September 16, 2014

HKS Inc., a top-five architectural firm celebrating 75 years in business, is expanding its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the addition of Ala Hason, vice president and MENA director of business development and Simon Thomas, vice president and healthcare practice leader,

The HKS Abu Dhabi office, located in the Al Bateen Tower in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, opened in 2008. The practice serves clients in the region with full-service architectural, interior design and planning services, focusing on healthcare, sports, hospitality, education, mixed-use, commercial and urban planning.

More about HKS in MENA

“MENA is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world,” said Craig Beale, director of HKS’ international practice. “We are excited to continue to be a part of such a dynamic environment with the addition of Ala and Simon.  HKS brings experience and creative design solutions to a diverse portfolio of projects.  We also are internationally recognized for our design quality, project management capabilities, quality control, LEED expertise and international building code knowledge – which adds significant value to our clients’ investment.”

The firm has more than $1 billion in work currently underway in the MENA region – including 15 projects under design – totaling more than 1.8 million square meters. Projects include offices, luxury hotels and resorts, a convention center, sports facilities and master planning.

Recent area projects include the five-star luxury Danat al Emarat Women and Children’s Hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Ritz Reserve Fort Hotel in Muscat, Oman; King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, Jordan; Four Seasons in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and in Tunis, Tunisia; Heart of Jeddah and King Fahad Medical Center in Saudi Arabia.

Meet the MENA Team

“After attending college in Egypt, I became fascinated by the pyramids and gained a respect for the architecture in the ancient cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt,” said Hason. “Today, I believe a successful project is one that is impacted by local context and heritage. By keeping this in mind, I am determined to continuously learn about a client’s business and how architecture can help them achieve their goals. The possibilities are endless; there is always something new to learn.” 

Hason specializes in planning and urban design, hospitality, office, corporate headquarters and transportation structures as well as higher-education and museum facilities. His influence can be seen around the globe through projects in Kuwait, Syria, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Lebanon and China, as well as several large-scale projects in the U.S. His 34 years of experience, bilingual background in both English and Arabic and his familiarity with the International Business Code (IBC) contribute to his success in delivering world-class architecture to clients throughout the MENA region. His experience includes 26 projects totaling over 14 million square feet in the Middle East and seven projects totaling 21 million square feet in China.

Thomas notes, “I’m always amazed to see the positive effects of hospital construction throughout the world. It impacts communities in the most extreme ways. It changes lives and gives people options they didn’t have before. It also serves as the cornerstone of countries. The international communities continue to make huge leaps in terms of quality of care and quality of facilities. I see this only intensifying in the coming years.”

Thomas has 22 years of professional experience in healthcare planning and design, providing practice leadership and client relationship management.  Prior to joining HKS, he led an international healthcare practice in India. Thomas has worked on a wide range of significant international projects including The Sengkang Hospital in Sengkang District, Singapore; Health Park in Bangalore, India; Women and Children’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Matibabu Clinic and Hospital in Ugenya, Kenya. In the United States, his portfolio includes work with Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Hospital and Clinics and the University of New Mexico.

Thomas and Hason are joined by Abu Dhabi Office Director Mark Kiszonak. He also serves as project manager for select projects in the Middle East. Kiszonak utilizes his impressive multi-disciplinary background to further expand HKS’ design presence in the Middle East and North African market. Having lived and worked in France, Kuwait and Egypt, Kiszonak’s credentials include a trilingual background with conversational language skills in Arabic and French. His typical project responsibilities include providing executive coordination and management activities in the areas of planning, programming and design.

About HKS, Inc.

HKS, Inc. is a leading architectural design firm ranked among the top five architectural engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine. Since its founding in 1939, HKS has completed construction projects totaling more than $77 billion in more than 1,498 cities located in 84 countries. The firm, with more than 1,000 employees, operates from 27 offices worldwide including Abu Dhabi, London, Shanghai, São Paolo, Mexico City and New Delhi. For more information, visit or contact Trish Martineck at

MENA team contacts: Ala Hason at; Simon Thomas at and Mark Kiszonak at


Tagged Ala Hason, MENA architectural firm, Simon Thomas