Noha Jaheen uses nature to inspire design


Architect Noha Jaheen is a designer with an eye towards sustainability as well as learning from – and preserving – the best of the past.

Among her influences are the growth of organic and inorganic natural materials and how the lessons of nature can be transposed to the design of structures as well as a vision for a maritime heritage and study centre, which was shortlisted for the Middle East Architect Awards.

The 28-year-old lives in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, and is currently working on research projects along with Dubai Municipality at the British University in the emirate.


The creation of a building’s envelope and how that be made in a sustainable way is among the projects Jaheen has undertaken.

“I like to look at new ways of sustainability,” she said. “You can explore how an organism evolves and then apply it to buildings. Architecture has been my passion ever since I was young. I wanted to learn how to balance the creative arts with subjects such as engineering and mathematics.

“Another subject I have been looking at is how to generate power using natural sources. Dubai may only have only two metre high waves at most but that can be used to create power. The focus on this region seems to be solar power – but I would like to see more work done on the use of water. Hydro-electric power if it can be harnessed is far more efficient.

“When I was studying I was told by my professors that my ideas for projects could make a real difference to people’s lives and I am currently looking for further design and aarchitecural opportunities which can express that and will run alongside my research work. I would especially like to be active in the field of public building design.”

biography Born in Egypt, Noha Jaheen took inspiration from her native land for a floating museum concept she entered in the MEA Awards. Based on the three elements of sun, wind and waves her Marine Archaeology Conservation Centre to include artefacts from the seabed, panoramic views of the ocean and study facilities.“There is nowhere for students to come together to study this subject so it would be a base for the field,” she said.

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