Tariq Khayyat: Architect, designer, lecturer shares his experience and advice

Tariq Khayyat Design Partners (TKDP) offers client-based architectural design approaches and architectural solutions to individuals and communities. (Photos: Handouts from Tariq Khayyat)
AMMAN — Tariq Khayyat Design Partners (TKDP) is an award-winning practice that offers client-based architectural design approaches and architectural solutions to individuals and communities. TKDP was founded by architect, designer, and university lecturer Tariq Khayyat in 2018.اضافة اعلان

Tariq Khayyat, founder of TKDP. (Photo: Handout from Tariq Khayyat)

Khayyat earned his master’s degree in architecture from the Architectural Association School of Architecture’s Design Research Laboratory in London in 2005. Since then, Khayyat has lectured at several universities in the UK, Europe, UAE, and the Middle East.

Before establishing TKDP, Khayyat worked as a project director and designer at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in London before becoming the head of its branch in the Middle East from 2016 and 2018. Khayyat also co-designed and led several of ZHA’s seminal projects, including Bee’ah headquarters in Sharjah, UAE, and the Meixihu International Culture & Arts Center in Changsha, China.

Khayyat spoke to Jordan News on a phone interview to discuss his business and his passion for architecture:

In your opinion, what have you contributed to the field of architecture?

Every architect’s dream is to contribute to the industry by enhancing people’s experience and adding a signature to the cities they design within. Throughout my progressing career ... I managed to promote a more pioneering design process, pushing the research methodology within each project and, most importantly, raising the awareness of the architect’s pivotal role in shaping the cities and our mission to improve our daily life experience.

How did it all start?

I was raised in an architectural house. My father, Ziad Khayyat was one of the early architects ... in the early 70s in Amman, so I grew up surrounded by drawings, models, buildings, and theories, so the architect inside me grew up early. Studying architecture was inevitable.

What does Zaha Hadid mean to you?

Zaha was a mentor, leader, inspirer, and friend; I was always fascinated by her achievements. I was inspired by how she fought all the obstacles around her with courage, determination, and creativity. She was an Arab woman working in a male-dominated profession in the West; she managed to break all the stereotypes and establish a career that inspired generations of architects.

I worked closely with Zaha from 2005 until she passed away in 2016. Throughout those years, the respect and admiration inside me grew further and was an essential motivation for me to embrace new levels of architectural theories and design philosophy.

How do you support young talents?

Investing in young talents is part of TKDP’s core. Students and fresh graduates are the future and the main asset for us. Young students are full of energy, passion, and skills. Investing in them leads to a new level of creativity. They ... dare to propose non-conventional ideas which might lead to profound designs. Every year, TKDP accepts a number of selected interns where we train them and encourage them to explore new ideas.

What would you say to the youth who dream of being architects and are afraid of joining due to unemployment?

You must really think of your choices and do your research. Architecture is a very demanding career. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, long hours, patience, and most importantly, it requires passion. ... You need to invest heavily in your skills, it’s a very competitive market, and you need to always find your niche, understand your capabilities, and enrich them.

What is success to you? And what is the key to success?

Success for me is measured by making a difference. If our projects and designs are not making a positive change and difference in our communities, we fail. Success always must be measured collectively, not individually.

Tariq Khayyat Design Partners (TKDP) offers client-based architectural design approaches and architectural solutions to individuals and communities. (Photos: Handouts from Tariq Khayyat)

What did Dubai offer you? Do you think that if you were not in Dubai, you wouldn’t have achieved the same success?

Dubai is very generous in opening horizons and opportunities for those who seek change and aspire to change and develop. ... After living for 14 years in London, Dubai was a natural destination. It has global market thinking. It provides a healthy environment to work, contribute and enjoy success. It’s hard to say if such opportunities could be embraced elsewhere. However, I believe that Dubai is a pioneering place in this regard.

What are the main obstacles that you faced throughout your career? How did you overcome them?

The main obstacle I face, and every architect does, is raising awareness of the effort and dedication architects put into their work. Clients often underestimate the tremendous effort architects put into the design and producing a project. This leads to challenges in the support we get from the clients throughout the project life span. Another obstacle we at TKDP face is providing an unconventional design in a very conventional market.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your work?

COVID-19 had two impacts, a negative one reflected in the market difficulties, client’s hesitation to initiate or complete projects due to all financial challenges all sectors are facing. And a positive impact where it pushed us to develop our design ideas to capture all the challenges we faced during the pandemic, such as public spaces reconfiguration, flexible internal spaces use, and having the environment as a critical driver in our designs.

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