In a conversation with engineer Tariq Al-Zaharneh, he dived into the philosophy of architecture, which translates human needs, enriches values and behaviors, and invests lifelong investments, according to his expressions. Zaharna, of Palestinian origin and Luxembourg identity, seeks to achieve a contemporary architectural language in the region. The research attaches great importance to his work, as well as the high quality craftsmanship, materials and execution.
In the following dialogue he texted with “Madam”, he remembers his first visit to Dubai, and the feeling that motivated him to stay in the city, as well as his childhood in Luxembourg …
When did you first come to Dubai? Was there a special occasion that changed your plans and drove you to stay?
You arrived in Dubai in 2009; Then I saw that architecture was likely to contribute primarily to the development of the city, and the UAE in general, and I also felt that architects were able to direct those scattered moments of architecture in their urban environments and that in the context of Dubai, as part of a collective effort, to address the urban fabric desert nature and people’s housing. Perhaps this is one of the ways in which the built environment influences the way we now think, feel, act and speak about it. The importance of architecture is infinite. These are the ideas and concepts that have kept me in Dubai for about a decade, and have pioneered the way I work as a team at T.ZED Architects, which I founded in 2015 accordingly, with architecture and design, with the ultimate goal of achieving an architectural language Contemporary in the region through exploratory research and design that creates dynamic architecture.
How has Dubai changed since then in terms of architecture and design?
Dubai has obviously changed since I arrived … There is a stronger awareness of architecture, with a sense of how it affects users? How do they respond to different interventions within the city? A construction industry that invests for a lifetime, withstands the test of time, adapts and promotes contextual design language – these are all points of our approach, with the team working at The Company to contribute to the development of Dubai , and this country in general.
Your name is known along with a few other architects, under the title “Builders of Dubai”; How important is it to you?
I prefer the term ‘Enablers of Dubai’ or ‘Architects’ … In practice, I see that we (along with the team) are deeply rooted in the design and construction process, taking into account materiality, program and detail, while we at the heart of each project’s identity and purpose. The skilled and professional approach is not limited to the scale or function of the project, but applies purely architectural thinking to each building and to the interior design, as well as urban intervention and plot design, each project being guided by research. I also like to believe that our relationship with clients is an enabler for a new and in-depth dialogue about design and architectural structures.
What do you remember about Luxembourg City, where you grew up?
Experimentation, passion and fun during the construction of tree houses, in childhood, in addition to contact with European countries and the ability to learn and discover the diversity in architecture and design.
Tell us more about your philosophy of architecture and interior design?
My philosophy is simply to design architecture that translates human needs, enriches values and behavior, invests lifelong and is livable, within the urban structure. It is a timeless architecture that is adaptable to multiple uses, in addition to the needs of the customers, by giving value to every detail of workmanship, materials and high quality workmanship. At The Company, the ongoing attention to context leads to the presentation of international architectural competitions, as well as the presentation of detailed private and public residential and commercial projects, with a forward-looking vision to contribute to the “evolution of architecture”, knowing. that the careful monitoring of heritage and culture is the basis for creating a modern design language.
After working with many ores, and exploring its boundaries; Do you prefer to work with specific materials?
Expressive, subtle and memorable materials, with which the senses immediately establish connections.
The architecture is compared to the sport of jujutsu (a group of Japanese martial arts), which is practiced. Tell us more?
The two areas are similar in terms of discipline, hard work, humility and the ability to breathe after a fall, as well as in solving any problem, and always realize that there is a solution, and that the latter must be effective .
Architecture is similar to the Japanese martial art “jujutsu”, as the two fields require discipline, hard work and humility.
In terms of design culture among Arab consumers; There are big changes in taste .. what do you think?
Yes, there is a greater appreciation for “timeless” craftsmanship and architecture.
Who are your favorite engineers?
The visionaries Peter Zumthor and the late Oscar Niemeyer, Isai Winfield, Alberto Kalach and Marcio Kogan, who serve as role models in craft-driven contextual engineering practices, as well as Carlo Scarpa, who portrays materialism and craftsmanship.
What are your future plans?
I look forward to implementing ‘exciting’ projects that will improve the architectural language in the region, as well as strengthen the European presence through the Company’s office in Luxembourg.
in line …
Tariq Al-Zaharneh grew up in Luxembourg before moving to London and receiving his undergraduate degree from the Bartlett School of Architecture. After graduation, he worked for several design firms, such as Urban A & O in New York and Bolles + Wilson in Münster, Germany. Prior to founding T.ZED Architects in 2015, the engineer undertook a series of projects across Europe, North America and the Middle East, in Dubai and Luxembourg. The company works internationally and notes that its architectural and design practice is progressive.