Mohammed Mushaikh looking into the camera.

Gensler Voices: Mohammed Mushaikh on Perseverance in Pursuit of Your Goals

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with Gensler architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that design and architecture can have on our communities and the human experience. Here, we sit down with Mohammed Mushaikh, designer, Gensler Riyadh:

How can architecture and design make space that’s inclusive for everyone?

From the Great Pyramids to the Roman Colosseum, to the Industrial Revolution, to Bauhaus and the Modern Movement; architecture focuses on pushing concept, construction, and overall boundaries of the practice, which reflects and eventually provokes social change. Currently, with the increased importance of efficiency, economy, and social aspects to both architecture and urban fields, architects and designers are transforming into problem solvers and service providers who seek to accommodate a project’s various constraints while leveraging its unique opportunities. Due to this focus, architects and designers aspire to understand client and user needs and take an approach that caters to human-centric design, which in turn creates inclusivity.

How do diverse backgrounds and experiences make Gensler a better design firm?

Globalization evolved throughout history (think trade routes and human migration) but has been expedited through technological advancement and opportunity. Architects are now creating buildings all over the globe and in countries and cities foreign to their culture and place of work. Gensler, initially driven by national and then international expansion, excels thanks to its borderless firm principle of a worldwide network — becoming truly global by being exceptionally local; thus, offering the best expertise and cultural understanding needed to each project — regardless of location — to achieve the most suitable outcomes and hence success.

If you could impart any piece of advice to individuals beginning their design career, what would it be?

I recall my early years during my BFA at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia, USA where many of my colleague were both understanding and developing their architectural skills faster than I was. It was intimidating, which of course created self-doubt. However, it’s important to learn from people who are ahead of you, understand your personal strengths and weaknesses, and lastly set targets to grow your skills slowly yet methodically.

Remember, no one comes in as a finished expert, but anyone could become a master of their field with both effort and time. If you plan for success, you will achieve it.

What do you think are the most important skills to succeed in architecture?

Perseverance! This word embodies many aspects within it:

  • It incorporates Passion, which if not present, would mean a lack of cause.
  • Effort, which is the sacrifice of time in order to submerge yourself in learning, understanding, and developing your skillset.
  • Stubbornness: Keep the course… push… and one day you will reach your goals!

What’s life at Gensler like?

Gensler has been a breath of fresh air. A place where I expected to find a relatively corporate environment, but what I did find was a welcoming, diverse, family collective, driven by pushing their personal and collective boundaries towards achieving successful projects that exceed their stakeholder’s expectation and add value to both their community and users. Here at Gensler, diversity, inclusion, responsibility, and collaboration drive projects towards success and that only added to my determination for a long-term career with Gensler.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Throughout my young career, I have experienced both sides of the coin where larger corporate firms were too structured and resistant to change, and smaller firms were too individualistic and perhaps haphazardly managed. For life at Gensler, I found a well-structured and future-oriented firm that supports and embraces empowerment and improvement; joining this great company has been the best decision I have made to this date. As a young Saudi architect witnessing the transformative and prosperous times Saudi Arabia is going through, my passion was and is to get the chance to work and help in realizing my country’s vision and future targets.

Gensler makes this possible by being the world’s biggest and most innovative firm that offers the opportunity to contribute to the biggest and most ambitious projects around the world.

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