In recent years, the proliferation of architecture firms in the Gulf region has gained much prominence – some widely acclaimed for beautiful designs while others for innovative structures. Modern skyscrapers swirling up high in the land of the deserts are what set this region apart from the rest of the world. In this issue, Top 10 of Asia goes through its list of the top 10 architecture firms (presented in alphabetical order) that are leaving indelible marks in the Gulf Region.
AGi Architects was established in 2006 by Joaquin Perez- Goicoechea and Nasser B. Abulhasan. Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea has a Master in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (USA) anda Master in Urban Design and Architecture from the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (UPM-Spain).Nasser B. Abulhasan has a Doctorate in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (USA), a Master in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (USA), and a Bachelor in Architecture and Urban Design from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (USA).With a multidisciplinary staff of over 30 professionals including architects, planners, landscape architects, interior designers and other specialists, AGi has introduced exceptional design, management and technical approaches to its projects in Europe and the Middle East from its offices in Madrid and Kuwait.
Arab Engineering Bureau
Founded in 1966 as the first architectural and engineering consulting firm in Qatar, AEB started with just six employees in 1991, when the firm was acquired by its current Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim M. Jaidah. Today, AEB has over 450 highly qualified professionals from 33 different nationalities.AEB operates across the Gulf and Asia, with offices in Doha and Abu Dhabi; and in Manila and Kuala Lumpur. The firm has completed numerous commercial, residential, civic, institutional, educational and historic preservation projects for a variety of clients throughout Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan.Notable early projects include the Barzan Tower, acclaimed as an iconic building of the Doha skyline, and award-winning projects such as Doha’s Diplomatic Club and Al Shaqab Institute for Girls.
Dewan Architects and Engineers
Dewan Architects and Engineers (DAE) was established in 1984 when Mohamed Al Assam relocated from his native Iraq to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. DAE is generally considered today as one of the top three architectural design and engineering outfit in the Gulf region and one of the top 50 globally by its peers and industry players.DAE’s core design philosophy is the marriage of local cultural heritage and long term environmental sustainability. Besides Abu Dhabi, DAE has established offices in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, India and the Philippines. Among DAE’s most prominent projects are the Park Hyatt Resort in St Kitts in the Caribbean, the Abu Dhabi Viceroy Yas Hotel and the Djibouti Kempinski.
Draw Link Group (“DLG”) is an architectural, interior design and fit-out company providing its clients with full integrated solutions for their construction projects. The Group was formed in 1987 by a group of experienced professionals comprising architects, engineers, interior designers and project managers led by an architect Dousser Chennoufi, a Tunisian. Draw Link Group has its head office in Dubai and branch officesin Qatar, Tunis, Shanghai and Minsk. Notable projects by Draw Link Group in Dubai are Hues Boutique Hotel, Radisson Royal, Roberto’s Restaurant, the Intercontinental Hotel, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham and Hotel 72 by Hues.
Dubarch Architects Engineers
Dubarch Architects Engineers was established in 1986 by Ahmed Al Banna, a native of Dubai, and Amir Rahbar, a transplated Iranian, in Dubai.Dubarch’s innovative style conforms closely to the topography of the construction terrain. The design will also marry the functionality of the assets with the efficiency of its operation. Dubarch’s reputation for innovative styling and quality work has helped Dubarch build an enviable client list that includes the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Investment Company, Dubai Commercial Bank and the Dubai Government Real Estate Company. Among Dubarch’s most prestigious projects are the National Bank of Dubai building and Dubai’s Shangri-La Hotel.
GEC DAR is the new kid on the block having started in Kuwait in 2008. GEC DAR was established by Shatha Al Fahad but the baton has passed to his daughter Nada, who is not an architect but an engineer by qualification from the famous Kuwait University. GEC DAR has been involved in all types of residential, commercial and hospitality projects from Dubai to Jeddah to even Iskandar Region in Malaysia. GEC DAR, being younger than its rivals, is particularly aggressive in tendering for international projects. Its impressive track record of completed projects testifies to its versatility in adapting to different designing environment. GEC DAR’s typical design tends to combine modern concepts with more local traditions.
Mohamed Salahuddin Consulting Engineering Bureau
Mohamed Salahuddin Consulting Engineering Bureau (MSCEB) was established in Bahrain in 1970 by its namesake Mohamed Salahuddin. Similar to its peers, MSCEB is a fully integrated design and construction services company offering all types of architectural and engineering workouts. MSCED’s client list is a veritable who’s who in the Gulf – from royal families to powerful government companies to influential state agencies. MSCED’s core speciality is the design of recreational sites and sporting facilities. Among MSCEB’s more prominent projects are the iconic Renaissance Hotel in Dubal, Bahrain Sports Training Centre, Motor City and the Prince Khalifa Park.
U+A Architects, headquartered in the Middle East, was established through the partnership of Pedram Rad and Pierre Martin Dufresne, both having a combined experience of over 20 years in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Canada. U+A has offices and affiliates in Toronto, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The firm prides itself in providing innovative services in all design disciplines paying detail attention to novel aesthetics values. Each design project is grounded on a practical approach addressing from the start of design an innovative aesthetic beauty withviable technical considerations at all levels, whether architectural, interior design, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering aspectsor long-term environmental sustainability.
Yasser Hejazy Consulting Engineers
Yasser Hejazy Consulting Engineers was established in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1991 by Yasser Hejazy. An architect by training, Hejazy strives to maintain local design traditions despite bagging many modern and contemporary projects. His roots from the Hejaz area has helped Hajazy to secure many prestigious projects near home. Hajazy is now concentrating on Saudi’s western region near to the capital Riyadh to expand his business. Among his more famous project is the iconic Jeddah Gate Twin Tower Project and the massive Knowledge Economic City.
Zuhair Fayez Partnership
Zuhair Fayez Partnership (ZFP) is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and has been a pioneer in architectural design and construction management for over 37 years. ZFP was established by Zuhair Hemed Fayez in 1975 after obtaining his degrees in engineering, architecture and urban planning from Colorado State University in the United States. ZFP prides itself in providing integrated services from engineering to architectural and interior design to project management for all construction projects. Prominent projects ZFP has designed are the King Faisal University, the King Khaled University and the King Fahd Hospital expansion.