Sep. 6, 2016

Tarek Shuaib


Tarek Shuaib

Managing Partner, Pace Architecture Engineering and Planning

"I and Pace are extremely proud to be involved in the two largest viaduct projects underway in the Middle East."


Managing Partner at Pace Architecture Engineering and Planning since 2005, Tarek Shuaib has led the firm to its position today as a leading architecturally led multi-disciplinary practice, serving Kuwait, the wider Middle East, and Africa Over his many years in design and architecture, Shuaib has been actively involved in the delivery of a host of high-profile, successful projects, the most recent of which include the Jahra Road Development Project, Jamal Abdul Nasser Highway, Arraya Center, The Avenues Mall, Kuwait Business Town, Central Bank of Kuwait, College of Basic Education, Kuwait International Tennis Complex, and Subiya Road.

What design philosophy informs your work in Kuwait, and how do you approach the design of a project?

Each and every project Pace undertakes follows five key principles of working, reflecting my own values and mission, so to speak. These values underpin everything we do at Pace, and reflect also the way I wish us to work with our clients. They are: creativity, adaptability, efficiency, absolute professionalism, and integrity. This is what we at Pace believe in, and deliver. The design process and our philosophy are based on collaboration among ourselves internally, the architects and engineers and other partner disciplines, and with our clients in response to their and the country's needs and environmental considerations. These are the precursors to how we start our design process. Our aim is simple: deliver outstanding results to our clients, whether working on a building, a road, or a masterplan for a whole new residential community. To achieve that outcome, it is crucial that our various specialist teams at Pace work extremely closely with our clients, from brief to concept to breaking ground, to completion and handover. In this way we can ensure our clients get the best return on what is a significant investment. Any design that has the name Pace associated with it must above all else be to our exacting Pace standards.

You are involved in several road projects. How do you plan to meet the growing infrastructure needs of Kuwait?

I and Pace are extremely proud to be involved in the two largest viaduct projects underway in the Middle East, if not the world. We have worked well with Louis Berger, designing and supervising construction of both Jahra Road and Jamal Abdul Nasser Street, both of which are still under construction, and on schedule, I might add. I see collaboration such as this—with designers and leading architects from around the globe—as being an essential way of delivering the best possible outcomes for the state and our people in the future. And I want to remain in the vanguard of that collaborative way of working. For us and the MPW, our client, 2016 is a key year. We have started delivering the first part of the Jahra Road project. Pace leads the road engineering and construction market in Kuwait. It is great that these projects are progressing well as there are major traffic issues in the country that still need to be resolved. But we are also delivering infrastructure projects outside of Kuwait. Indeed, of the 40% of our business that is in infrastructure, we are glad to say that includes projects in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. And we are very pleased with our work in Africa, where we are successfully building strong and rewarding relationships with international development agencies operating in the continent. Through our different projects in that region, we strive to be trusted partners, supporting developing and emerging nations in their development plans. To reflect this increasing activity, in 2015 we appointed a Head of Infrastructure dedicated to this one sector. But it is important to say that our infrastructure capability goes further than roads. In Riyadh we are working on Metro Line Three, where we are successfully applying our experience learnt from our projects in Kuwait. The metro project presents a fresh challenge that will enhance our portfolio. Of course we are also looking to the future, and looking toward 2020 we have set a strategy that includes planned entry into a number of new countries. We know we are going to engage certain countries at a specific time, but we have to know what is in that market. And I say again, when we look for these new opportunities and territories, it is not just about infrastructure. Pace want to deliver the whole portfolio of skills we have to each market, when the time and the economic climate and competitive conditions are right. We wanted to establish in Saudi Arabia, so we went, because we identified a need for the quality that Pace brings to projects. Paramount in all we do—in all our projects, for all our clients—is a proper and correct balance between buildings and infrastructure, with continued focus on the built environment as a whole. We will maintain that approach for each market we work in, as we have always done here in Kuwait. So to build upon our presence in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, we are realistically aiming to expand to the UAE by 2017.

What are your expectations for 2016?

As an optimist, I expect our volume of work to increase. We have a good pipeline, so I anticipate a progressive year ahead. I cannot see the future; it is impossible for me to say how many potential projects will be released for tender. But I am very confident that we can maintain our market position and look forward to expand. Our optimism is well founded, I feel, and is reflected by our ongoing projects. In Kuwait, The Avenues Phase 4 will open, adding a further 100,000 sqm of prime retail and leisure space to an expectant and hungry market. In 2017, the Jahra Road should be complete and handed over. Jamal Abdul Nasser Street will be mostly handed over, other than one section. Those three projects alone constitute $2.5 billion worth of projects that will be handed over in 2017. We are the only architecture and engineering firm that has worked for all the blue chip real estate developers in Kuwait. We are proud that we've have been working with many of our clients for more than 25 years, so we must be doing something right! It is the strength of these relationships that allows us to learn from each other and that is what keeps the team fresh.

What do you consider to be the most important change your company will implement in the medium term?

Our medium term vision is not purely exclusive to Pace establishing new territories. We as a firm recognize and respond to global economic challenges and market advances. Our strategy has mapped clear objectives in order to position Pace tactically in the market. We consistently recognize the need to develop our existing and prospective client base, both here and internationally. To achieve this we continually seek to bring to our market, to our clients, and to Kuwait fresh vision and creative thinking, smart use of the best in IT where it can deliver benefits, and innovative and efficient delivery and construction techniques. I want Pace to be properly recognized as a thought leader in the region, in all that our practice can deliver. An element of this leans toward technological enhancements, along with environmental awareness, both of which we embrace in order to deliver greater creativity, thus delivering better outcomes. So, short, medium, or long term, our goals are the same. We must evolve at the same rate as our clients and at the same rate as their customers. We must embrace cutting-edge technology, as I believe it can catalyze the transformation we will need to make to ensure Pace delivers on its strategy. Effectively managing this degree of change, and the new working practices that will result, will place demands upon me as a leader and all Pace management and colleagues to adapt. I am confident we will achieve our vision, and I look forward to its realization.