May 30, 2017 AMC Staff in Focus – Nick Smith
Attracted by the complexity of Al Maryah Central, Nick Smith joined Gulf Related when the project was in its infancy—working closely with Related New York, along with US- and UK-based design teams to take the mall from concept design through to tender and construction.
Born and raised in England, Nick was educated at the Hull School of Architecture, which offered students complete design freedom.
“As a young man just out of school, this was a real revelation and the beginning of an exciting career that resulted in me working on some of the world’s most iconic developments within some of the world’s most dynamic cities.”
As Retail Project Manager, Nick is responsible for preserving the design conscience of the project, which includes making design decisions, monitoring contractor work, ensuring that Gulf Related’s quality aspirations are met, managing the design team, and working with The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council to maintain design compliance and secure necessary approvals.
“Day-to-day, there is a lot of collaboration and coordination required to bring this project to fruition, working with management, leasing, legal, finance and commercial teams to review and communicate on all related project matters.”
Prior to joining Gulf Related, Nick was an Associate Architect at one of the UK’s largest retail architectural practices. However, after 15 years, he witnessed a shift in design direction coming predominantly from the client side, and soon realized he wanted to make a change.
“I enjoy every element of the design process; however, as a project manager, I have control over the whole design process, from conception to completion. At Al Maryah Central, this is paramount because of the incredible design response to the urban environment of Al Maryah Island.”
Nick believes that the high quality of materials specified, such as natural stone, coupled with best-in-class, culturally-sensitive customer facilities, will establish a new benchmark for malls in Abu Dhabi.
“We have gone to great lengths to understand our customers, who they are, how they shop, and what they shop for. Our recently published Consumer Insight Report provided further guidance and, to an extent, has enabled us to refine our plans. However, along the way, the design intent has been preserved, and that is what I am most proud of.”