MUSCAT: The AIA Middle East Chapter members gathered in the Sultanate of Oman for the conference on the theme ‘Sultanate of Oman: A Canvas Untouched.’

The conference explored Oman’s path to accomplishing successful adaptive reuse of heritage sites and an architecture that is not only iconic but reactive to nature and/or inspired by nature and fully conscious and respective of its context.

The official first day of the conference, on December 8th, was inaugurated by the honourable patron, Her Highness Sayyidah Meyyan bint Shihab bin Tarik al Said, who has an immense background in practising design and design management.

At the conference’s opening, the chief guest, HH Sayyidah Meyyan bint Shibab al Said, said, “I would like to begin this conference by highlighting the importance of built environments on our well-being, culture, and our infrastructure and our sense of place. We have a great responsibility as designers to withhold the dignity of the places we shape and mould.”

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) was founded in 1857 by 13 architects. The national office is headquartered in Washington, DC, with more than 200 chapters worldwide.

AIA Middle East (AIA ME), a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was established in 2010 to serve the professional interests of the growing number of AIA member architects practising in the Middle East and North African region (MENA). When it was formed, it was the fifth international chapter of the AIA, and in just this short period of time has grown to become the largest international chapter, with over 400 members. The American Institute of Architects members create a community to share knowledge and advocate a shared vision to positively impact the direction of the profession, the shape of our neighbourhoods, and our world.

The domain of this chapter includes 16 countries in the MENA region comprising of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. The administrative headquarters of the chapter is located at Abu Dhabi, with regional representatives in the member countries.