To meet the needs of a rapidly expanding client base and project portfolio in the Middle East and surrounding areas, global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will has Jo Palma as the firm’s new Regional Design Director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Palma is internationally renowned for designing some of the tallest and largest sustainable building complexes in the world, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; Baltimore Tower in London, England; the Cayan and Rolex Towers in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates; and the Liansheng Financial Center in Taiyuan, China. Palma’s arrival at Perkins+Will comes just as the Dubai practice relocates to a new and significantly larger office space in the coveted Dubai Marina district of the city—a move also prompted by unprecedented business growth.
“Dubai is the fifth fastest-growing city economy in the world—an international hub for trade and professional services, and a bedrock for urban development,” says Perkins+Will President and CEO Phil Harrison. “The addition of Jo Palma to our global team, along with this week’s relocation of our Dubai office—where we’ve grown from 2 to 70 staff in just over four years—demonstrates our support for and commitment to the EMEA region.”
Palma’s experience includes designing and master planning complex mixed-use and residential projects, high-security government headquarters, commercial transportation hubs, community centers, and civic institutions. Examples include The Capital in Cairo, Egypt; the Dublin Airport New Terminal Expansion in Dublin, Ireland; Brazil's TAV High Speed Rail assessment studies; the Paulinia Smart Community in Paulinia, Brazil; Admirala Lazareva in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Panama International Convention Center in Panama City, Panama. For his first 90 days on the job, he will focus on acquainting himself with his local, regional, and international team members and on engaging with clients and communities in the EMEA. Palma is based out of the London office of Perkins+Will, but has a strong connection to, and remit in, the Middle East—particularly Dubai.
When completed in December 2015, Perkins+Will’s new Dubai office will be three times larger than its former location at Gold and Diamond Park—a necessity given the explosive growth in staff size in recent years. Located on the tenth floor of Emaar Marina Plaza along Sheikh Zayed Road, the office is designed to accommodate an open, collaborative, flexible, and healthy work environment. Adaptable breakout spaces allow for creative teamwork, a treadmill desk keeps staff physically active during the work day, and prime access to local transportation ensures walkability. The office is also surrounded by a plethora of retail, dining, and hotel facilities in the Dubai Marina neighborhood, and ensures accessibility for international clients thanks to its close proximity to the new Al Maktoum International Airport.
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