Meet Anne Hutton. To say Anne is a jack of all trades may just be an understatement. In addition to playing a key role on planning projects throughout the Middle East, she is spending part of the summer at Roxy Girls Surf Camp in Morocco, has white water rafted down the Blue Nile in Uganda, and is a Grade 8 Conservative Piano. It is these diverse experiences, from a life lived across the globe, that allow Anne to understand people and place in a unique way. (And gain the trust of clients, consultants, + teammates.) Basically, she is fierce!
What is the most rewarding project you’ve worked on and why?
In 2010 the Urban Planning Council (UPC) hired HOK to work on the South Spine Master Plan which is a 503 ha site and part of the new Capital District that is being developed for Abu Dhabi. We were tasked with taking the existing concept master plan and developing it into a greater level of detail to reflect a mid to high density residential city and mixed use environment that will be connected through a well-developed public transit system.
This was a great project in that it truly reflected the direction and the commitment that the Middle East is making in terms of progressive and sustainable development. Additionally, the project team based in both Dubai and Toronto were incredible to work with. As the project manager in Dubai I worked directly with the client and the sub consultants, but given the complexity of the project it was truly amazing how seamlessly the project team worked together, and the project would not have been the success it was without Toronto’s talent and understanding of the ME.
What is it like practicing architecture in the Middle East as a woman?
The Middle East is a very diverse and evolving part of the world and in particular Dubai is home to many cultures and nationalities. As a result of that and the acceptance of the local people, my time in Dubai and working within this environment has been very positive. I have learnt an incredible amount from the clients and consultants that I have interacted with and look forward to continuing to work within this environment.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
The night before I moved to Kenya to work in Somalia for the UN my Father showed me which wires to cut on a land mine and a few other survival tricks, which I shouldn’t disclose – can’t give all my secrets away…
What is a professional life-lesson you would like to pass on to those reading this blog post?
Having travelled and worked overseas for a number of years, I have had the opportunity to interact with many different people and cultures. As a result of these life experiences, my recommendation is to be open to new experiences and accepting of diverse cultures so that it will further inform the projects you are working on, in addition to being able to respond and adapt more effectively to new and challenging work situations.
Outside of the office… how do you like to spend your time?
On a day to day basis, I enjoy running (even when the temperatures are regularly over 40 degrees Celsius) and hitting the beach for some chill out time. The evenings during the winter in Dubai are incredible providing great excuse to get together with friends for dinner and having the Burj Khalifa as the back drop is a very nice way to spend a few hours!
I also love to travel and have had the good fortune to visit many different countries during my time at HOK, but one of my favorite spots is to go to the South of France and savour the beauty of the country and the simplicity of good wine and good food with friends and family. Additionally, my brother and his wife live in Lebanon and they just had a baby a few months ago, so I often make my way there to see the nephew and enjoy the fabulous city life of Beirut.