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“Façade Technologies are One of the Main Driving Forces of the Progress of the Architectural Industry”
By: Tariq Khayyat
Excerpts from a recent Interview with Tariq Khayyat, Co-Founder of Tariq Khayyat Design Partners (tkdp)
Tell us about your design approach.
tkdp was established in 2018 as a bespoke design-led practice providing Architectural and design solutions to clients and communities. Driven by the ambition to achieve excellence, exclusivity, and the highest level of quality. tkdp solid experience pushes the studio to keep developing architectural solutions that stand out, add a significant value to the built environment, benefitting clients and communities at large. tkdp’s ethos is based on continuous research and innovative methods to introduce architectural and design solutions that ultimately respond to the ever-evolving market needs and contemporary lifestyle.
What are the milestones you have achieved to date?
As a young architectural practice, we were thrilled to win our first international design competition 6 months after we established the studio. The competition was for a 1 million sqm master plan in Shenzhen, we were competing against giants in the industry such as Zaha Hadid Architects and others, the client picked our scheme due to our implacable approach to address his vision, his business model and introduce a landmark at the same time. Our second key milestone as well was landing our first architectural project in the beautiful Dubai, a mixed-use building with retail and high-end apartments, the design proposed by our office will add a new milestone to the real-estate concept in the UAE and we were blessed to work with a visionary client A.R.M holding on this unique project which will ground break on March 2021.
What inspired you to become an architect?
It started when I was a kid, I used to visit my father at his office (he is an architect) and watch the team how they work, how they produce drawings, how they produce physical models, I was astonished by the process, the details and how sketches are transferred into buildings. I used to be in my dad’s car driving while he is pointing to his projects, it gave me a feel that the architects legacy and contribution to the community is tangible and can live for generations.
Mixed-Use Dubai – the project components
Could you please talk about your projects featuring very innovative and different kinds of façade and fenestration designs?
Since the core of our architectural projects is based in the region, we always focus on proposing solutions tailored to the environment, the cities characters, and needs. In our design philosophy, we believe that all projects components are developed together, you can’t think of the volume/ massing without thinking of structure, landscape, lighting, and most importantly the envelop, we start developing the envelope principles, the concept from day one along with the façade specialists to ensure a coherent process.
Quite often the envelope concept plays a major role in the form-finding process. Research is a big part of our studio philosophy and we always carry on extensive studies along with the specialists to propose innovative yet viable solutions.
We pay extra effort and focus on our projects in the GCC, the climate challenges force us to explore options out of the box to achieve design excellence and human comfort.
Our recent project is a mixed-use development in Dubai, the client brief was clear about achieving a high-level product which stands out within the market offers, the client also pushed us to ensure innovative environmental solutions to provide comfort to tenants and residents, this gave our office a great push to explore along with our façade consultant (Drees and Sommer on this project) to come with practical solutions of multi-layer façade that which achieves aesthetic, privacy and environmental comfort.
We created an additional “external perforated curtain” out of GRC providing calculated shades and natural light to the indoor spaces with full privacy to the tenants. The exact position, proportion, and perforations percentage have been extensively studies whilst maintaining the core of the design aesthetic.
How do you go about choosing the material of the façade and cladding?
Selecting the material is an early step that we start while we are exploring the initial form-finding and envelop design, it is important to explore all façade material options early so we direct and focus or initial design studies. The importance of exploring all potential material from the initial design steps is important when the project is going through budget constraints (which is the common case) this allows us to focus our research on locally available material which can provide us with the design quality we envision.
We created an additional “external perforated curtain” out of GRC providing calculated shades and natural light to the indoor spaces
According to you, where is the architectural segment is heading in the Middle East?
I believe that there is a huge demand towards communities driven projects, scale, the layout is not the key factor anymore, and it is the experience the buildings are providing to the end-users and communities. I think that the new social pattern not only in the region but worldwide pushes architects to tailor all their designs to serve the public, buildings cannot be designed to serve the end-user, each building is a puzzle within the big picture of the cities, therefore thinking of the community is a key for the success of architecture in the region.
What are the major challenges in the architectural segment in the Middle East?
