Interview: Farida Farag, Atkins
Tackling social and cultural issues through design is at the heart of the work of Farida Farag of Atkins.
Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, educated in the USA, but an Egyptian national she has been working at the company for just under two years – and came into the profession through an initial love of art.
“When I was in high school we were all encouraged to take part in community service,” she says. “I liked to work with children and I would do things such as paint with them. As I watched new buildings go up I realised I could do more than just paint pictures. I could create something which would have an impact on people’s lives.”
Addressing current topics and needs is a priority when it comes to Farag’s work as she says that architecture means a lot more than creating an iconic structure or making a statement in glass, steel and concrete.
“Cultural aspects and social issues can be the focus of design,” she explains. “All across the fields of design, architecture, interiors, landscaping, even fashion, people are becoming more aware of the context of their creations and such things as sustainability. I think sometimes that the more constraints which are put on a designer the more creative they have to be to tackle them.”
Farag is also enthusiastic about what Dubai has to offer the world of architecture.
“For most people Dubai is about the skyline,” she says “But I see it more as a design think-tank, offering great opportunities for creative thought and expression.”
Farida Farag was brought up in the capital of the UAE before further education at Houston University and Harvard. She obtained a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design and is also a Batchelor of Architecture and a Batchelor of Environmental Design. After internships in Abu Dhabi before she joined Atkins.