ABOUT

Our Story

tangram Group is a UK based practice that is architect-led, with regional studios in London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Cairo , Algeria and Hong Kong from where we work across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

We offer multi-disciplinary services for urban design, architecture, interior design, landscape design, civil and structural engineering, building services engineering, cost control, project management and supervision of site works.

Our project sectors vary from the city and regional scale, to community defining public spaces, buildings and interiors, delivering tomorrows architecture, today.

Group Leaders

Sandra Woodall

Design Director
FRIBA, FRSA, AoU

Hamdi M. Mahmoud

CEO
GDip(Hons) Arch MA(Urban Design) , RIBA

Sandra Woodall
Sandra Woodall
Design Director
FRIBA, FRSAAoU

A passionate environmentalist, architect, urbanist, researcher, and mentor, Sandra has lived and worked in the UAE for over 25 years. She leads tangramGulf’s MENA region studio, the “2019 – Middle East Architecture Firm of the Year” by Middle East Economic Digest, and recipient of many notable accolades including six international sustainable design awards for five different projects in four years. In 2016 she became the 30th Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 30 years and the very first one from the Gulf region, she also is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Academician at the UK’s Academy of Urbanism, and the RIBA Regional Ambassador for sustainability, promoting and developing British design and education skills internationally.

A passionate environmentalist, architect, urbanist, researcher, and mentor, Sandra has lived and worked in the UAE for over 25 years. She leads tangramGulf’s MENA region studio, the “2019 – Middle East Architecture Firm of the Year” by Middle East Economic Digest, and recipient of many notable accolades including six international sustainable design awards for five different projects in four years. In 2016 she became the 30th Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 30 years and the very first one from the Gulf region, she also is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Academician at the UK’s Academy of Urbanism, and the RIBA Regional Ambassador for sustainability, promoting and developing British design and education skills internationally.

 

Sandra moved to the UAE from the UK in the mid-1990s to work on the analysis, review, and development of the Al Ain City master plan, which had been implemented five years earlier, igniting a lifelong commitment to broadening an understanding of desert urbanism and the delivery of regionally significant schemes that respect and respond to local climatic, environmental, cultural, social, and economic sustainability needs. Her subsequent project work spans from the usage of traditional materials and methods of construction in the regeneration and development of the historic Arts and Heritage Area of Sharjah, delivering one of the very last new-build projects in the UAE following traditional coral stone and timber construction techniques and practices, in the 1990’s; the first green-roofed Government building in Dubai in the 2000’s, part of the development and introduction of the Green Building Regulations and Specifications; a state-of-the-art campus of support facilities for the Emirates Nuclear Energy Programme in Abu Dhabi designed using the principles of traditional desert urbanism, in the 2010’s. And today, on site in North Africa we have a Woman and Children’s cancer hospital which will be home to the country’s first ever stem cell transplant unit. Here the wards for children with long and isolated recovery from transplants are designed to be embedded in a Winter Garden to promote the benefits of harnessing nature as a therapeutic healing environment.

 

In 2021, after decades of recognition in a career driving sustainable strategies and climatic responsive solutions Sandra co-founded the RIBA GCC Sustainability Group through which she co-produces, co-curates, and co-hosts the ongoing Sustainability Development Series, sharing awareness, knowledge, skills, and tools with built environment professionals across the GCC, and beyond. Showcasing projects, processes and strategies that will help us all meet the challenges faced in delivering a regional route to realise the decarbonisation targets of the Gulf States as they address their commitments to the UN’s SDGs. In June 2021, she was elected by RIBA Chartered members across the region to be the UAE Country Representative on the RIBA’s Gulf Chapter Committee, to represent the needs and interests of the Chapter’s largest contingent of chartered members.

 

In 2022, Sandra founded tangramTERRA our sustainability division to highlight sustainability case-studies from her generation of work on regionally significant programmes, and to offer a resource centre for the open access to key regional and global agreements, guides, toolkits etc. for public access and use. And led the opening of our new studio, tangramMETA from where she is designing a “Hospital of the Future” prototype utilising AI, Sandra proposes designs for a hospital without walls, using advanced technologies as an exponent of sustainability, decentralising non-clinical patient, education and training spaces and locates them in the Metaverse. Designed to achieve a radical reduction in carbon, energy, water, and waste footprints, of costly physical construction.

 

Sandra is a true professional and mentor to all in the studio, and beyond. She is a long-standing mentor with Women’s Foundations, the University of Greenwich School of Design, and a founding mentor at the University Women’s Club in London. She is a visiting lecturer at schools of architecture worldwide, and devised and delivers the inaugural “sustainable design” programme for students at De Montfort University’s Dubai Campus.

Hamdi M. Mahmoud
Hamdi M. Mahmoud
CEO
GDip(Hons) Arch MA(Urban Design) , RIBA

Hamdi studied architecture and urbanism in the UK, he is a chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and joined UK design consultancy tangram architects and designers as Regional Director in September 2002 with the aim to establish the Middle East regional office in the United Arab Emirates. This Dubai studio later became one of the very first RIBA accredited International Chartered practices.

To increase control of project quality and work programmes, Hamdi’s first executive decision was to bring on board in-house engineering and building services teams which has successfully led the growth of tangram from an architectural practice to a fully multi-disciplinary design, project management and site supervision consultancy. This initial growth outstripped anything that had been projected and he was promoted to Managing Director of the global company in 2004.

 

The successful integration of engineering, infrastructure, cost and project management services along with geographic expansion of offices across the MENA Region and into Asia have all been attributed to Hamdi’s vision of providing the highest level of seamless service at the local level where our projects are delivered. His commitment to engaging clients personally throughout the entire project life-cycle and beyond have enabled an uninterrupted and seamless transition from development feasibility through design, procurement, construction and operations stages. Hamdi strongly believes in Patience, Persistence and Presence.

Through the formation of a number of Tangram Group companies, he has led the opening, staffing and operations of seven tangram offices across the region, most recently steering development into North Africa, into Cairo and Algiers where tangram have become the first British architectural practice to open a permanent and registered office in the country.  

With Hamdi at the helm, today tangram have offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Cairo, Algiers, London and the Metaverse when Hamdi launched our innovation and advanced technology group tangramMETA, formed to harness the potential of digital and virtual technologies as an exponent of environmentally conscious sustainable design. Centralising digital cloud technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), we deliver spaces for our clients located in the Metaverse.

 

Bringing a new green strategy to the built environment that will make us more agile as we all help drive systemic change to deliver environmental security and a smart and resilient future for our buildings and cities of tomorrow.