Gulf region still a key market for SOM

Infinity Tower

The GCC is still a crucial market for Chicago-based architecture giant Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), according to a senior partner.

The firm is behind a trio of Dubai landmarks: Burj Khalifa, Rolex Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road and the twisted Infinity Tower which is under construction in Dubai Marina (pictured). It has several upcoming projects in the Gulf region, including Qatar and KSA.

Speaking to Middle East Architect, George Efstathiou, consulting partner, said: “There’s still a lot of work in Dubai, Saudi and in Doha. Dubai had its big blip and it has corrected itself to more normal levels. We are not going to abandon the market. Both our Chicago and New York offices are actively marketing over here. But it’s going to be slow.”


Efstathiou was recently crowned Architect of the Year at the Middle East Architect Awards 2011. He revealed that SOM is working on two hotel projects in Saudi Arabia: the Park Hyatt in Riyadh and a mixed-used project of apartments in the Grand Hyatt in Jeddah.

Elsewhere in the kingdom, the firm is involved in the King Abdulla Economic City and a competition entry for the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, outside Riyadh. The latter calls for a brand new sustainable community with an emphasis on the research and development of alternative energy.

The firm is also working on a mixed-use scheme in Lusail, Qatar, while it is hoping to win master-planning work for a large new city in Oman.

Efstathiou added that he has been liaising with a large developer regarding a new mixed-use project in Business Bay, Dubai.

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