Spotlight – Priya Mrinal

Principal Priya Mrinal is the perfect fit for her role as Delivery Stream Leader for Woods Bagot’s studios in the Middle East. With an architectural career spanning over 18 years, Priya has proven success leading teams and making simple work of complicated projects – practicing in India as well as the United Arab Emirates.

A valued member of Woods Bagot’s Dubai studio for over ten years, Priya’s excellent communication and management skills are second to none. During this time Priya has led and delivered some of the location’s most significant built projects in the region including Index Tower, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Bluewaters Island Retail District and Uptown tower.

Jumeirah Al Naseem

You have led and delivered some of W-B Dubai’s most significant projects, including Index Tower, Jumeirah Al Naseem and Bluewaters, what do you think has defined architecture in the city during the 10+ years you’ve been working at W-B?

Architecture in Dubai reflects the extremely fast-paced and optimistic character of the city and its inhabitants. The city as we know it was literally built from scratch in the last 20 years, quickly earning its reputation for glamour, industry and – of course – incredible nightlife. Rather than being defined by a particular style, Architecture in Dubai is set apart by its incredibly quick pace. It’s architecture in the fast lane.

Architecture at this pace comes with its share of challenges, especially when design and construction timeline expectations are reduced to unprecedented durations – which is not uncommon in a city that that’s always pushing the realm of possibility! The positive take away is that the experience you gain also follows a pace which you cannot expect in the normal career trajectory of an architect working in other parts of the world, especially in the initial years of a career. How likely is it that every project you design or work on gets built? In Dubai, the answer is almost every project!

I consider myself very lucky to have delivered some of the iconic projects in the city and contribute to the city’s dazzling skyline.

“How likely is it that every project you design or work on gets built? In Dubai, the answer is almost every project!”

Alongside architecture, you’ve specialized in project management and delivery. How does this impact the way you approach project work?

A successful project happens when all its aspects – design, management, and delivery – work together. Specialising in project management and delivery has allowed me to follow my natural inclination to work with a “hands on” approach which, in turn, helps me to understand my teams’ skill sets and capabilities – a key tool in project management. With the right team and continuously monitored project progress, I know how to ensure efficiency.

In a part of the world where timescales can be extremely crunched, my project management and delivery experience helps me to combat the challenges that come with achieving great design and documentation under the pressures of a fast time frame. I know the difference between what’s only perceived as time saving on paper and what will actually have a positive impact on the project delivery lifecycle.

Uptown Tower (under construction)

Bluewaters Island Retail District

“I know the difference between what’s only perceived as time saving on paper and what will actually have a positive impact on the project delivery lifecycle.”

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in construction?

My advice may sound a bit old fashioned, but I’d say that there is no short cut to success and no substitute to hard work and perseverance. The construction industry is a challenging place, for men and women alike, and it’s important to train your mind for a resilient approach.

Because Woods Bagot Dubai collaborates with the local universities and offers internships and graduate programs, I know that the passion and ability in the future talent pool is incredibly impressive. I hope that I’ll be able to continue to nurture and inspire the next generation of architects and interior designers through these connections.

Why are the Woods Bagot touchstones of ‘Technical Innovation’ and ‘Efficiency in Design’ important?

Efficiency is key in design and delivery. Efficient design is the starting point and everything else, including documentation and construction, will fall on track once it’s achieved. Technical innovation is a prime tool for assuring efficiency in the design and documentation stages, it’s an area that we’re constantly improving upon locally and in global focus groups.

La Vie Tower is a good example of when Woods Bagot were able to deliver a successful product through a commitment to both touchstones. Located on a fantastic beach front site in the heart of JBR, La Vie is a residential project that required the team to work within the constraints of a tight budget from the onset – an efficient design was the prime requirement because of these constraints. Woods Bagot used technical tools and efficient Rhino to Revit workflows to efficiently manage design updates throughout the project’s life cycle. Thanks to this approach, La Vie was extremely successful – selling out completely in 2019.

La Vie Tower

Talk to Priya Mrinal about Spotlight – Priya Mrinal