Wednesday 7 June 2023

Gensler boosts Mideast ops with key design chief appointment

DUBAI, March 20, 2023

Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm, has appointed Steven Velegrinis as its new design director for the Middle East region. 
An industry veteran with 30 years’ experience as an urban planner, designer and landscape architect, Velegrinis will play a global role with an initial focus on the Mena region and an emphasis on Saudi Arabia. 
Velegrinis' interests and work revolve around the idea of ecological urbanism, sustainable and resilient cities and places. In 2008, he relocated from Singapore to the UAE where he has practiced planning, architecture and design for the past 15 years. 
With large scale, recent projects such as leading the Dubai Expo event masterplan, legacy masterplan and public realm design; Ras Al Khaimah landscape strategy and guidelines; Neom landscape strategy and guidelines; Al Arous masterplan in Jeddah; Wadi Safar masterplan in Riyadh, DGDA supervisory area strategy; and a series of confidential design competitions in KSA, Velegrinis is well placed to build upon Gensler’s current master planning practice.
Welcoming the appointment, Managing Director (Middle East) Tim Martin said: "As a firm we have historically attracted the best in the business; Velegrinis is another example of our success in this firm-wide goal. By the same token, hiring him is a step forward for Gensler as we continue to grow a global center of excellence in ecological urbanism and climate change reversal projects."
Velegrinis has a BA in urban planning and a postgraduate diploma in heritage planning from Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia as well as a bachelor of landscape architecture from Lincoln University, New Zealand. 
"Our firm’s borderless focus allows our global cities’ teams to offer a broad spectrum of project types. All this comes strategically ahead of COP28 in Dubai and Gensler’s reports of excellence in the sustainability space increasing in numbers. Our global goal is to become the leader in sustainability for the built environment," he added.
Velegrinis’ appointment comes in a series of high-profile additions to the firm, continuing to cement its position in the region as the design and planning consultant of choice. 
"Collaborating with our Abu Dhabi studio leader Arthi Balasubramanian, whose expertise includes heritage and museum projects, Velegrinis elevates Gensler Middle East’s profile on its path to developing a full-fledged community studio," noted Martin. 
As regional governments and private entities invest more in cultural and entertainment-driven projects and masterplans – to attract citizens, expats and tourists alike – adding this level of depth and sensibility completes Gensler’s customer-centric focus, he added.-TradeArabia News Service


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