Meet… #16 | Hala Abi Saad

In the series ‘Meet…’, GROUP A employees respond to a number of questions about their work. This time it is Hala Abi Saad who tells us about her personal life and professional interest. After completing her architecture studies at the Notre Dame University Louaize, in Lebanon, she moved to Rotterdam to study at the IHS- Erasmus University Rotterdam. Following her graduation, she joined the GROUP A team.

I wanted to be an architect because
I was raised in a family of designers, so I got oriented into this field from a young age. However, I specifically chose to go for architecture because it combines both art and sciences which are two disciplines that I love.

My perfect day off consists of
Ideally, painting in a space flooded with natural daylight.

I like working at GROUP A because
At GROUP A I get the chance to work on diverse scales including interior design, architecture, and urban design. Hence, working on transitional spaces and user trajectories between interior and exterior space, which are topics of high interest to me. Moreover, the core value of GROUP A is ‘Knowledge sharing’. So I highly enjoy discussing, brainstorming, and exchanging ideas with the multidisciplinary GROUP A team.

The journey I would like to make (again)
I would like to mention my journey to the UIA Congress in Durban South Africa in 2014. It was a forming experience that offered me a series of opportunities that brought me to Rotterdam to pursue my studies and career in architecture.

I’d like to work again on
Participatory placemaking and community building projects, since I believe in people being the main actors in making cities work.

The talent I’m most proud of
Is drawing and sketching! Time stops when I start drawing. It happened that I spent nights drawing while my friends were partying on weekends…

The book I can’t put away is
‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions’ by Stephen Hawking. I once binge-read it on a 5 hours flight.

A building that has impressed me a lot
The Rachid Karame International Fairground by Oscar Niemeyer is dear to me. It is a witness of the recent history of Lebanon. An important memory of a golden age that was brutally interrupted by the civil war (1975), which left Niemeyer’s brutalist architecture unused until today. I see this modern heritage as a symbol of the unsolved conflicts in the Lebanese society. Regardless of its decaying physical status Niemeyer’s architecture still gets into you while walking through the abandoned fairground.

The biggest challenge in my work is
To design SPACES that can turn into PLACES.

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