Power List 2019: Tariq Khayyat leaves Zaha Hadid Architects to launch practice with all ex-ZHA staff

Tariq Khayyat, the long standing head of region at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), has resigned to launch his own boutique architecture practice in Dubai with a team consisting of all former ZHA staff.

Having joined ZHA nearly 15 years ago, Khayyat worked closely with the late Hadid, and rose through the ranks from project designer to head of region. Managing the firm's Dubai office and its regional projects, he oversaw a number of developments in the Middle East and North Africa, including Lusail Hotel, King Abdullah II House of Culture & Art, the Bahrain International Circuit, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, and most recently, Sharjah's Bee'ah Headquarters.

Tariq Khayyat Design Partners will be a small practice, said Khayyat, with a focus on human-scale projects.

"Dubai has enough of the mega and gigascale projects," he said. "And I think now the market and even the customers, users – the people living in this beautiful city – have more of an appreciation for boutique projects...I think we'll be seeing more developments that focus on the urban scale...[creating] a customer's experience [rather] than just adding a landmark and signature to the city."

He added that his practice will offer the "front end of design", and will be based on a partnership model, where everyone involved feels ownership in the design process.

"Most of us are ex-Zaha staff, but we are not repeating Zaha's architecture," he said. "What we took from ZHA is the way of thinking, the creativity and making sure that there are no boundaries."

Tariq Khayyat Design Partners' first project is a development in Dubai's Safa Park, and it will be announced in May or June of this year.

"I've been with ZHA since 2005, so it's been a very long journey – a very exciting journey," Khayyat said. "I've had the pleasure of being a close friend with Zaha herself and I've learned a lot from her as a person, and from this creative institution. Zaha for me is more than a person or an office, she's a way of thinking, a school of architecture. But after 15 years, each architect has a dream to fulfil...To realise their own visions and their own dreams."