Building Jordan: Dar Al-Omran

This feature is part of a series highlighting the most prominent engineering and design consultancy firms with headquarters in Jordan or that have a significant presence in the Kingdom.

 

Dar Al-Omran

Founded: 1979

CEO: Anas Sinno

Employees: Approximately 500

Offices: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, UAE, Iraq, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Ethiopia, and Sudan

Founded in 1979 by renowned architect Rasem Badran and civil engineer Laith Shubeilat, Dar Al-Omran has grown to become one of Jordan’s leading multidisciplinary building design and consultancy firms, and one which strives to infuse its projects with the cultural heritage of the surrounding environment.

Badran’s style of architecture aims at reaching intimacy and identity through a reinterpretation of each single project he designs. “In my work, I aim at reaching a narrative that evolves over time,” Badran told Venture. “If I understand that this is not possible a priori, I would not even start working on a project.”

Born in Ramallah, Badran started experimenting as a child with different artistic materials in his father’s atelier. Badran watched him renovate Roman mosaics in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque’s dome following a devastating fire in the 1960s. This would prove to have a lasting impact on his architectural style. “As a part of our consumption-oriented culture, many of the buildings erected today have an expiry date. This is the strength of Dar Al-Omran: our buildings [last in time],” he said.

The firm’s headquarters are in Amman with two separate offices responsible for the architectural and engineering plans, and infrastructure projects respectively. The firm is currently undertaking projects across 18 countries.

Dar Al-Omran’s CEO Anas Sinno said Saudi Arabia is his firm’s largest market, with the kingdom’s huge government-backed development projects providing plenty of business opportunities. Dar-Al Omran’s presence in Saudi Arabia dates back to 1984 when the Riyadh Development Authority invited Badran to take part in a competition for the chance to design downtown Riyadh and its mosque. “I immediately fell in love with the area and nature surrounding the site. I pitched an idea for the mosque and then we started working on the project for seven years,” he said. The completed project cost $50 million and covered an area of 30,000 square meters.

Despite regional instability, Dar-Al Omran is still managing to expand its operations and staff throughout the region. “Every project is a new chance for us to interact with the client to have him appreciate our architecture and concept of space. It is not a buying and selling relationship but something that we live through together throughout the designing phase. This is Dar-Al Omran’s key to success,” Sinno said.

A hospital and four colleges at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province of Al-Asha currently make up Dar Al-Omran’s largest design project. On the construction side, the new Ministry of Hajj in Mecca is the firm’s grandest undertaking.

In Jordan, Dar Al-Omran is partnering with the Cairo-based Amer Group to develop Porto Dead Sea, one of the largest tourism and entertainment projects in the region, worth JD800 million. “We just concluded the first phase of the project consisting of a hotel and apartments on the seashore. The next step will be the construction of a mall on the hill overlooking the Dead Sea, followed by more apartments and infrastructure,” Sinno said.

The Ministry of Health also commissioned Dar Al-Omran to design Irbid’s new Princess Basma Hospital, a 400-bed facility expandable to 600. The Jordanian government has recently started financing new public projects as a result of the Gulf state’s $5 billion financial aid.

On the other hand, Jordan’s private sector is extremely wary to invest in new projects in the Kingdom due to the unstable political situation in neighboring countries, Sinno said. However, these countries will be in dire need of reconstruction in the future, thus offering a good chance for Jordanian companies to operate there due to their know-how and common cultural background.

 

PROJECTS:

 

The Grand Mosque – Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

Movenpick Hotel Petra, Jordan

Abu Obayda Mosque – Jordan Valley, Jordan 

King Abdul Aziz historic center – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

Sidon Sea Front Development Master Plan – Sidon, Lebanon 

Burj Bulayla – Tripoli, Libya

Feheheel Water Front Development – Feheheel, Kuwait 

Al-Shameyah district development – Makkah, Saudi Arabia 

Al Manshar Rotana Hotel – Feheheel, Kuwait

Ministry of Hajj – Mecca, Saudi Arabia

German Jordanian University – Madaba, Jordan 

Sana’a University Educational Hospital – Sana’a, Yemen

Heart of Sharjah – Sharjah, UAE

King Abdullah II Park – Amman, Jordan 

 

Articles in the series of the engineering and design firms shaping Jordan:

AJ Group

Consolidated Consultants Group

Dar Al-Handasah

Dar Al-Omran

SIGMA

Engicon

Associated Consulting Engineers (ACE)