My interest in the built environment was born in the form of curious questions I asked myself as a child: ‘why do children in films walk and cycle to school and I don’t?’, ‘why haven’t I been on a train?’, ‘why do I only get on a bus when it’s a school trip?’. As I grew up, this fascination grew with me, and I asked more questions about the places we live and why we feel certain emotions in one place and not in another.
Growing up in Saudi, I have only known the fast-paced development and everlasting sound of construction in Riyadh. The replacing of ‘new’ with ‘newer’, which so rapidly felt like my memories of places were being erased before they were even formed. This sparked a passion for heritage-led planning and placemaking, and I began to query and challenge governance models and policies that shape my city.
It is my belief that successful strategies for great places require challenging the ‘norm’. In my case, I seek to conserve, protect and repurpose the past in favour of new rapid development. I try to find a balance between conservation and creative designs, to give a new life to heritage assets, so their story lives on with each generation.