Architecture in the Middle East is facing a serious challenge to reach the global progress the industry achieved. We believe that the main challenge is to realise the importance of understanding how essential to look at this industry as a fully integrated process, the architects in the region need to start accepting further collaboration with other building specialists, comprehensive early research between all disciplines is crucial to take architecture to the level where it achieved elsewhere in the world.
What opportunities do you see for the architects in the region?
Assuming opportunities will be very difficult if architects do not change their approach on how they deal with projects, clients, I believe what architects mainly miss is a union, a society or a club, whatever you want to call it, a place which protects their rights, which will boost their confidence in their important role in the society.
The architects’ role in building safety is very important. Fire safety is one such aspect. How do you go about choosing the fire safety materials for building envelopes?
There are a few key factors;
Limitation of the use of petroleum-based material
More strict measures related to fire rating, and testing of new systems
Increasing the spandrel zone within a fully glazed wall to a minimum 1m
What are your views on the future façade and fenestration technologies as well as materials?
I always believe that the façade technologies are one of the main driving forces of the progress of the architectural industry overall, architects alongside engineers and specialists should collaborate in a much elaborative way. This cannot be achieved without establishing groups of think tanks which include; architects, engineers, and environmental experts.
What is your advice for young and upcoming architects?
Shenzhen Luohu Master Plan
My main advice to young architects is to have full dedication, architecture is one of the unique professions which require a high level of physical and emotional attachment to succeeding. It is a full-time job and young architects should have their goal and vision from the early days. My second piece of advice is to develop significantly their digital skills. The competition amongst young architects is extremely strong and the only way to stand out is by sharpening your digital skills. Design is a talent, you improve, but you can’t control how far it goes, however, the digital skills can be endlessly developed which will be a powerful tool in their career progression.
Mixed Use Project, Dubai
Mixed use is a 20,000 sq.m. project providing a platform for new F&B concepts and innovative retail experiences, as well as housing the client’s HQ offices. It is located in one of the city’s most sought-after locations, and it will re-activate a much-loved area for the local community to populate and enjoy. Mixed use project aims to redefine the mixeduse building typology by blurring the boundaries between the different sections of the site while also establishing a continuous relation between the interior spaces and the surrounding plaza, without compromising privacy and tranquillity.
The envelope design is based on a multi-layer system to enhance the thermal and social performance of the building; an external “Perforated GRC curtain” has been integrated within the project envelope to provide maximum thermal comfort to the indoor spaces. The perforations percentage, size has been calculated along with the specialists to maximise natural daylight yet provide thermal comfort. The perforated curtain has another social role of providing complete privacy for tenants where they can enjoy the outdoor views without being seen.
Fact File Location of the project: Jumeirah, Dubai Facade material: GRC, GRP, Glazing Client:A.R.M Holding Completion date: 2022
Shenzhen Luohu Master Plan, China
Located at the northern gateway of Luohu District in Shenzhen, at the heart of China’s “Silicon Valley”, the 1,300,000 sq.m. Shenzhen Luohu Master Plan responds to the city’s need for new social and resettlement housing, offices, hospitality structures, retail spaces, and public facilities. The project brief, and the overall programme, are the result of a 10-year effort spent in market studies, trend assessments, and consultations with the local community. Over the past two years, a number of proposals and ideas fitting the client’s vision as well as the government regulations and the funding strategies, have been shortlisted.
Following the final, closed, competition in September 2019 against a global architecture powerhouse based in London, tkdp presented their proposal to the client’s board as well as to the government representatives and were awarded the project, signing the agreement for the next phase.
Fact File Project Name: Shenzhen Luohu Master Plan Location of the project: Shenzhen, China Facade material: Curtain wall, GRP, perforated aluminium Client: MSUN Completion date: 2027 Project type: Master plan (residential, hotels, retail, offices)
Tariq Khayyat is an architect, designer and university lecturer with over 15 years of experience in delivering international projects across all stages, from inception to completion. He founded Tariq Khayyat Design Partners (tkdp) in 2018. Tariq is responsible for the overall design direction and business strategy of the firm, overseeing all R&D aspects from market analysis to technological advancement. Prior to establishing tkdp, Tariq worked as project director and designer at Zaha Hadid Architects in London. He co-designed and led a number of ZHA’s seminal projects, including Bee’ah HQ in Sharjah, UAE, and the Meixihu International Culture & Arts in Changsha, China and King Abdullah II Performing Art Centre.