Please tell us about your family and educational background?
What inspired you to get involved in the landscaping industry?
Environmental responsibility, sustainability, carbon footprints and water conservation are the big issues affecting the landscaping industry at the moment. How do you ensure these key factors are incorporated into your work without sacrificing on the overall design and layout of a project?
Do you think that the scarcity of water in the region has put pressure on landscape architects to create more hardscape with arid desert plants and trees that can withstand the heat?
Yes, I think Landscape Architects designing in the region have to find ways to work around issues such as scarcity of water. A great responsibility lies on us to introduce xeriscaping concepts in the region, promote new products that conserve water, and look towards innovative long-term solutions.
If so, do you agree that the need for water conservation and less irrigation will have a negative impact on your creative abilities when it comes to designing ‘green’ landscape?
Not at all. In fact, sometimes we need limitations such as these to maximize on our creativity. The Middle East provides a perfect scenario for Landscape Architects to put their creative skills to use. Green walls and roofs are some ways in which green architecture can be promoted.
Which project have you been most proud of throughout your career and why?
That’s a difficult question for me to answer, as I’m in some way attached to every one of my projects whether it’s a small garden or a large development. I have no particular favorites as such; each is unique and has its own distinctive impact to its environment and its users.
If you could create your dream project, what would it entail?
My dream project would be a climatically and culturally sensitive urban intervention, with landscape and architectural design input. The final product would read as a single entity with a seamless connection from inside to out.
As a woman in a male dominated profession, what has been your experience working in this field in the Middle East?
People have generally been very receptive and open to new ideas. Growing up in the Middle East has been a great advantage to me since I have an understanding of local culture and customs which I can apply in the workplace and in my designs. It has been extremely exciting to see this region develop over the past few decades.
How do you see your field developing in the Middle East? Do you have any concerns, advice, opinions regarding this?
With recent encouraging developments in building codes from planning authorities, I hope to see projects develop as an investment into overall community life for generations to come. As mentioned earlier, I hope to see designers plan with long-term use in mind and help establish benchmarks in terms of designing livable spaces for this relatively young region.
What advice would you give other women wanting to enter this profession, both here and overseas?
Explore the full potential of the profession; expose yourself to sub-disciplines and related design fields. This enriches your experience as a Landscape Architect, enhances your creative understanding of the field, and helps you develop as a well-rounded design individual.