A design architect, computational designer and façade engineer with over 15 years’ experience in leading multidisciplinary project teams, Abdulmajid Karanouh is the Head of Innovation Design and Facades at Ramboll Middle East.
As a young high school graduate growing up in Lebanon, Abdulmajid could not afford to go abroad to study Aeronautical Engineering. Not wanting to study Mechanical Engineering either due to the country lacking in high-tech industries, he chose to pursue a career in Architecture instead, “a field that appeared to offer the opportunity for young design oriented individuals to be creative” stated Abdulmajid.
After completing his Bachelors in Architectural Engineering at the Beirut Arab University, Lebanon, Abdulmajid went on to pursue a Masters in Computation & Design at the University of East London, UK, and then a Masters in Façade Engineering at the University of Bath, UK, where he is also currently pursuing a PhD in Design Innovation.
Abdulmajid expressed his desire to work for Ramboll as the company allows the freedom to promote and practice out-of-the-box thinking and has offered him the opportunity to assemble a team of talented and like-minded individuals that enjoy doing research and development in collaboration with other disciplines in order to design and deliver innovative solutions.
One of Abdulmajid’s most recent achievements includes the initiation of the Ramboll Innovative Design (iD). iD’s design philosophy revolves around fusing the principles of the various disciplines and related sciences to develop context inspired solutions that respond to the dynamic nature of end-users, environment and market.
The group’s uniting approach to innovation and integration draws design inspiration from nature using algorithmic thinking and computation. This involves collaboration with business partners to prototype, test and validate new solutions. The group includes designers, engineers, and researchers from various backgrounds working under the umbrella of one team.
While the birth place of iD is Dubai, it is anticipated to grow by inviting Ramboll’s like-minded talents from all offices to participate in programmes and competitions. The department is envisioned to become global where its focus can shift locations depending on market demands and forecasts until its philosophy and culture is spread throughout Ramboll. Its unique dimension distinguishes Ramboll from its competitors and assists the organization in becoming a major inspiration for talented professionals and subsequently quality clients.
iD is currently focusing on developing multifunctional integrated solutions like merging structure and envelope into a ‘structural envelope’ or merging between MEP and envelope into a ‘mechanical envelope’.
“We are also exploring options to develop innovative solutions using simple low-tech methods to reduce cost and complexity whilst improving design, performance, and quality,” Abdulmajid says “I aspire to see my team growing a culture of collaborative and innovative thinking that can spread across other Ramboll offices so that iD can become global.”
A highlight in Abdulmajid’s career has been designing the competition winning scheme of Al-Bahr Towers in collaboration with Arup and spearheading the project team towards completion of the project. The building won Best Innovation 2012 offered by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and was included in the list of Best Innovations 2012 by Time Magazine for its standout dynamic facade that adapts to the movement of the sun. The Al-Bahr Towers has also been covered by major media outlets like Discovery Channel, CNN, and the BBC and has been presented at major conferences and seminars worldwide.
Abdulmajid has authored numerous papers addressing systems innovation and technology integration in the AEC industry. His work is taught as case studies at leading academic and research institutes like Harvard GSD, Columbia University, MIT, the University College London, TU-Delft, and the University of Bath where Abdulmajid is invited on a regular basis as a visiting lecturer and consultant.