Principal & Founder
Rames NajjarFounder & Principal (Austria)
The Vienna and Beirut based practice Najjar & Najjar was founded in 1999 by Professor Karim Najjar and Professor Rames Najjar, and is renowned for its highly original work. Its designs are not only innovative and visually striking, but also highly functional - inspired by both nature and technologies transferred from various industrial domains.
Activities include designing commercial buildings, residences, bridges, interiors, and furniture. Since 2006, the practice has also been involved in yacht design and won an award for innovative yacht design concepts. The affinity to ship building is tangible throughout their body of work.
The architect’s interdisciplinary design approach and their research in different fields as buoyant and kinetic structures give the architects their specific edge.
The practice has won several prestigious awards and found recognition in a considerable number of magazines, newspapers and books around the globe. Their works was displayed in various acknowledged art galleries and museums in Europe and overseas.
The Architects Karim and Rames Najjar have also been engaged into academic activities where taught studios at all levels. Since 2014 Rames is Professor at the University of Innsbruck / Austria teaching building construction and is involved in different research projects. Currently Karim Najjar is teaching and coordinating the architectural program in the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut.
Santosh Kumar KethamFounder & Principal (India)
Ketham Santosh Kumar a practicing Architect, educator, guest critic and researcher is native of Hyderabad, India. He is the founder and principal of studio Ketham’s Atelier Architects and Thinking Hand non-profit organization.
Since childhood he had considerable dexterity in sketching, painting and sculpting and this artistic disposition motivated him to pursue architecture and design. Natural inclination towards architecture accrued him many awards and rewards, he was thesis topper, secured distinction in Diploma, Bachelors and also in Masters in Architecture from Institute of Architecture (IOA) Universitat fur Angewandte Kunst Wien in Urban Strategies Excessive.
His contemplation for new innovative ideas was appreciated and has resulted in A.T Kearney scholarship, falling lab 2015, for his research project “Breaking the Wall of Blind Mute Deaf” watch and was selected as world’s top 100 innovations of the year in the category of science and technology. He won various international awards such as ICARCH, Zaarour resort, CA2, IIA (The Indian Institute of Architects) AP India and his works were published and exhibited in MAK Museum, Kunstal haus Vienna, Hinterland gallery, Architecture Festival U.A.U.I.M Romania and Vortex Architecture biennale Austria 2017 etc.
His endeavor is to affiliate theories with real world challenges has led him to establish an NGO Thinking Hand, where the effort is to bring innovation for social welfare and empower people through architecture and design such as building housing for neglected communities and involving professionals and students by conducting workshops, lectures and competitions.
His passion and interest in History, Heritage, Philosophy, Theory of Urban design, Landscape and Architecture pursued him to write a book called (3H) Hyderabad History Heritage, Which is in process of documenting more than 500 building in Hyderabad, which are forgotten, and unknown.
His research works “Floating Architecture with design, science and technology for conservation of water, generating sustainable energy and cleaning aqua life for conserving of ecosystem, ecology and environment” and also H126 low cost house project for neglected communities is appreciated and supported by University of Innsbruck, Department of Experimental Architecture. Hochbau and Wasserbau – Hydraulic Engineering.
He had an opportunity to teach in various National and International Design and Architecture Schools and Universities. He is guest critic and visiting faculty at various design schools in JNFAU (Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University) affiliated schools, SPAV (School of Planning and Architecture Vijayawada), NIFT Hyderabad and expert consultant and design critic at University of Innsbruck for the studio project E2- Energy efficient low cost construction India and he was previously invited to deliver a lecture and design critic at University of Innsbruck. Institute for Experimental Architecture, hochbau and also he was invited as juror for ICARCH international competition Austria 2017, invited speaker at JOSH Talks 2018, lecture at IIT-Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad in Design lecture series, Department of Design.
Currently he is a Scientific Associate at 1669 old European University, Institute of Experimental Architecture, Hochbau – Buoyant Energy and Architecture, University of Innsbruck – 2019.
“If we fail to design good buildings, it effects next three generations… And if we fail to do good planning, it effects next hundred generations……..”