Working Creatively To Build On The Latest Global Trends

Saudi Arabia architecture

Saudi Architects has won numerous awards for the creativity and expertise of its talented teams. Company founder Abdullah Alabdulkareem talks about the top trends in design and the ethos behind creating such a world-class business.

From uber tech to sustainable homes, these are some of the latest trends forcing architects to go back to the drawing board in an ever-changing world.

As a global design company, Saudi Architects knows only too well the emerging changes that are growing in popularity and is quick to respond.

The Riyadh-based business, which has expertise at both managing and delivering complete integrated design along with project and construction management services, has nearly 30 years of experience with the Al-Khobar Wavefront and Umalmelh Airport among its lengthy portfolio.

Abdullah Alabdulkareem, President and CEO of Saudi Architects, says it’s important to keep up with the changing way that people want to live: “As architects, trends play an important role in our design work.

“Our modern lives impact the design of our homes, and this has created some unique trends in architecture and design.”

One of the main trends, adds Mr Alabdulkareem, is how open-plan spaces have gone mainstream: “Open-plan spaces are all about connectivity and interaction. To us, this is an exciting trend, as it shows a desire of people to be more connected to their family and friends.

“They want clever storage too. Never has the phrase ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’ been so true than now. It has become especially important as the average family burdens themselves with increasing amounts of stuff.

“Alongside that are having charging stations throughout the home – areas where devices can be stored, charged and used. While uber tech means you can use a thumbprint to operate your entire security system along with advances like self-sterilising door handles or programmable kitchen cupboards.

“There’s no limit to the amount of uber-tech that can be installed in a home these days.”

A versatile company, Saudi Architects is responsible for creating a wide range of buildings – home offices and interiors to office blocks; villas to palaces; mosques to museums.

When designing homes with clients, the CEO notes that multiple master suites have become more popular. This is especially true when more than one generation is living under the same roof or friends are sharing a house, so they can afford to live in the most desirable area.

Also proving a favourite with many clients are off-the-shelf plans because people often prefer to rely on a tried-and-tested plan that can be chosen from a book but tweaked to suit their unique needs, he adds.

Saudi Architects’ drive to combine creativity with attention to detail has seen them continue to innovate to meet a growing trend for quiet spaces around the home, which impacts on both bathroom and exterior design.

“Freestanding baths are popular because people are designing their bathrooms to be quiet, relaxing spaces. It’s a haven from the hustle-bustle of daily life and the bath is a huge part of that,” explains Mr Alabdulkareem.

“Quiet spaces can often be inserted into tricky corners as a way to “fill out” unoccupied space in a complex plan. They may include complex architectural elements like enormous skylights, internal courtyards and indoor gardens.

“Tricked-out sheds, rec rooms and man caves are popular too. Many clients use these rooms to let their creativity run free, as they are often a space to be enjoyed by family and close friends. As spaces for clients to indulge in their chosen hobbies, man caves often include architectural challenges.”

Sustainability has grown higher on the agenda over the past ten years and is one of the key requests in design. That is reflected in technology being installed in homes to create sustainable environments.

With all these trends in play, Saudi Architects has a collaborative structure that inspires its many talented employees to feel both challenged and nurtured into coming up with new ideas. The company is organised with six design groups, which each work under a senior partner on specific projects.

“To undertake consistently some of the biggest projects needs depth of resources,” adds Mr Alabdulkareem. “Creativity and personal service are best nurtured by the compact group where small is beautiful.

“Each group has a rich cross-section of projects both large and small. This diversity is good for creativity, innovation and motivation. The tight-knit nature of the groups also ensures personal service and close contact between the design team and the client – from first meetings to the hand-over of the finished building.

“As part of this process, key members of the design team will move with the project to the building site, wherever that is in the world, until the project is completed.”

Reviewing all the details through each design phase is a special internal Design Board, that has been set up in the spirit of “challenging and being challenged” with the power to initiate design as well as review it.

That helps Saudi Architects maintain its renowned reputation for highly skilled project design and excellence in engineering design.

It’s a reputation that has been bolstered by numerous awards since it was founded in 1992 to cover everything from world-class professional architecture and interior design to urban planning, construction management and progressive infrastructure engineering.

Recent honours include from The Arabian Property Awards, Build 2020 Design and Build Awards and listed in the top 10 Best APAC Architect Companies in 2020 by SwiftnLift magazine.

At the heart of this success is the employees, according to Mr Alabdulkareem, along with the ability to be flexible and quickly respond to changes: “Many unexpected events can occur that impact a project schedule – a construction permit comes in late, a client pushes back the approval process, and so on.

“Employee involvement is the direct participation of staff in activities that help the business fulfil its mission and attain its goals. More importantly, it is getting the employees involved in the management and decision-making processes of the business.”

For more information, please contact Abdullah Alabdulkareem at www.saudiarc.com