20th March 2023, Middle East – Gensler, the global architecture, design and planning firm, has announced the appointment of Steven Velegrinis as Design Director to its Middle East operation. Velegrinis will play a global role with an initial focus on the MENA region and an emphasis on KSA.
Velegrinis has 30 years’ experience as an urban planner, designer and landscape architect. His interests and work revolve around the idea of ecological urbanism, sustainable and resilient cities and places. In 2008, he relocated from Singapore to the UAE where he has practiced planning, architecture and design for the past 15 years. With large scale, recent projects such as leading the Dubai Expo event masterplan, legacy masterplan and public realm design; Ras Al Khaimah landscape strategy and guidelines; Neom landscape strategy and guidelines; Al Arous masterplan in Jeddah; Wadi Safar masterplan in Riyadh, DGDA supervisory area strategy; and a series of confidential design competitions in KSA, Velegrinis is well placed to build upon Gensler’s current Master Planning practice.
Commenting on the appointment, Managing Director of Gensler Middle East, Tim Martin, said: “As a firm we have historically attracted the best in the business; Steven is another example of our success in this firm-wide goal. By the same token, hiring Steven is a step forward for Gensler as we continue to grow a global center of excellence in ecological urbanism and climate change reversal projects. Our firm’s borderless focus allows our global cities’ teams to offer a broad spectrum of project types. All this comes strategically ahead of COP28 in Dubai and Gensler’s reports of excellence in the sustainability space increasing in numbers. Our global goal is to become the leader in sustainability for the built environment.”
Velegrinis’ appointment comes in a series of high-profile additions to the firm, continuing to cement its position in the region as the design and planning consultant of choice. Collaborating with our Abu Dhabi Studio Leader, Arthi Balasubramanian, whose expertise includes heritage and museum projects, Velegrinis elevates Gensler Middle East’s profile on its path to developing a full-fledged community studio. As regional governments and private entities invest more in cultural and entertainment-driven projects and masterplans – to attract citizens, expats and tourists alike – adding this level of depth and sensibility completes Gensler’s customer-centric focus.
Gensler Middle East is actively engaged in the development of the next generation of architects, designers and planners in the region, through activities such as speaking at universities, engaging students though design competitions and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. Velegrinis’ appointment aligns well in this aspect as he is involved in the development of the architecture profession through his speaking engagements and research initiatives, which have included presentations at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge University and Université Sorbonne, Paris. Velegrinis has a BA in urban planning and a postgraduate diploma in heritage planning from Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia as well as a bachelor of landscape architecture from Lincoln University, New Zealand.
Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 53 locations and more than 7,000 professionals networked across the Americas, Europe, Greater China, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Founded in 1965, the firm works globally with more than 4,000 clients across more than 29 practice areas spanning the work, lifestyle, community, and health sectors. We are guided by our mission to create a better world through the power of design, and the source of our strength is our people. By leveraging our diversity of ideas, our research and innovation, our shared values, and our One-Firm Firm culture, we are working seamlessly as a borderless firm in 140 countries and making the greatest impact on our communities as we continue to tackle the world’s challenges.