Fast-growing Kuwaiti design firm SSH officially opened its Qatar office this week and at the same time revealed designs of two major projects it has won: a "super-clinic" and a shopping mall.
The 27 April opening marks the end of a long process of setting up in Qatar for SSH. Its chief executive Bob Hope said he hopes the office will capitalise on the building boom there, driven by Qatar’s ambitious National 2030 Vision.
The projects unveiled include a "super-clinic – the new Specialist Clinical Centre for Dental, Dermatology and Diabetes Services – a contract awarded by Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal).
SSH will lead the development of the design on behalf of Hamad Medical Corporation.Â
The clinic will have six interconnected buildings consisting of a shared, three-level basement totalling 64,000 sq m and ground floor plus four upper levels totalling 61,000 sq m.Â
SSH will also provide multidisciplinary design services for the new Wakrah Mall in the emerging city of Al Wakrah.Â
Developed by Qatar’s E’EMAR Development & Real Estate Investment, the 50,000-sq-m mall will include retail shopping, a hypermarket, restaurants and sports and recreational activities.
SSH is one of Kuwait’s oldest design firms, having been set up in 1961 as a solo practice by the Lebanese architect, Sabah Abi-Hannah.
It is growing fast. In February GCR reported that the firm had just under 1,000 staff, up from around 330 when it relaunched in 2013 with a new top tier of management drawn from Atkins, Hyder and other big-name international firms.
Setting up in Qatar is not easy for foreign firms.Â
Said Hope in February: "Even though we know the place very well it took us 15 months to get registered and set up. It can be like that. I know of one very big international who at one point had been there two years and hadn’t managed to open a bank account."
This week he said: "It’s an exciting time for SSH. Our business strategy of blending international talent with local and regional expertise is exceeding even our expectations. As a result we are rapidly seeing our regional branches becoming independent, self-sustaining businesses.Â
"We are privileged to be welcomed in Qatar, and to be able to contribute to the fulfilment of the National 2030 Vision, supported by our clients and strategic partners."
Photograph:TheÂ SSH Qatar team during the 27 April launch of its new Qatar office (SSH)