Studio visit: NAGA Architects
Founded in 2000 by Dr Shams Naga, NAGA Architects has been one of the key architecture firms in the UAE, with offices throughout the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Libya, as well as in the United States and Canada.
Having received numerous design and construction awards, Dr Naga explains that the firm’s success is rooted in the success of Dubai itself.
“For the most part, architects do projects that are funded and made available to them by clients’ aspirations rather than the other way round. Many of my peers have asked me if the office would have achieved its current status had I founded it in the United States and my answer to them has always been a definite ‘no’. We attribute a good portion of our continued success to being in Dubai and being a part of its recent construction activity,” said Dr Naga.
Stepping into NAGA’s office on Sheikh Zayed Road, one is instantly overcome by the academic ambiance of the firm. Bookshelves stand along walls stacked with various books on topics ranging from architecture, interior design, landscape design and art. It is instantly clear that NAGA Architects, as well as being a place for architectural creativity, is also a place of research.
“Having a background in academia, we’ve operated the office as an academic studio from the outset,” Dr Naga explained. “Architects and designers produce designs and drawings that are subsequently subject to open review and critique. Open critiques are an integral part of our design process, and have contributed to the success of our projects.”