Architect Chris Brown appointed Mideast design director at Woods Bagot

Brown has 21 years of experience in the industry at firms such as HOK and RMJM

PHOTO: Brown started his architectural career working for RMJM in London before moving to the practice’s Hong Kong office. Credit:

Architect Chris Brown, known for his work at HOK and RMJM, has joined Woods Bagot as Middle East design director, based in Dubai.

Brown is a familiar face in the industry, with 21 years of experience in the UK, Hong Kong, the US and the Middle East.

In an exclusive interview with, Brown said: “I chose Woods Bagot due to the quality of the design work and the diversity of the company overall.

“Many international practices are global. However, when you look across our network of directors, principals and senior staff, there is a genuine diversity in leadership background and design knowledge.”

As well as continuing the practice’s adoption of BIM, Brown is aiming to raise the profile of its projects globally.

Woods Bagot recently completed the IRENA Headquarters in Masdar City, the first office building in Abu Dhabi to achieved a 4 Pearl-rating with Estidama.

Brown added: “Our work in the Middle East, as well as winning local design awards – which is a great plaudit – should aim to be as recognised within an increasingly global marketplace as it is in the local region.

“I think the challenge for the profession is to be delivering not simply the best work in the region, but the best work globally.”

Brown started his architectural career working for RMJM in London before moving to the practice’s Hong Kong office.

He subsequently worked for Foster + Partners in Hong Kong, Wilkinson Eyre Architects in London and then relocated to the Middle East in 1999 as head of architecture for RMJM in Dubai.

The following year, Brown joined HOK to work as senior project architect for the six residential towers of Dubai Marina 1 for Emaar and later Dubai Festival City for Al Futtaim Group.

After a stint running a new Florida office for HKR, Brown decided to return to the Middle East and work for HOK, becoming vice president and practice leader of the region.

During this second spell, he ran a team of over 30 architects and oversaw the delivery of a number of prestigious projects, including Msheireb Downtown Doha, Doha Marina Mall and the Change Initiative building in Dubai.

Brown stated that the passion and vision of regional clients is one of the best aspects of working in the Middle East.

He said: “While that can make the designer’s life challenging, I believe most professionals here – if they took a step back from some of the daily pressures of the job – would see the incredible opportunities that we have.”

An exclusive interview with Chris Brown will appear in the March issue of Middle East Consultant

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