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Studio Visit: U+A Architects
When U+A Architects decided to move to a bigger space, DesignMENA visited the studio’s new Emaar Business Park office in Dubai to speak to managing director, Pedram Rad about the shift and the firm’s latest updates.
“We were located previously next to the Mall of the Emirates, and we moved to this office since it’s a better location business-wise as well as accessibility. It allows us to be in a business environment, while at the same time, providing a better facility for our staff and our clients,” Rad explained.
He added that the move was also due to the firm’s expansion of its various sectors, so moving to a double-space office was a way to better facilitate the staff and clients.
At the moment, the firm has over 50 employees, and aside from the office in Dubai, has an office in Jeddah, KSA; a representative in Iran and another in Doha, Qatar.
“After the recession…we started to develop our business within different countries, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman and are now looking overseas, to more global projects,” Rad said.
While taking a tour around the new office, one is overcome by the cosy, open-plan layout that allows easy communication and space to access the various parts of the office.
“As an architecture firm, the layout of the office is open, it’s very dynamic. There is no hierarchy in the layout, everybody sits around one open space so everybody interacts. Interaction is very important and that’s why we have these open discussion areas for people to gather together and discuss various projects,” explained Rad.
“We believe in a philosophy here which says that the more people exchange ideas, the more it benefits the project. This is why the space is set up more like a studio, or a school, where people talk to each other. Whether you are a junior architect or a chief architect, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, each of us have a strength.”
He continued: “As you know, architecture is not one-directional, it’s not mathematical, it is quite involved with society, with culture, with philosophy, with the future. So our aim was to really display that dynamism in our office.”
The partners at U+A have been working in Dubai for over 14 years with the firm’s sectors including architecture, interior design, masterplanning and landscape design.