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In Conversation with Lama Almofadhi: Cultivating Cultural Awareness and Stakeholder Relationships in Saudi Arabia's Real Estate Sector

Article-In Conversation with Lama Almofadhi: Cultivating Cultural Awareness and Stakeholder Relationships in Saudi Arabia's Real Estate Sector

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In this interview, Lama Almofadhi, Architect, GIGA Project Development department, Public Investment Fund Projects explores the essential skills, stakeholder relationships, and opportunities presented by Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 in the real estate sector.


Q. As an architect at PIF, what are the key skills and qualities necessary to succeed in this industry?

I believe that key skills and qualities include dedication, collaborative skills and perseverance. Collaborative skills are particularly important for architects given the need to coordinate with a diverse range of stakeholders. They can be demonstrated by being flexible and adaptable, respectful and considerate of others, willing to compromise for the benefit of the team and recognizing the value of each person's unique skills and contributions. Being agile in our thinking and demonstrating perseverance is also crucial as projects often take a long time to complete and require a great deal of patience and persistence. It’s also important to prioritize taking time off to unplug and recharge. This industry can be fast-paced and demanding, and setting aside time to rest and rejuvenate has a positive impact on our creativity and work-life balance.

Q.  From a B2B perspective, how crucial is building and maintaining strong relationships with developers, investors, and other industry stakeholders?

The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry relies heavily on collaboration, and maintaining positive relationships can help architects and other professionals secure future projects as well as build a strong reputation in the field. Establishing good relationships with key decision-makers like developers and investors can lead to a greater understanding of their needs and interests. Similarly, other industry stakeholders, such as contractors, suppliers, and regulators, play important roles in the construction process and can provide valuable insights for architects. Strong relationships with these stakeholders can facilitate communication and knowledge-sharing, ultimately leading to better project outcomes. I strongly believe that building and maintaining positive relationships with AEC professionals is essential for architects who want to succeed in the B2B space.

Q. Can you share some valuable lessons or success stories from your own career in Saudi Arabia?

Having worked closely with international consultants, I have recognized the importance of cultural awareness in project curation to drive it forward. A deep understanding of the local culture and customs is necessary to create buildings and spaces that meet the needs and preferences of the local community. Being culturally aware is extremely crucial in KSA where cultural roots are deep-seated, and many people of diverse backgrounds interact and work together. It helps us understand and respect differences in values, beliefs, and customs, and helps us build stronger relationships and trust to achieve better project outcomes and mitigate risk.


Q. Can you shed light on the impact of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 on the real estate industry and the opportunities it presents?

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and its realization programs present significant opportunities for the real estate industry in Saudi Arabia. Investment in the industry, increasing demand for affordable housing, promoting sustainable development, increasing home ownership, the growth of tourism, and the government's digitization drive sets the real estate industry on track to transform and grow significantly. Therefore, individuals, developers, and investors should seize this opportunity to participate in and contribute to the country's ambitious plan.


Q. What specific aspects of Saudi Arabian culture, society, or business environment have you found to be particularly influential or inspiring in your real estate career?

I am truly impressed by how the real estate sector in KSA has managed to integrate our rich culture seamlessly into almost all developments and projects. This is reflected in our urban codes and developments, which showcase the traditional Najdi triangles, among other cultural elements from other regions, in our architecture and design. We take great pride in preserving our customs and traditions while still embracing other cultures and promoting diversity. It's remarkable to see how we have managed to strike a balance between tradition and modernity while creating some of the world's most innovative and sustainable real estate projects.

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In this career guide, Reem Abuzeid (Architecture Director at Red Sea Global) and Lama Almofadhi, two accomplished architects, provide invaluable insights into the world of architecture within Saudi Arabia's real estate sector.

They offer their unique perspectives on the profession, shedding light on the local landscape, cultural influences, and the transformative Vision 2030 initiative. Their expertise, experiences, and perspectives offer a comprehensive understanding of the industry's nuances and opportunities.

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