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Dewan Architects & Engineers Chairman Speaks at AIA New York Architecture Exhibition
03 March 2012 - 03:30 pm, Published by Dewan Architects + Engineers
Dewan Architects & Engineers, a leading architectural and engineering consulting firm at the forefront of innovative design, will be exhibiting some of its work at the "Center for Architecture" in New York City. The Center will be hosting an international exhibition titled 'Change: Contemporary Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000 - Present' which will be on view from February 22 to June 23, 2012. The exhibition is organized by the New York Chapter of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Center for Architecture Foundations.

The exhibition is intended to provide a snapshot of contemporary architecture and engineering in the Middle East as well as highlight key architectural masterpieces in the region. The stereotypical image of the Middle East depicts extensive deserts and historic Kasbahs with endless twisted alleys. This essentializing view of the expansive geographical zone is at odds with its incredibly diverse landscapes, traditions, cultures and climates that stretch between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Containing some of the most significant UNESCO monuments and sites, the region is also a place of a rapid globalization with man-made islands and supertall towers. The contrast between the resilience of heritage and the overwhelming contemporary change generates an exceptional challenge for today's architects and engineers, producing exceedingly varied approaches to the region's 21st century built environment.

Dewan has been invited as an exhibitor, speaker, and designated "event supporter", given its leading position as one of the most influential architectural firms in the region, and having won numerous awards for excellence and following its recent global rankings on the 'World Architecture Top 100' list by the esteemed UK Building Design Magazine. The firm also has good geographic exposure from its various offices in the UAE, Saudi, Qatar, and Iraq.

Mohamed Al Assam, Chairman and Managing Director of Dewan Architects and Engineers will be in New York City participating in a panel discussion at the symposium titled 'Change in the Middle East: Preserving the Past, Inventing the Future'. He will be also presenting a case study titled "The Architecture Scene in the Middle East Now" to highlight the variety of architectural typologies in Dewan's current work in the region.

The main topics he will be covering will include: The historical background and early settlements in the region; the different influences and cultures; the Islamic era - the rise and fall of Islamic empire; the industrial revolution and the stagnation of development in the region; twentieth century influences and comparison; the turn of the centuries 20th - 21st; the Oil Wealth and search for identity. Also he will focus on 'Progress of Dewan's Professional Practice in the region' and 'Dewan's Professional Practice and Expansion to Iraq'.

Al Assam said: "We will be showcasing the projects carried out by Dewan and it is an opportunity for us all to share and learn from each other. For example in the Middle East we are facing challenges in terms of implementing methods to interface contemporary demands with regional expression whilst always preserving the surrounding environment and remaining true to the region's heritage and culture. Through designing innovative projects nowadays, we see inspirational glistening structures built only a few miles away from sand dunes and deserts."

Al Assam explained: "We at Dewan are internationally recognised as a firm that delivers thoughtful, original, sustainable and contemporary architecture that conveys a sense of humanism and purpose while at the same time fulfilling the modern requirements of a contemporary development without losing touch with the cultural and localised requirements of each individual project we design.

Running parallel to this important event, the AIA will display another exhibition titled "City of Mirages – Baghdad 1952-1982", showcasing works of renowned influential international architects who have worked in Baghdad, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and R. Venturi. This exhibition is also very close to the heart of Dewan and Mohamed Al Assam given the Iraqi roots of the firm and the founder. Dewan currently has four active offices in Iraq and contributing significantly to the redevelopment of the country.

Dewan Architects & Engineers has over 26 years of experience and industry successes across GCC countries, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, Egypt, Philippines and soon in India. Major projects undertaken successfully by Dewan include the Yas Hotel and Al Bateen School in Abu Dhabi, Media One Tower and Green Community in Dubai, UAE, and Baghdad Rotana Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq.