Saeed Al Abbar, a 26-year-old Emirati, was recently named the International Young Consultant of the Year by the British Expertise International Awards 2010. As a sustainability consultant in a multinational firm, his role essentially revolves around the future of the UAE: sustainable design of communities, infrastructure and buildings.
The British Expertise International Awards recognises excellence in design, planning, management and construction of projects around the world. The multinational company’s Yas Island Primary Infrastructure project was also shortlisted in the major consultancy project of the year category.
“Architects in this region are among the most creative in the world. People of this region have been able to live without electricity, air conditioning or abundant fresh water for centuries. So there are certainly design elements that can be incorporated in buildings, cities and infrastructure of today,” said Al Abbar, who works for Halcrow.
Al Abbar recently took on the offer to project manage the Emirates Green Building Council’s new headquarters in Dubai which will strive to achieve the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) ratings as well as demonstrate leadership in sustainable design and construction practices.
The building that stands out most for the award winning consultant Saeed Al Abbar in the UAE is the Dubai World Trade Centre, specifically for reasons that the design incorporates the environmental conditions and availability of natural resources.
“Built in the 1970s, I think it has stood the test of time and remained an iconic landmark in spite of all the changes that have taken place in the city. It also has numerous sustainable design features before the term ‘green buildings’ even existed and it was simply known as ‘common sense design for the Middle East climate’.
“You will notice that the window glass is limited to about 30 per cent of the wall area and all windows are set back. So they receive shading throughout the day. Despite being built in the 1970s, it is somewhat disturbing to note that it is probably more energy efficient than a lot of new buildings in the UAE,” he said.