Imkan hires Ramboll to deliver project on Abu Dhabi's Reem Island

09 January 2018

Global engineering consultants Ramboll have been drafted in by Abu-Dhabi-based property developers Imkan to lead the first phase of their flagship Maker’s District project in the city, an 18-hectare mixed-use waterfront development on Reem Island. 

The engineering, design and management consulting firm Ramboll has been appointed as the lead consultancy for Phase One of the AED2 billion ($540 million) Maker’s District project in Abu Dhabi, a vibrant new cultural hub to be built across 18 hectares and featuring an integrated mix of residential, hospitality, retail and commercial spaces. Located on Reem Island, with over 1,000 residential units and 11,000sqm of commercial space slated in its initial phase, the project aspires to become the new ‘beating heart’ of the capital. 

Ramboll, of Danish origin, has continued to expand in recent years through both organic growth and large strategic acquisitions in Denmark, Sweden, India, UK and USA, with a global footprint now spanning 300 offices with 13,000 employees worldwide. The consulting firm works across the Building, Transport, Environment & Health, Energy, Water, and Management Consulting sectors, and will bring to the UAE its previous experience in similar projects, such as guiding the feasibility study for the RiverCity redevelopment in Gothenburg.

Imkan hires Ramboll to deliver project on Abu Dhabi's Reem Island

Ramboll’s recruitment to the project and $32.67 million contract marks the official launch of the Maker’s District development, which is scheduled for completion in 2020, and will see the company working alongside the architectural firms MVRDV of Holland, which has unveiled plans to build a cluster of towers with a striking ‘pixelated’ appearance, and fellow Danes the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), who will oversee the design of the public spaces. 

Soren Holm Johansen, Group Executive Director at Ramboll, said of the deal; “This is a significant win for our team in the UAE.  Our multi-disciplinary buildings team are involved in several high-rises, and mixed-use projects in the region and this high profile win cements our position as one of the leading engineering design companies. The ‘Makers District’ is a very challenging project, and we are excited to utilise our knowledge and expertise to deliver a project of this scale successfully.” 

Imkan’s CEO Walid El Hindi said of the project; “Makers District is the first development of its kind in the region. We conducted extensive research on the needs and aspirations of young, highly networked and creative workers who currently have a limited choice in where they live and work.  Makers District is a community that fills this gap by responding to the rise of the maker movement - a social movement with an artisan spirit.”

Commenting on the Ramboll announcement, El Hindi added, “We are delighted to appoint Ramboll as the lead consultant for the first phase of Makers District. This is testament to our approach of entering partnerships with global firms with a proven track record in delivering truly outstanding projects.” 

Abu Dhabi’s Maker’s District is just the first step in Imkan’s vision to take the concept to cities across the globe, from the Middle East and North Africa to Asia and Europe, with interconnected sister sites already proposed for Cairo, Sao Paulo, Montenegro and Rabat, Morocco.

Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in Dubai

18 April 2019

The Middle East branch of international construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has launched a new innovation hub in Dubai

Following the appointment of ex-Ramboll exec Abdulmajid Karanouhas as its Head of Interdisciplinary Design & Innovation earlier this year to spearhead the firm’s R&D drive in the Middle East, the local branch of German-origin construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has now launched a new innovation hub in Dubai – designed as a collaborative environment to serve both external start-ups and its own employees.

“It has always been part of our corporate culture to promote our own ideas and initiatives,” said Drees & Sommer executive board member Steffen Szeidl. “Increasingly, digital transformation and our clients are calling for completely new and disruptive business models. The Innovation Centre is one of our responses to these challenges. All 3,200 staff members can upload their ideas virtually.”

According to Szeidl, from there, promising concepts and solutions addressing identified market gaps in areas such as planning, construction and operations will be developed, funded and localised for any market which sees the potential. He continues: “Adding the Dubai innovation hub emphasises our status as a global innovation company by being one of the few companies doing R&D in this region.”Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in DubaiLocally established in 2003, Drees & Sommer was founded close to 50 years ago in Stuttgart, since growing to include some 40 offices worldwide, with its global headcount of 3,200 professionals generating revenues upwards of $430 million in 2017. The firm’s offerings span the gamut of real estate and infrastructure requirements, delivered according to its ‘blue way’, which takes into account economic, functionality, and ecological aspects together.

This, for Drees & Sommer, is an important point in the regional context.  “There is a huge demand in this market for contextual solutions as most models and systems are imported from abroad with little to no adaptation to the local culture, economy, and environment,” explains Karanouh. “As a consequence of this approach, we are facing major challenges related to user-comfort, efficiency, manageability, durability, and overall sustainability and feasibility of the built environment in the region.”

Accordingly, the firm has tailored each of its innovation hubs rolled out so far across the world to drive specific initiatives. In Aachen, Germany’s ‘Silicon Valley’, for example, there is a focus on customised smart buildings, IoT product testing and cyber-security, while the firm’s Stuttgart hub focuses on start-ups and processes and its Berlin one on smart cities and smart quarters. The Netherlands hub meanwhile focuses on wellbeing and sustainable innovation.

Karanouh: “The innovation hub brings together specialists of various disciplines from across the industry as a single interdisciplinary team that advises clients from early feasibility studies all the way to operation and revitalisation of buildings to maximise comfort, efficiency, sustainability, return of investment and overall value. The platform allows for brainstorming ideas, identifying market gaps and needs, adapting existing solutions or/and developing new solutions tailored to the local market and environment.”