Hani Rashid in conversation with Brian Kenet
The word architect doesn’t quite capture Hani Rashid. The founder and principal, along with partner Lise Anne Couture, of Asymptote Architecture, Rashid prefers to think of himself as a “spatial engineer.” What can be said with certainty is that Rashid is as much an artist as an architect, and by venturing to truly understand what makes his clients tick, he’s forging new ground for his profession—whatever its name.
The Yas Marina Formula One racetrack, home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, passes around and under the Yas Hotel.
Hani Rashid on the evolution of the architect
In those days, it was very different, architects had a kind of hierarchical role, they were respected in that role, one would just accept what an important architect would tell them, but things have shifted and we have to find a way to get in the court together.
Hani Rashid on balancing objectives
On the one hand, it all sounds very nice, my romantic view of extracting DNA and working with the city and trying to be sensitive. On the other side of that—and this is what’s interesting—the city is a brand and that needs to be understood.
Inside the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi, designed by Asymptote Architecture.
Hani Rashid on working with clients
I have to hand it to them, if I look back, I would say it’s great working with clients like that, but at the time, it was painful.
Asymptote was commissioned to design a physical command center to compliment their pioneering design of a virtual reality trading floor for the New York Stock Exchange.
Hani Rashid on product design
But the lesson there is, it’s not just the aesthetics. It’s the performance. It’s the harmonic resonance between those various parts of the puzzle, the aesthetics, the technology, and the brand identity. We recognize that.
Asymptote's proposal for BMW.
Hani Rashid on the goal of the architect
In our world, we are trying to figure out how to meld that confluence where the client’s identity, their trajectory, their performance, their offering, and their aesthetic outcome come together. And it’s really important, and that’s why it’s interesting that a branding magazine would talk to designers about this, because that’s what we have to do and figure out.