One Za'abeel in Dubai
One Za'abeel in Dubai

Nikken Sekkei's Nicolas Maaninou says Middle East architecture becoming more sustainable and efficient

Architecture in the Middle East is gradually shifting to more functional and sustainable forms, according to experts from Japan-based architecture firm Nikken Sekkei.

Nikken Sekkei currently has over 40 projects across the Middle East, primarily in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Among the most prominent projects are One Za’abeel in Dubai, as well as the new headquarters of Tadawul, the Saudi Stock Exchange.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Nicolas Maaninou, a project manager and member of the firm’s overseas client relations department, said that he has noticed a subtle shift in the architectural features designed by clients in the Middle East and North Africa.

“In the Gulf area, they have always been looking for the highest, the biggest, and something special,” he said. “But recently we have felt that they are looking for something simpler. More efficient, and more sustainable.”

Additionally, Maaninou noted that “the market has changed.”

“Now [clients] in the Middle East are looking for more expertise, rather than just someone who can provide the looks and the visuals of a development.”

Just over a year ago, Nikken Sekkei unveiled its design for Reem Tower, a 44-storey luxury residential tower in Abu Dhabi.