Design Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), London

Larry Oltmanns is a Director in charge of design in the London office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Since joining the firm in 1974, Mr. Oltmanns has led a large number of international design efforts in Europe, North America, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He has had extensive experience with large scale public assembly buildings and a wide variety of special use projects including a sports complex for thoroughbred horse racing in the USA; a headquarters office complex for Aramco in Saudi Arabia; and a convention and exhibition centre in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.

Committed to the achievement of innovation through the application of research and creativity to meet the needs and goals of his clients, he believes that a building should reflect the unique characteristics of its location and the personalities of the people for whom it is built rather than the style of a particular architect.

Oltmanns graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Architecture, University of Illinois, USA in 1973. He is affiliated with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), among others.

Associate Professor and chair of the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University in Beirut (AUB)

Dr Howayda N. Al-Harithy, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) SMArchS program in 1987, with her thesis on ‘Architectural Form and Meaning of Light of Al-Jurjani's Literary Theories.’ From thereon, she went to pursue a Master of Arts and a PhD at Harvard, analysing Mamluk architecture through both degrees. While engaged in her academic work at Harvard, she served as an architectural advisor to the Arriyadh Development Authority, Saudi Arabia. After receiving her doctorate in 1992, she returned to MIT as a visiting assistant professor, while also lecturing at Harvard. In 1994, she moved to Lebanon, taking a teaching position in the Civilisation Sequence Program, at the American University of Beirut. Though she took a hiatus as a visiting associate professor at MIT for the spring 2000 semester, Howayda Al-Harithy continues to teach at AUB, where she is presently an Associate Professor and chair of the Department of Architecture and Design.

At AUB, where she has actively organised design and fine art exhibits, conferences, lectures and panel discussions, coordinated a joint studio with Harvard Graduate School of Design, she has also led student travel trips and advised in the development of the campus Master Plan Project. Serving on UNESCO’s Scientific Committee for their 2000 Seminar University and Heritage, and as a member of the editorial board for the Electronic International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Howayda Al-Harithy has presented papers recently at MESA, YPO Cairo, the ACSA International Conference, the National Museum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments Conference, the Sixth International Seminar on Urban Form Meeting, and the Harvard's Sackler Museum Lecture Series.

Dr Al Harithy has published a monograph in the Bibliotheca Islamica entitled, ‘The Waqf Document of Sultan Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Qalawun.’ Two of her pieces also appeared in The Cairo Heritage (Papers in Honour of Layla Ibrahim and Arabic Calligraphy in Architecture: Islamic Monument Inscriptions in the City of Tripoli during the Mamluk Period). Furthermore, she has had articles published in Oxford's Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Muqarnas, Mamluk Studies Review, Middle East Women's Studies Review, Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Bahithat, and the Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review.

Executive Director, Heritage Foundation of Pakistan;
National Advisor, UNESCO-NORAD-Govt. of Pakistan Project Conservation and Preservation of Lahore Fort
UNESCO National Project Coordinator for Cultural Tourism in Lahore and Peshawar Chairperson, Organizing Committee Karavan, Pakistan, Initiatives for Cultural and Social Empowerment

Yasmeen Lari, is the recognized as the ‘first woman architect of Pakistan’. She established Lari Associates, one of the best-known architectural practices in the country. After receiving her schooling in Pakistan, she graduated from Oxford School of Architecture (now Oxford Brookes University) and was elected an Associate of Royal Institute of British Architects in 1968.

As President of the Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP) and first Chairperson of the Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP), Lari was instrumental in bringing about recognition for the professions of architecture and town planning in Pakistan. In 1969, Lari’s work on squatter settlements persuaded the government to change its policy from slum clearance and the uprooting of residents to regularization and upgrading of these settlements.

She has been engaged in documentation and research of Pakistan’s historic architecture since 1981. As Executive Director of Heritage Foundation and an outspoken proponent of preservation, she has helped save a number of important and unique architectural treasures in Karachi and Lahore. In 1994, her efforts resulted in Sindh Government agreeing to bring about a law for the protection of cultural heritage of the province. Since then, over 600 historic buildings of Karachi documented by Heritage Foundation have been provided protection.

