Siblings and scribblings – the early years
I was born in Libya, and grew up in Benghazi amid a large family with seven sisters and four brothers, my parents, my aunt and grandmother, living in the same house, so there was always lots of noise, and hustle and bustle. As a boy, as now, I loved books and the way they allowed me to use my imagination, so I was always sloping off somewhere quiet to read, and when I wasn’t reading I was drawing, scribbling and sketching down the ideas in my head. I think it was these early pastimes which shaped both my personality and my career, because when I discovered architecture in my teens, I was fascinated. At last I’d found something which combined my love and developing skill at drawing, with an excuse to read and study in peace!
Studying and starting work
I went to Benghazi University, completing a five year BSc degree in 1996. The route to becoming an architect in Libya is slightly different from the UK. In Libya we do a 5 year degree course, followed by on the job training in a commercial environment. In the UK it’s a three year degree which is Part 1, then a Masters which is Part 2, then a further post graduate exam which is Part 3, and in the UK course content varies quite widely too. My degree covered many topics including, architectural design, history of architecture,, surveying, material strength and use, construction techniques, and much more.
After graduating, I began work for local Government, but soon moved to a private practice in Benghazi, which is where I really began to hone my skills. I worked on all sorts of projects, from large public buildings, through to private houses and villas of many shapes and sizes. Then in 2003 the opportunity arose to work for a major practice in Dubai, and I spent the next five years in UAE, working on some fantastic projects in some of their most iconic buildings.
In 2008 I returned to Libya, and a year later joined Memar International Consultancy in Tripoli as a partner, which is where I stayed for nearly five years. I then used my experience to help people who had been made homeless because of the revolution, working for a not for profit housing association, as well as doing voluntary work.
Moving to the UK
I had long wanted to travel to the UK to study and broaden my professional experience, and in 2014 I arrived in Sheffield having enrolled for an English Language MSc in Technical Architecture at Hallam University. I then worked in Birmingham for nearly 2 years, on a variety of projects including loft conversions and house extensions, all of which gave me valuable experience of the UK market, and British architectural styles. My original plan had been to move back to Libya, but a combination of events led me and my family to make our permanent home here in Sheffield, and the longer we’re here, the more we’re enjoying it.
Please click on the video clip below to see my Portfolio