UAE | General

Professional association to raise the bar on architectural design

The iconic architecture in Dubai might leave some people speechless, and not just due to the speed of construction taking buildings to higher levels.

  • By Emmanuelle Landais, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:42 October 6, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Asghar Khan/Gulf News Archive
  • An aerial view of the Dubai International Finance Centre in Dubai. The gate building has been designed by the architecture firm Gensler.

Dubai: The iconic architecture in Dubai might leave some people speechless, and not just due to the speed of construction taking buildings to higher levels.

According to one of the committee members of the Architectural Association of the UAE or aaUAE, "it is a good experiment" but it is definitely "too early to criticise."

Hisham Yousuf is part of a 10-member committee behind aaUAE which has its goals set on being 'a driver for design excellence' and for the betterment of socially responsible architecture, infrastructure and design.

aaUAE is a new association that marries architecture and design to everyday life, with a big emphasis on making it accessible to the people of the UAE.

Yousuf is a Senior Design Manager for International Projects at Gensler - the people behind the Gate Building at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

"We want to promote and arrange events, such as bringing out architects like Bernard Khoury out here next month. We're a professional association and we don't want to be exclusive," he said.

"There is a design community here which people have experienced in their countries, so they should have it here," he said. "We want to have forums and debates on the building environment here."

Associate committee member, Richard Wagner, an architect at dxb.lab architecture believes that despite 'green buildings' being the buzz word of the moment, aaUAE is promoting the concept, but not enforcing it.

"I think the city needs to decide if buildings should be built a certain way and they could easily do it with incentives," he said.


Wagner believes the enforcement should come from the city to developers. "It is not due to accelerated construction but lack of long-term planning which leads to green architecture being left aside," he said.

According to Yousuf, the rate at which buildings are being built is sometimes being compromised.

"Safety is not compromised but the design can be compromised. Of course design is in the eye of the beholder ... Architects want to see results fast so being in Dubai is great," he said.

Wagner is aware that the fast paced construction industry is also attracting people unqualified for the job.

"At the end of the day it is natural selection. At this stage it seems to be quantity over quality but in the end we will end up having better buildings and designs because once you work with several developers you know who is good and who is bad," he said.

aaUAE are working on putting together a web database of suppliers, architects and designers to offer a recommendable contact list for people in the industry.

Gulf News