Interview: RSP speaks about the Middle East as an expansion base

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RSP one of Asia’s largest architectural practices celebrates 60 years of continuous growth and a decade in the Middle East.

The Palm Jumeirah is one of the most recognisable man-made marine landscapes in the world and home to some of the most vibrant residential and hospitality offerings in Dubai.

In the next couple of years Dubai’s residents and visitors alike will be given the chance to aerially view and experience the fronds and the trunk as it links to the shoreline, from a new observatory deck.

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This project – part of a mall and tower which will integrate the existing monorail system – has been bought to fruition by RSP, a company celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Managing director Michael Magill said: “This is one of the most significant architectural statements underway in Dubai – a new heart for the entire city.

Lai Huen Poh managing director, based in Singapore.

Lai Huen Poh managing director, based in Singapore.

“The two landmark projects currently under construction on Palm Jumeirah, are part of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to create more attractions for the citizens of Dubai, the UAE and visitors.

“The integration of the monorail into the retail mall will create a fascinating and unique experience. A viewing platform on top of the tower will allow visitors to experience and visualise the scale of the Palm Jumeirah for the first time. RSP is very proud and excited to be part of this world-class project.”

The development is just the latest in the track record of the RSP – a record which stretches back to 1956, when Raglan Squire and his partners set up in Singapore a branch of his English practice, Raglan Squire & Partners.

The company has flourished over the decades and now has 15 offices in six countries, in key cities across Asia, employing more than 1,400 professionals.

The large auditorium at Khalifa University.

The large auditorium at Khalifa University.

RSP began making inroads into the UAE the 1980s, resulting in its first commission by the Al Habtoor Group to design a 250-key hotel in Dubai.

The success of the project led to numerous new commissions and keeping pace with the region’s dramatic growth, the firm set up RSP Middle East in 2004. It was awarded projects by the country’s two major developers.

Director Ralf Steinhauer said: “The practice continued to thrive, delivering Rihan Heights, Abu Dhabi in 2009 which offers smart technology for efficient energy usage, along with high end living standards. That same year, RSP Middle East secured the design of the new Al Rajhi Bank Headquarters Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

“The 3,200-employee corporate office will be the new headquarters of the world’s largest Islamic bank.”

The univerity has a purpose-built foodcourt.

The univerity has a purpose-built foodcourt.

Emaar also appointed RSP to design a number of large-scale master plans across the UAE and North Africa, including the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia.

The RSP team has seen Dubai coming of age after the global economic downturn in 2009 and because of its experience in the more mature market of Singapore it was able to quickly adapt to the changing marketplace.

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