Yazeed Obeid reflects on his transition from Sahel Al Hiyari’s practice in Amman to X-Architects in Dubai
Having graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology in 2010, Obeid started working in Amman with Sahel Al Hiyari, a Jordanian architecture practice known for uncompromising, contemporary architecture.
“It was very intense,” said Obeid, of his first job. “We worked on some really top-notch projects with high-end clients, and the whole experience [taught me] that an architect should fight as much as possible to achieve something that they want to achieve, and to create something new in the industry, instead of just producing anything.”
During his time with Sahel Al Hiyari, Obeid worked on cultural, hospitality and residential projects. Some of his first projects include the Ayla Village Development in Aqaba, Jordan; the HA Residence in Sana’a, Yemen; and the Najwa Resort in Wadi Rum, Jordan. He has also completed projects in Saudi Arabia, Palestine and the UAE.
In 2016, after five years with Sahel Al Hiyari, Obeid relocated to the UAE to work with X-Architects, a Dubai-based firm founded in 2003 by Farid Esmaeil and Ahmed Al-Ali. In the 15 years since its establishment, X-Architects has gone on to deliver projects across the cultural, government, hospitality, residential and mixed-use sectors.
“It’s been a year and a half since I joined,” said Obeid. “Another intense year and a half. The market in Dubai is much faster and the kind of exposure you get is much wider. The first few months I was here, I put a lot of effort into trying to understand the mindset, and the team at X-Architects, of course, has great experience, so that helped me absorb the work and take more leadership and ownership of the projects I’m working on.”
Obeid’s first project with X-Architects was the Shindagha Museum Visitors Pavilion – it also happens to be his favourite project. Other recent projects include the UAE Embassy in Ankara, Turkey; the Aldana Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE; and the Khor Fakkan Heritage Hotel in Sharjah, UAE.
“One of the major things I’ve enjoyed at X-Architects is how diverse the team is. For example, I’m currently working on three projects. On one, I’m working with Portuguese and Syrian architects, and on another I’m working with an architect from Hong Kong.
“This cultural diversity is really interesting. It forms the design process and the whole methodology of a project, because every one of us is bringing something new to the table.”
At the moment, Obeid is happy where he is. He’s enjoying the work that’s coming through X-Architects and the Dubai market. Would he care to launch his own practice one day?
“I think everyone dreams of having their own signature, or their own school of thought. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time. At some point, I believe that would be part of the plan,” he said.