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Muhammad BinGhatti’s iconic designs began at AUS
Having just unveiled his plans for the world’s tallest residential tower, Muhammad BinGhatti has achieved remarkable success since graduating from American University of Sharjah (AUS) in 2015. The CEO of Binghatti began his career nine years ago while juggling the demands of full-time study at AUS’ acclaimed College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), where his vision to redefine the real estate industry and his iconic architectural style were first established.
Like many students from AUS who are being prepared for a role within a family business, BinGhatti stepped into his professional role before he had even graduated and sought to make an immediate impact.
“My family was in real estate so I thought about what I could add to that as an architect. While I was studying at AUS, I had this idea to redefine the entire industry by introducing a visual brand identity that would ensure our properties are instantly recognizable, in the same way, global fashion and automotive brands design their product ranges” said BinGhatti.
In 2014, having just completed a university project which explored renowned architect Moshe Safdie’s use of fractional design—a method where architectural features are formed through the multiplicity of a single element to form a wholistic sum of parts —BinGhatti had a unique opportunity to apply his learning and accelerate his plan to shake up the industry.
“I happened to see the original designs for a new project called Binghatti Residences which were very typical of the classical era. I jumped in and told everyone, ‘Listen, we’re going to try something new here. We’re going to try and establish a brand identity. This will be the first, and let’s see how it goes.’ So I stopped the process with the authorities and we started over,” said BinGhatti.
“We started applying parametric design to the facades of the building, making it relevant in terms of climatic control and how these exterior envelopes respond to solar radiation and sun path diagrams. We applied our bold color palette of white, orange and black, and that’s how our brand identity started,” he said.
The reaction, he said, was very humbling. The same design language has been applied to more than 50 projects across Dubai, winning Binghatti a slew of international and regional awards. In the process, Muhammad BinGhatti won recognition as Most Influential Leader in Real Estate at the International Property Awards in 2018, which he attributes to the lessons he learned as a CAAD student.
“The most valuable lesson that I learned in CAAD beyond all of the technical and architectural knowledge is essentially grit—never giving up. As CAAD students, we knew we needed to get it done by hook or by crook. We pulled all-nighters, we would cut ourselves with the Exacto knife. I still have a scar on my hand from trying to catch a deadline at 4:00 a.m.! When you are brought up that way, you understand that there’s no mercy in life and if you want to really go out there and achieve, you’ve got to do what it takes,” he said.
“Stepping into my family business meant applying the same grit that I gained over the years at AUS and having a commitment to never stop learning. The best type of leadership, I believe, is leading from the field and being with the people—not just leading from an ivory tower, but rather making them feel you are part of the team,” he said.
In 2020, BinGhatti was inducted to the AUS Alumni Wall of Fame by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah and President of AUS. As a proud AUS alumnus, BinGhatti has returned to CAAD to give workshops and serve as a jury member for final student design presentations, to provide opportunities to interns and new graduates, and to share his own lessons learned.
“I believe that knowledge is the most valuable thing in life and that it should always be free. If I can give knowledge for free, that’s the most impactful thing I can do in life,” said BinGhatti.
“It’s very humbling that after only a few years of leaving university, having given 110 percent in real-life experience, I received the AUS Alumni Wall of Fame award. I’m very grateful,” he said.
For more information about the College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah, visit www.aus.edu/caad.