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Designing and Building the Future

CEO Naz Awale on Global Arc Design, what it means to design across the globe and what the future looks like.

Peter Odour

Who is Naz Awale, by training and then by the other aspects of your life like career?

I’m the CEO and Founder of Global Arc Design, also the lead design of Global Arc Design, before becoming an architectural designer, my previous profession was business management and finance where I worked Corporate Retail industry from a General Store Manager to Multi-Unit Stores District Visual Presentation Manager.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to run an architectural design firm?  

My background is in business management and finance. When I became a district manager, overseeing multiple stores within and cross my district where I was involved with many stores opening, closings and renovations; I developed a unique insight and passion for drafting building design technologies for residential and commercial buildings.

Most people are familiar with architectural firms and design forms. Your firm defines itself as an architectural design firm. What does this mean?                  

We are Global Architectural designers, Engineering solutions and Consultant Company, who specializes in conceiving modern, high quality for architectural design, interior design, residential, commercial, and urban planning around the globe with any culture dimensions.

Our global diverse team of multicultural professionals is what makes us unique and, this means we are passionate about making our client’s vision an accessible reality, we love to explore various challenges.

We work hand-in-hand with our clients on design strategy, and involve them in all the processes, and every step of the way to help create their ideal structure whether small home or business project.

What is the vision behind Global Arch Design?

Providing high quality design and delivering projects that inspire clients and community while respecting the environment. We aim to set new standards on quality, cost saving and offer timeless products to our clients delivered with honesty and integrity.

When you look at the experiences that you have had since inception and looking at the outcome of the projects that you have worked on, would you say that a) you are living up-to this vision?

Absolutely. As an architectural designer there are always many obstacles in design and construction process, going through that process and seeing the outcome of building that you design and spaces that respond to the needs of people. Yes, we are living up to the vision.

Have you met challenges you didn’t foresee when you began?   

Coming across a different challenge in new environments presents a new obstacle each time. Say for instance the laws and regulation of each country to open a business. Very different.

You mention in your website that you have worked on smart homes. I believe this is in response to sustainability issues (energy, water etc.) and to emerging issues like taking into account the welfare of disabled people when designing homes.

How are people (clients) reacting to the idea of smart homes?

Clients appreciate the level of safety and accessibility that provide them sustainability and convenience in their living environment, it also adds value to their daily life in a cost-effective way.

Is this something that they easily get on board with if you propose it?

Yes and no…It depends on the country, life style, budget and accessibility. Majority of the clients understand it is something that features and fits current and future perspectives as well.

As technology improves, we find that we access to more data, more information and access different relevant specialists not to mention things like 3D printing. How are these technology driven changes affecting your work and your company as a designer/ design and architectural firm?

We see these as great benefits. As BIM Architectural design, we are able to reconstruct project visualization, reduce costs and mitigate risks for our client to see the work through virtual reality that can be explored as graphical representation to generate presentations all the way up to 5D modelling.

As an architect and designer who has worked in Africa, and who has seen the standards and quality of both residential and commercial projects in the continent; how was it?

Working in different continents make us comprehend different architectural designs based on the history and tradition of the country in question.  This gives us a clear perception on how to transform these historical architecture into to the modern environment.

You have worked on projects in Cairo, Addis Ababa and in Canada among other places.  How do the architectural and design needs of first world clients differ from the needs of a developing/ third world client? 

Ciro and Addis Ababa are developing cities. The demand is not much different than North America as far as the client vision, expectation and needs.  As a Global Company we don’t see developing countries as less than developed world.

How was the experience when you were working on the modern villa project in Mogadishu?  

Great experience, great feeling and we felt honoured to design and build a place someone can call home in my native country that was destroyed in civil war.  Great engineers to work with, they are motivated to build, open minded, willing to learn and adapt new ideas and skills.

How did you adapt to the challenges in Mogadishu Project?

Every Architecture firm often face unique challenges. Having experience on a global has given us the ability to understand the cultural dimension in the locations we work. Equally important is that we can use international building code and make them understand the importance building by law, and the benefits of following the set construction and engineering procedures.

From our side we must adapt, understand and study the country needs and demands. That’s what got us through our challenges in Mogadishu. In terms of designing and consulting for Mogadishu clients, we never came cross any difficulties, possible the challenges are sometimes security oriented. This can interfere with the client’s timelines.

What can you say about the real estate and construction sector in Somalia, especially the residential aspect of real estate in the country?

Somalia is moving toward, although with many challenges, there is a growing property market in Somalia and many opportunities in real estate and construction. We design and construct for many clients whether it is a small family home or a commercial project for local and diaspora.  Somalia has many great construction companies that are building economical housing for the local wealthy businessmen and catering to diaspora returnees who have come back to the country.

In ten or so years, where do you see Global Arch Design?

We like to explore internationally as a growing firm and work at all scales and in all sectors around the world.

How do you anticipate the design and architectural needs of the world to change in the next two to three decades or so?  

Technology taking its own course of preparing us for better and better every day as we already seeing the future,  but we really  need to be considering climate change.

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