Her research and publications on Karachi have formed the basis for ‘Karavan Karachi’ (now ‘Karavan Pakistan’), a mechanism for participation of general public, particularly the youth and children, to promote heritage for a culture of peace. Her other publications include Traditional Architecture of Thatta (1989), The Jewel of Sindh: Samma Monuments on Makli Hill (1997) (co-authored with Suhail Zaheer Lari) and The Dual City, Karachi During the Raj (1996 and 2001) (co-authored with Mihail S. Lari), Karachi Documents No. 1-9 and Peshawar Document one (forthcoming) of National Register of Historic Places of Pakistan

Founder and Managing Director of AJ Architects
CEO of ReeMoon BDC
Member of the board for the Financial Harbour Holding Company

Ahmed Abubaker Janahi is the founder and Managing Director of Ahmed Janahi Architects a global architecture firm established in 1988, with offices in South Africa, Toulouse, Baghdad and Indonesia. Ahmed Janahi has been the driving force behind Major local and regional real estate projects including shopping centres, towers and government buildings; projects include the distinctive Control Tower at Bahrain Airport, the Al A’Ahli Shopping Mall and TAIB Bank. Ahmed Janahi Architects are the lead consultant for the Bahrain Financial Harbour development and he is a member of the board for Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company.

Janahi is also the founder and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ReeMoon BDC WLL, a real estate advisory services company established in 2000. Services include real estate advisory services, business advisory services and private properties development and management. ReeMoon has now grown its practice to France, Baghdad and South Africa.

Ahmed Janahi is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and undertook his postgraduate studies in Architectural Engineering at the Metropolitan University of Manchester in the UK.

CEO of the multi-award winning landscape design office based in Bali, Bensley Design Studio (BDS)

Bill’s interest in gardens dates back to just shortly after he learned to walk. By age four, his father taught him how to grip a hoe, and since then his duties in gardens around the world have never ceased. As a student at California State Polytechnic, Pomona, it came as no surprise when he graduated with a degree in landscape architecture in 1981. During his senior year, he also earned the highest accolades awarded undergraduates by the American Society of Landscape Architects, which include a full Harvard Fellows Scholarship. Upon completing his Master’s Degree from Harvard in 1984, Bill began his career in Asia with Belt Collins & Associates in Singapore, where he supervised numerous landscape projects throughout the region, eventually taking the post of Managing Director of their Hong Kong office in 1987.

Since opening BDS in 1989, his reputation has steadily grown throughout the region for his near–encyclopaedic horticultural knowledge as well as his use and adaptation of ethnic art forms. Bill is a dedicated Asian-phile, travels extensively around the region, and continues to study and adapt his work to the unique characteristics and cultures of the countries served by BDS. He loves languages, and has a basic understanding of both Thai and Indonesian. He adores his job and takes great joy in building long-term relationships with clients and their gardeners, allowing BDS to continuously improve the gardens they create. “A garden is never finished,” Is the way Bill explains his approach, “and that is the only way to see a garden’s full potential.”

“I find no greater satisfaction than to return than to return to one of our gardens and to find that it is has grown and matured.”

Director, General Projects Department of the Dubai Municipality
Chairman, the society of conservation of the architectural heritage of UAE
Chairman, UAE Architectural Committee

Rashad Mohammed Bukhash is the Director of the General Projects Department of Dubai Municipality and also the Chairman of the Society for the Conservation of the Architectural Heritage of the United Arab Emirates. He has a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University, NY and a Masters in Philosophy in Architecture from Manchester University, UK.

Bukhash’s experience in conservation and preservation saw him as Head of restoration of the Archeological Buildings unit between 1991-1994, which involved restoration of Al-Faheidi Fort and Al-Ahmadiya School, as well as extensive assessment and surveying of the historical buildings in the Shindagha area in Dubai. In 1995 and until 2001, Rashad Bukhash was appointed Head of the Historical Buildings Section in Dubai Municipality and worked on the restoration of more than 50 buildings and the interior design for five museums.

A member of the Society of Engineers in the UAE and a member of the board of directors since 1991, he is the also the Head of the Architectural Committee in the Society of Engineers, a member of The Society of History and Archeology of the Gulf Countries and a member of ICOMOS, International council of Monuments and Sites in France