Interview: Sasan Niknam

Interview: Sasan Niknam

Nick Ames meets Sasan Niknam of U+A Architects who feels design is a vital factor in creating an urban identity.

The combination of architecture, landscaping, infrastructure and socio-economic and environmental factors are what drew Sasan Niknam to feel a real passion for urban design.

“It’s always been true for me that art and design have been part of my life,” said the 30-year-old.

“They give something to me – as well as enabling me to add something to this world in terms of a built form.”

Born in the USA, but educated in Germany, Niknam has worked for mostly in Shanghai and Dubai,
He said. “I read the fabric of the city, study how people behave and how design can create a specific identity for a place. This has been something natural for me from a very early age. I couldn’t wait to finish school so that I could explore it fully and get on with what I felt was my purpose.”

Growing up in Germany Niknam said he can appreciate the evolution of cities – both those that have grown up over centuries and those which have sprung up in a relatively short period of time.

He said: “German cities have centuries of architecture, also many had to be rebuilt following the Second World War. But you can see how they have developed over a long time, Dubai is different. It’s made itself a place on the global map in a very short period, It has developed at a very fast pace.

“Putting buildings into their proper context is one of the most important things for me.”


Sasan Niknam was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, but moved to Germany three years later and lived in Frankfurt. He studied architecture before visiting Dubai and getting an internship with U+A. Niknam then studied for his dual Master’s degrees in both urban design and architecture. He then returned to U+A in Dubai.

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