "Even from a basic nature where Yin is soft and Yang is the technical side, Marsha and I blend and work very well together. We are in harmonious action without contradicting each other."
Marsha believes people are inspired by their holistic outlook to sustainable building. "While Eric, as an engineer, is more of the pragmatic technical person, I add the softer side, being visionary and global. I am passionate about creating diverse educational programs for different cultures. We take a systematic approach, partnering with diverse professionals and forming alliances to create unlimited possibilities. As we integrate the traditional with the modern, we find ourselves building bridges all over the world."
"In this time when our economy looks gloomy, we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves," she adds. "We are part of a sustainable green movement all over the world. We may be suffering the consequences of the past, but the future is bright and open." As with Yin and Yang, where there is darkness there is also light.