International architect Grimshaw opened its first office in Dubai last week saying it will keep working on projects initiated from its office in Qatar, which is currently blockaded by its Gulf neighbours in a diplomatic standoff.
Grimshaw said its new Dubai office in the city’s D3 Design District will act as a central hub for projects in the region.
"A key part of Grimshaw’s design ethos is to gain a deep understanding of project locations in order to become immersed in the local culture and environment," the firm said, adding: "The practice continues to work on projects initiated from its Doha office, but now with an added office resource in the UAE to support a major project in its design and construction; the Dubai Expo 2020 Sustainability Pavilion."
The move comes as Qatar faces continued transport disruptions as a Saudi Arabia-led bloc of neighbours prevent vehicles and aeroplanes entering from their territories.
Neighbours, including UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, adopted their punitive stance in June, accusing Qatar of destabilising the region by promoting Islamist extremisms, a charge Qatar denies.
In September last year Grimshaw was commissioned to design the Sustainability Pavilion (pictured) for the UAE’s 2020 Expo.
Grimshaw said it would be a "celebration of ecology" and "a working demonstration of sustainable design".
The main building is crowned by an over-arching roof structure with photovoltaic panels for powering the site. "Solar trees" are designed to harvest water from the humid atmosphere.
After the Expo the pavilion will remain on site as a permanent fixture.
Other projects Grimshaw is working on in the region include a high-end retail and entertainment destination; a grand-scale botanic garden in Oman; and a number of transit, sports and leisure projects in Qatar.
Image: In September last year Grimshaw was commissioned to design the Sustainability Pavilion for the UAE’s 2020 Expo (Grimshaw)