Six of the kingdom’s leading planners and designers of the built environment are: Basem al-Shihabi, Zuhair Hamed Fayez, Tariq Hajj, Tarek al-Shawaf, George Efstathiou and Jacob Kurek
Position: Managing director, Omrania & Associates
Biography: Basem al-Shihabi is managing partner of Riyadh-based architects Omrania & Associates. Having graduated with architectural degrees from the universities of Cairo and Edinburgh, Al-Shihabi was part of the team that established Omrania & Associates in 1973. Responsible for the overall management of the company, he has overseen its development from a small architectural practice into one of the leading multi-disciplinary consulting firms in the Gulf. The firm worked on the design for Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, which was completed in 2002 and still stands as the kingdom’s tallest building. Currently the firm is involved in a number of key Saudi projects, including Kingdom Holding’s Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. It is also involved in the design of the Capital Market Authority tower in the King Abdullah Financial District.
Contact: (+966) 1462 2888
Zuhair Hamed Fayez
Position: President, Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants (ZFP)
Biography: Zuhair Hamed Fayez established ZFP in 1975. Headquartered in Jeddah with branches in Riyadh and Al-Khobar, it now employs more than 2,900 professional and support staff. Fayez received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the US’ University of Colorado in 1970 and 1971 respectively, before returning to Saudi Arabia to set up ZFP. Fayez serves as a member of the provincial council of the Mecca region and is a member of the advisory committee for the faculty of environmental design, King Abdulaziz University, in Jeddah, and a member of the consulting committee for the college of environmental design at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, in Dhahran. As well as architectural and engineering design, ZFP also carries out masterplanning, interior design, project management and industrial engineering.
Contact: (+966) 2612 9999
Position: Principal, Tariq Hajj Architects (THA)
Biography: Having obtained a bachelor of architecture degree from the College of Environmental Design at the University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran in 1983, Tariq Hajj secured a master of architecture degree in 1985 from the US’ University of Washington. Before opening THA in 1990, Hajj was project manager with Saudi Diyar Consultants, where he was in charge of major architectural projects, including high-end residential, commercial and institutional projects. Hajj is an associate member of the American Institute of Architects and of the International Union of Architects. He has secured design competition wins for a number of projects, including the regional headquarters for Banque Saudi Fransi in Al-Khober and Al-Rashed corporate headquarters in Riyadh. Other clients include Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd and Arab National Bank.
Contact: (+966) 3864 1844
Position: Founder, Saudi Consulting Services (Saudconsult)
Biography: Tarek al-Shawaf is the founder and chairman of the board of Saudconsult, one of the oldest and largest engineering and architectural firms within the kingdom. Founded in 1965, Al-Shawaf has been the driving force behind the firm’s expansion within the kingdom and overseas. Under his chairmanship, the company has worked closely on a number of urban development projects and with such groups as the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu, Arriyadh Development Authority, the National Guard and state-owned energy company Saudi Aramco. Saudconsult now has a workforce of more than 2,000 architects, engineers, consultants, designers, technicians and support staff. The firm is involved in a number of projects throughout the kingdom, including Aramco’s ambitious King Abdulaziz Centre for Knowledge & Culture in Dhahran.
Contact: (+966) 1465 9975
Position: Managing partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Biography: George Efstathiou has been involved with design, technical co-ordination and project management of a variety of projects. Having secured a bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Illinois in 1974, Efstathiou has gained extensive international experience in the UK, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, China, Brazil and the Middle East. In July 2009, SOM landed the commission to take forward to masterplan stage the SR80bn ($21bn) King Abdullah Economic City project, refining and finalising the existing concept masterplan, which was drawn up in 2006. In January, the company announced that its King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Hajj Terminal design had received the 2010 American Institute of Architects’ 25 Year award, recognising architectural design of enduring significance. Efstathiou has also worked on the recently-opened Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Contact: (+1) 312 554 9090
Position: Head of Middle East, Henning Larsen Architects
Biography: Born in 1971, Jacob Kurek is head of Danish architectural practice Henning Larsen Middle East, responsible for the firm’s projects on the Arabian peninsula. In January, Kurek, who is also manager of the Henning Larsen Architects’ office in Saudi Arabia, became a partner in the firm. His main focus is on urban planning and large-scale projects. On the SR36bn ($9.5bn), 1.6-square-kilometre King Abdullah Financial District project in Riyadh, Kurek is responsible for the overall conceptual design. At present, Kurek is part of the client’s panel of firms reviewing all the specific projects in the masterplan in order to ensure consistency. Kurek qualified as a construction architect in 1995 and studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture in 2002. He lectured at the academy between 2006 and 2007.
Contact: (+966) 1461 2285
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