Dr Shams Naga is the founder, principal and managing director of Naga Architects. He is the holder of three masters degrees and a Phd and one of the leading voices in both the theory and practice of the profession in the Middle East.
What is your over-riding philosophy when it comes to architecture?
Of the numerous descriptions of Architecture, my favorite one is “Architecture is the study of culture”, which sums up the encompassing complexity of architecture in our society.
In my experience, successful architecture cannot be achieved by any singular idea – it requires a harmonious interweaving of the metrics surrounding a design project.
These may range from grand items, such as a building orientation, to items like the arrangement of cabinets and drawers in a kitchen. In my design approach, I ensure nothing is overlooked – every part and corner of the project is molded with the highest integrity and commitment. As a study of culture, I also see architecture as a futurist profession.
Many buildings take decades from conception to construction completion and some buildings are already architecturally obsolete by the time they are open for occupancy. I think the most significant challenge in architecture is a cultural one – finding design solutions that are long lasting and continue to be relevant for many future generations.
How can buildings make a positive impact on the lives of people, especially in developing countries? How do you see the relationship between a building and its occupants?
As designers of buildings, architects make decisions that have a direct impact on the people who use them.
We all have our own concepts of beauty, but there are certain things that we can all agree are fundamental to a comfortable existence: views, space, daylight, and ventilation. When buildings transcend their shelter-providing function, they can provide occupants with peace and tranquility.
A harmonious combination of these elements will lead to a positive environment for the building occupants, no matter where the building is located.