Designing the future

Killa Design

Killa Design prides itself on innovation and sustainability, challenging architectural norms and creating one-of-a-kind projects for its clients

Looking out of his office window onto the bright and shiny city skyline, Shaun Killa reflects on his 25-year architecture career. From small-scale offices, to high-rise buildings and entire masterplans, Shaun has dedicated his heart and soul into his designs, ensuring that each project has a sustainable foundation and develops beyond the client’s expectations.

During his time as Director of Architecture at Atkins Middle East, Shaun worked on several high-rise commissions such as the Bahrain World Trade Centre, the world’s first large-scale integration of wind turbines into a building, which contributed to the green building movement in the Middle East. When Shaun decided to form Killa Design in 2015, he had one main goal: to create a family of talented individuals from all over the world, with interdisciplinary skills and commitment to design excellence, and a passion to challenge the way that society perceives architecture.

“Tearing down the typical hierarchy found in corporations, Killa Design became a place which encouraged expression of ideas and innovation in design, creating design solutions which combine art and engineering,” says Shaun. “The associates in the office mentor the future leaders by giving each member equal opportunities to lead a project. The office also provides workshops to educate and inspire the client to strive for better urban environments, and to help the staff stay up to date with the latest technological advances, trends and challenges for cities, buildings and urbanscape.”

Killa Design’s signature projects include the world’s first occupied 3D-printed Office of the Future and the wind-generated LEED Platinum SRG Tower in Dubai to the opulent Namaste W Hotel in Mumbai. But it is the Museum of the Future – winner of an AEC Excellence Award and a TEKLA BIM Award – that has pushed the team to design beyond their imagination and challenge the limits of engineering. Located in the heart of Dubai’s financial district, the museum will serve as a permanent home for the world’s greatest innovations, futuristic ideologies and technologies, bringing together inventors, designers and researchers from across the globe. Apart from being an iconic structure, it will also provide a platform for specialized workshops, scientific research, conferences and prototype testing, along with experimental gastronomical experiences.

“The design of the Museum of the Future comprises three main elements: green hill, building and void,” explains Shaun. “First, we created the green hill, which represents earth with its roots in place, time and history. This helped lift the building above the metro line, providing uninterrupted views. Next, we created a futuristic building to represent mankind, with its strength and ability to create harmony with the surroundings. This bold shape emerges from the hill, displaying mankind’s passion for the arts and creating. Finally, the elliptical void within the upper structure represents the unwritten future which we do not know.”

The building has strong ties to the ruler of Dubai. “It is important for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that the UAE is always pushing forward,” says Shaun. “The museum features intricate windows integrated with the façade system, designed in the form of Arabic calligraphy based on HH Sheikh Mohammed’s poem about his future vision for the region and the world. When a visitor is standing inside the museum looking out, they are looking through the words that helped create the project and the surrounding city. The use of calligraphy gives the building a send of place and identity – creating a strong contextual binding to the land.”