The social importance of architecture and the call for design professionals to have a representative voice were two of the topics discussed at the DesignMENA Summit Roundtable.
Held at the Dubai offices of architecture firm Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ), the event bought together architects, structural and interior designers.
The aim was to set an agenda reflecting trends, forward thinking and hot topics across the entire design and build industry, to be debated at the DesignMENA Summit, set for December 8.
Fariborz Hatam, of boutique architecture practice FHSI, called for architects to speak with one voice when it comes to promoting design excellence.
“There needs to be a professional body in the UAE which calls for a certain standard of design,” he said.
“There also needs to be far more emphasis on connectivity and green spaces, not just on building towers.”
Hatam said reducing podiums on which buildings stand is a way to make architecture more human in scale and a network of green spaces and parks would make social interchange in Dubai much easier – making the city a more pleasant place to live.
He added: “Cities such as London and Rome have evolved over many hundreds of years – but to me Dubai in architectural terms is like a teenager, just feeling its way.”
Andrew Hughes of architect firm Pumpkin said that cities which allow a large amount of human interaction can make for a rich cultural fabric with musicians and artists thriving in otherwise neglected areas.
“The industrial part of Manchester in the UK could never be described as beautiful,” he said “But it has give rise to some great music.”
The roundtable heard that there was evidence of similar activity in Dubai.
“Look at Al Quoz,” said WSP engineer Bart Leclercq. “It’s an industrial area with lots of warehouse space which is now home to a large number of art galleries.”