The MEED List: Gulf masterplanning

26 November 2009

Six key designers and engineers behind the region’s future cities, towns and landscapes are Eric Kuhne, Gordon Affleck, Rem Koolhaas, Marc Stringa, Geoffrey Sanderson and Richard Smith

Eric Kuhne

Position: Founder, CivicArts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates

Biography: In 2007, Eric Kuhne completed a masterplan for Kuwait’s Madinat al-Hareer (City of Silk) project, a new city with business, cultural and leisure districts surrounding a national park and wildlife reserve. Connected to Kuwait City by a bridge and anticipating a new international airport in the Bay area, the city is planned to accommodate nearly 700,000 people. The plan also includes a proposal for the 1,001-metre-high Burj Mubarak al-Kabir tower. Kuhne was subsequently commissioned to create the Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens in Dubai in February 2008. He is best known for designing large-scale civic spaces, of which the Dubai gardens is one. Born in Texas in 1952, Kuhne studied architecture at Rice University in Houston, Texas, graduating in 1973. He received a postgraduate degree from the US’ Princeton University in 1983.

Contact Tel: +44 (0) 207 549 8499

Gordon Affleck

Position: Design director, RMJM Middle East

Biography: Gordon Affleck joined RMJM in 2000, working initially in the UK and then as senior designer in RMJM’s Dubai office until 2003. He was design director for the Hong Kong office from 2003-07, and returned to Dubai as design principal in 2008. Through his roles, both as lead designer and design director, Affleck has been responsible for a wide range of Gulf projects. His key projects include Al-Ain Cultural District and The Hub, a 1.7-square-kilometre residential and retail zone on Dubai’s Palm Jebel Ali. While in Hong Kong, Affleck led the design team for the 350,000-square-metre Green Convention Centre, which was used for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The centre, which was completed in early 2008, was a $500m project for Chinese consortium Beijing North Star. Affleck graduated with a degree in architecture studies from Glasgow Institute of Architects.

Contact Tel: +971 (0) 4329 6333

Rem Koolhaas

Position: Founder, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)

Biography: Rem Koolhaas co-founded OMA in 1975 and graduated from the Architectural Association in London in 1978. He leads both OMA and AMO, the conceptual branch of the company. Koolhaas is a professor of practice in architecture and urban design at the US’ Harvard University, where one of his students was Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who has since designed several iconic buildings in the Gulf and around the world. Rotterdam-based OMA’s highest profile project in the Middle East is the preparation of a master-plan for the 139-square-kilometre Dubai Waterfront. OMA has also prepared designs for the Porsche towers at Dubai’s Business Bay, Jeddah International airport, and the Al-Rai masterplan in Kuwait. The firm has worked on several projects in Ras al-Khaimah, including an emirate-wide masterplan.

Contact Tel: (+3110) 243 8200

Marc Stringa

Position: Design principal, Edaw

Biography: Marc Stringa’s background is in architecture and town planning. His 18 years of professional experience in Australia and internationally allow him to engage in all phases of a project. He was appointed prin-cipal of planning and urban development in Edaw’s Abu Dhabi office in May last year. Edaw’s Abu Dhabi studio has secured some of the most significant work in the region, including programme management work on the 8.3-square-kilometre Knowledge Economic City in Medina, Saudi Arabia, and the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi. Stringa holds a Bachelor of Town Planning degree and a Master of Built Environment (Conservation) degree from Australia’s University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Bachelor of Arts in geography from Australia’s University of Wollongong.

Contact Tel: +971 (0) 2414 6000

Geoffrey Sanderson

Position: Principal, Green Concepts

Biography: Geoffrey Sanderson is the principal of Dubai-based Green Concepts and a landscape architect and horticulturist with 19 years’ experience in the Gulf. Sanderson is a member of the Emirates Green Buildings Council and an adviser to several resort developments in the UAE and Qatar. He has been responsible for many major design, management and planning projects throughout Australia, Japan, the UAE, Bahrain, India, France and Kuwait. Projects include new towns, botanical gardens, golf courses, rural properties, airports, and the design of central city areas. From 1999 to 2005, he worked on the strategy for redevelopment of Al-Ain’s landscapes, which included rehabilitation of oases, and assisted the UN Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization’s (Unesco’s) world heritage committee in awarding Al-Ain’s six oases denomination as a significant heritage site.

Contact Tel: +971 (0) 4340 0999

Richard Smith

Position: Technical director, Atkins

Biography: Richard Smith has practised as a building services engineer for more than 30 years, having started his career with UK-based contractor Haden Young. After six years, he moved into design consultancy, starting with Devon County Council before moving to the UK’s Ewbank Preece, where he eventually became team leader for special projects. In 1992, Smith joined Atkins in the UK, before accepting an overseas secondment to take responsibility for the technology packages for the Burj al-Arab in Dubai. He returned to the UK to lead a building services division for Atkins and was subsequently seconded to Oman, where he set up a building services business and managed the multi-disciplined design for the prestigious Barr al-Jissah resort. Smith then returned to Dubai, where he is now the technical director responsible for design staff in the Middle East region.

Contact Tel: +971 (0) 4405 9300

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