Current position & company
Director, Verdaus Landscape Architects. I co-founded Verdaus Landscape Architects Dubai in 2004.
How many years have you worked in the Middle East?
Which major projects have you been involved with throughout your career?
Sohar University Masterplan
This was a very rewarding project that followed a positive design process. The design of the campus demanded an integrated approach between the landscape architect and architect. Achieving the right relationships between the internal and external spaces was particularly important. The architect was a strong collaborator and the client was also very much involved in the design process. The whole project team worked very well together and I think it shows in the final design. This project is now under construction.
Parliament House of Oman
Verdaus were appointed by the Government of Oman as the landscape architect for the New Parliament House of Oman. It is an honour to be involved with a project of this calibre, of the highest national significance. The design issues have been very interesting. The most pressing issue was the sheer monumental scale of the architecture. This needed to be addressed to provide a sense of human scale and context. We worked in three dimensions to analyse, address, and communicate the scale of spaces around the building. The client’s response to our design was very encouraging. This project is under construction and I am looking forward to seeing it take shape over the next two years.
Other projects include; Dubai Silicon Oasis Phases 1-2, Veneto East Phases 1-10, Dubai World Trade Centre Phases 1-5, Dubai Waterfront. A number of transport, infrastructure and open space projects in Australia. Overall I have had experience with approximately 200 projects up to now.
Describe your Dream Project?
My dream project is to improve the quality of life for people who live in an unsatisfactory environment. Dubai is close to several countries where people suffer very poor living conditions. As a landscape architect I have the skills to make physical environments better places for living in. I feel very fortunate to have these skills and believe it is part of the consultant’s responsibility to contribute towards making better living places for the wider community. I was recently inspired by two projects by other consultants that improved the built environment to benefit local communities. The first project was located in Indore, India. The consultant worked with the local community to install an underground sewerage network and improve surface drainage to avoid flooding in people’s living quarters. This project won an Aga Khan award for architecture. The second project was in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, and provided surface drainage and recreational open space for the people living there. There is a link to more information about these projects on our blog at www.verdaus.com/blog.
How do you see the future of the landscape industry in the GCC region developing?
The last few years has been a period of immense change and challenge for the construction industry. Before December 2008 the market was dominated by projects related to speculative real estate and tourism. This changed dramatically at the end of 2008. Over the past few years the type of projects has diversified, particularly with increasing public space and civic infrastructure projects. More public space projects are coming online in the region. I believe these projects will be good opportunities for landscape architects. The profession has a strong track record in developing the public realm and recreational open space.
The future looks bright also because of the growing interest in green infrastructure, ie. working with living nature to improve urban air quality, treat waste water, remove pollutants from urban storm water runoff, and provide other services. This approach needs close collaboration between many disciplines, including landscape architects, civil and environmental engineers, and scientists.
Although we are landscape architects, Verdaus use infrastructure engineering software to increase our ability to collaborate with engineers. In future I see landscape architects working more closely with other disciplines to provide urban infrastructure. In terms of developing the built environment I believe the role of landscape industry as a whole is increasing.
What is your Motto in life?
Values are our most valuable assets.