World-renowned architect Art Gensler dies at 85: Dubai's Gate Building and Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island among his key projects in the Middle East
Following the death of the founder of the world's biggest architecture firm, a look at his legacy of buildings in the region
Art Gensler, founder of the world’s largest architecture company, has died at the age of 85.
Gensler’s eponymous company was behind some of the world’s best known buildings, including China’s tallest skyscraper, the 632-metre Shanghai Tower.
The designer was born in New York in 1935 and studied at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning. In 1965, he founded a small interiors shop that would grow to become a dominating force on the global architecture scene, with 50 offices around the world.
Gensler's expansive portfolio of projects includes hotels, universities, airports, stadiums, headquarters for corporate giants such as Facebook, Burberry and Hyundai, and the first Apple stores.
Gensler was a designer that remained focused on the user for the entirety of his career, promoting an "inside out" ethos that harked back to his interior design roots. In an age of starchitects, he remained relatively low key.
"He taught us all about pursuing personal passions, opening doors for our people to excel at what they love to do, and working together to redefine the profession," the company’s co-chief executive, Andy Cohen, wrote in a public tribute to Gensler. "He demonstrated how design has the power to create a better world. He showed us anything is possible."
Scroll through the gallery above to see Gensler projects in the Middle East.
In the UAE, some of Gensler’s best-known projects include the Gate Building, a visual marker of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The building was modelled after Paris’ Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, creating a triumphal arch designed to communicate DIFC’s strategic role in Dubai’s economic growth.
Gensler was also responsible for Dubai’s first 3D-printed office building, dubbed the Office of the Future and located on the grounds of Emirates Towers. “It represents a new milestone for the UAE as a global leader in strategic achievements,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said at the unveiling of the unique structure.
In the UAE capital, Gensler designed the National Bank of Abu Dhabi building and the Khalifa Innovation Centre, and was responsible for the strategic master plan of Saadiyat Island.
Further afield, the architecture firm has created projects such as Wafra Seef in Kuwait and the World Trade Centre in Riyadh.
Updated: May 16, 2021 03:12 PM