Feeling stable

Designmena.com learns about the work of Leigh & Orange, including its flagship equestrian centre,  from principal director David Stanford

What projects are L&O working on in the Middle East?
We continue to work on Leigh & Orange’s landmark Al Shaqab Equestrian Academy at Education City in Doha, Qatar. The main arena is complete and a few weeks ago it successfully hosted its first major equestrian event.  Meanwhile, construction and fit-out works continue on other parts of the 100ha campus.  In recent years we have completed a number of sports facilities in the region and currently have residential, retail, office park and healthcare projects under construction in Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.

What are the key markets that you are targeting?
We are concentrating on the Qatar market while being very open to opportunities elsewhere. We find that our unique portfolio of equine design can take us into unexpected places – while the upcoming World Cup event in Qatar offers many opportunities that match Leigh & Orange’s expertise in the sports, transport, medical, hospitality and mixed use sectors.

Who is your favourite architect of all time?
As a teenager I was lucky enough to live on a day to day basis with buildings by the 19th century English architect William Butterfield. His mastery of form and colour remains with me. His design of All Saints, Margaret Street in London is both an object lesson in how to develop a tight urban site and an inspiring respite from the West End.

What is your favourite city in the Middle East?
If it counts as part of the Middle East, Istanbul for its wonderful combination of city, history and sea. Otherwise, Dubai wins for its total lack of fear – Sheikh Zayed Road to the south of the World Trade Centre is one of the most exhilarating streets in the world.

What is your favourite building in the Middle East?
At the moment, I am still enjoying the work of my colleagues at Leigh & Orange on the Al Shaqab Equestrian Academy in Doha. The buildings are offset very well by the landscaping – designed by Cracknell – which responsibly minimises the need for irrigation while using form and texture in a very attractive way.