Jordanian architect and youth activist Ossaid Aleitan shares his vision to 'rethink Amman'
“I always had this tendency to build from scratch,” said Jordanian architect, youth activist and eternal optimist Ossaid Aleitan. “To imagine something and build it has always been a great passion, and this led me to study architecture.”
Aleitan obtained his bachelor’s in architecture engineering from the University of Jordan in 2009 and went on to complete his master’s in construction project management at the University of the West of England in Bristol in 2010. While he worked for two major engineering consultancy firms after finishing his studies, he began his own office in 2016.
By now, he’s accumulated a number of titles. First and foremost, he’s the CEO and founder of AlKafo for Construction Management & Design Consultancy, an Amman-based practice that offers multidisciplinary design including landscape and interior design, architecture, engineering and renovation services. He’s a central commission member of the Jordanian Engineers Association – the youngest architect to be elected to the association’s council. And while these two highly demanding positions leave little room for much else, Aleitan balances two other roles: Middle East coordinator for Tamayouz Excellence Award and lecturer at the University of Jordan’s Department of Architecture Engineering.
While Aleitan has designed projects in Jordan and elsewhere in the region, spanning the residential, urban, industrial and commercial sectors, his work with the Jordanian Engineering Association enables him to influence proposals that aim to improve and develop the field of architecture within the country. His work with the association also includes participating as a member of the training and qualifying committee, where he works to close the gap between architecture education and joining the workforce through training courses for fresh graduates.
“The public work, such as my role with Tamayouz, teaching at universities, and voluntary work with students and youth is what revives me and recharges me to keep going,” Aleitan said. “Being part of Tamayouz is very enriching and valuable to me personally, as I have the opportunity to help raise the knowledge of young architects and students. It also allows me to shed light on the human and social sides of architecture, and as a member of the Tamayouz family, we help remind the architectural society what our duties as architects toward society and humanity are.”
To Aleitan, Jordan’s architectural heritage, culture and community is the region’s richest. Its engineers and architects, as well as its educational institutes, are a source of strength for the country. To distinguish himself and his practice, he said, he combines design services with construction management.
“I think it’s a common dream for all architects to design a landmark in their country, and it’s definitely a dream and hope of mine,” he said. “I also hope to contribute to Amman’s strategic projects, and to the city’s urban development.”
Aleitan, who intends to get a PhD in urban planning, lists different ways of “rethinking Amman’s public spaces”, such as improving its parks and redeveloping crowded zones, like those that date back to the 1940s and 60s.
“I have always seen myself in Jordan,” he said. “I am always eager to travel and learn, but then bring back that expertise and knowledge that I’ve gained and accommodate it here in Jordan.”