Dewan Archiects + Engineers, MEA New Architect, Sima Hammami

Dewan’s up-and-coming project architect says architecture is the centre of all arts

“I didn’t know that I was going to become an architect,” said Sima Hammami, project architect at regional firm Dewan Architects + Engineers. “But growing up in Aleppo, you get inspired by the richness of the city. You see the mix of architecture styles just walking on the street – there is magic in the architecture of Aleppo.”

As project architect, Hammami’s day-to-day includes designing new projects, coordinating with various consultants and engineers, and meeting with clients to ensure everyone is kept up to date.

“It’s given me great exposure,” she said. “I’ve learned a bit of everything. And while I could never disconnect from design, I’ve been making sure everything is one language.”

Marking the end of her first year at Dewan, Hammami has found herself completing a number of residential projects for heavyweight developers, like Emaar and Meraas. On the horizon for 2018 is an education project in Egypt, which the Syrian architect is looking forward to.

“In the five years of working as an architect in Dubai, most of my projects have been residential – and I think in general, most of the projects in the UAE or GCC are either apartment complexes or mixed-use developments for retail and so on. So the education project in Egypt is an interesting one for me.”

Having studied architecture at the University of Aleppo, Hammami moved to Dubai five years ago with her family and spent four years as an architect at international architecture firm dwp before joining Dewan. Her previous projects include a three-block residential project and a mixed-use tower – both of which are currently under construction in Bahrain.

“I love the minimalist architecture of Tadao Ando,” Hammami said. “It’s simple with straight lines. It’s hard to have that architecture style here in the GCC, though, but I love the boxy masses – and the play between solid and light.”

In addition to Ando, Hammami also appreciates the work of British architect David Chipperfield. His work is “closer to our reality,” said Hammami.

“I wouldn’t say his work is minimalist, but it’s closer to what you could achieve in Dubai or in the GCC in general,” Hammami added.

“Over the next few years, I hope to work on a project that’s really unique and on a bigger scale. I would like to do an entertainment project, like a theatre or museum, but such projects are hard to get.”