studio spotlight: Perkins Eastman in Dubai
An inspiring workplace attracts top talent from around the world.
BY ALISA SHEV
Eleven people representing 11 different nationalities “work closely together as one family” at Perkins Eastman’s Dubai studio, says Tarek Farid, who has been the studio’s managing principal since 2013, when he moved to Dubai from Egypt. Established in 2007, the studio has experienced ongoing growth, offering clients in the Middle East and North Africa a full selection of services. “We have extended our expertise across a variety of practice areas such as hospitality, healthcare, higher education, K–12, residential, mixed-use, and master planning,” Farid says.
Of the studio’s 11 team members, six are women who have come to Dubai from all over the world. “I moved to the United Arab Emirates from Spain,” says Senior Associate Helena Rodriguez Segovia, adding that she “was attracted to the high-end projects and professional opportunities here.” Associate Carolina Godinho is originally from Brazil and had worked in Perkins Eastman’s New York and Shanghai studios before joining the Dubai team. “Today, most of our team is composed of strong and skillful women I admire deeply,” says Godinho, who also notes that “Perkins Eastman’s Dubai studio follows the same cultural values as our other branches—all voices are equally heard and relevant.”
The only team member born and raised in Dubai is Senior Associate Preeti Mogali. She recently joined Perkins Eastman and already has a strong sense of belonging: “It has only been four months, but somehow feels like I have known the company and its people far longer.” Working in a small studio, says Mogali, provides “greater exposure to all components of the business, and the best part is that you get to know your colleagues really well.”
Languages spoken: 10
Expats: 89 percent
Emiratis: 11 percent
Official language: Arabic
Languages spoken: 200+
Average house price: $923,000
Architectural fact: Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the 2,717-foot-tall Burj Khalifa
Diversity and collaboration are key to the studio’s success, Farid believes. The team often also collaborates with other Perkins Eastman studios, such as those in Mumbai, New York City, and Washington, DC. In fact, two PEople from the firm’s DC studio moved to Dubai, Christina Bahou, who is originally from Jordan, and Li Ren, who is originally from China. “We value the unique perspectives and experiences that each team member brings to the table, which help us collaborate more effectively and achieve better results,” Farid says.
The studio is currently engaged in several projects in the region, including Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University Hospital and Rua Al Madinah superblock in Saudi Arabia and Boubyan Bank Headquarters and The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training’s Technology, Business, Healthcare, and Education Complex in Kuwait. One of the studio’s recently completed projects is Act One | Act Two, a two-tower complex in Dubai comprised of 380 premium apartments with high-end amenities and panoramic views of The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.
“Despite working long hours on challenging projects,” Farid notes, the team finds time to socialize after work and take advantage of “the fantastic location of the studio in Dubai Marina.” They often enjoy the great dining and entertainment options in the area. Godinho describes Dubai as “a place apart from the rest of the world—clean, secure. And, most importantly, the city constantly updates itself.” With almost 90 percent of its population hailing from elsewhere, Dubai is a truly international city. “Meeting people with different backgrounds,” says Rodriguez Segovia, “makes living here very interesting.” N