East is Best – Top firm relocates to Dubai

RMJM

MEA talks to long-established RMJM Architects & Planners about its decision to make Dubai a central business hub for its European and Middle Eastern activities

Leading architect company RMJM is relocating the hub of its Middle East and European operations to Dubai, more than 50 years after it was founded in Scotland.

Now, 450 design awards later, the company says a combination of the UAE’s positive business climate, its reputation for stunning structures and cosmopolitan market led to the ground-breaking decision.

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Speaking exclusively to Middle East Architect, CEO Harry Downie and managing principal Boran Agoston explained why they feel the emirates are at the centre of the world of innovative building design. Downie said historical factors had played a part in the move.

He said: “Although Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and Partners (RMJM) was founded in Scotland in 1956 by Sir Robert Matthew and Sir Stirrat Johnson-Marshall the company has always had an international outlook.

“It was one of the very first UK practices to actively pursue and secure workloads in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Recognising that this could not be done effectively from a UK base it saw the need to establish company offices in the regions it was operating in and this is what led to the establishment of the Dubai business almost 42 years ago.

“RMJM has maintained a constant presence in the UAE throughout that time and has successfully weathered the inevitable market highs and lows. The Dubai office has always served as the hub for our operations in this region and this has allowed us to effectively pursue workload throughout the MENA region and further afield in Turkey, Iraq and India.

“With the market in decline in Europe and with an already well established and stable base in Dubai it seemed a logical progression to expand the successful working model to embrace the European business and manage this from our Dubai hub.

“This gives us the opportunity to access the considerable skills and experience of our UK teams and at the same time expose them to international work which continues the ethos and work principles established by the founding partners. I believe this is a great working model which will allow staff and skills integration making us much more flexible and agile to grow the business across the geographical spread we will now manage.”

Downie said position of the UAE is also a major plus point when it comes to competing in a world market.

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