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Rising Star: Hamza Shaikh

Words:
Eleanor Young

Architect, podcast host, artist and influencer, exploring experimental architectural drawing

Architect, artist, Gensler   Part 1: 2017 Part 2: 2020

Hamza Shaikh has always been intrigued by experimental drawing methods and the possibilities of architectural representation. His referee, Chris Hildrey, architect, founder of the Hildrey Studio and a 2018 Rising Star explains: ‘Hamza’s commitment to architectural engagement is impressive and effective.’ 

He documented his earliest forays on Instagram where he started to get a strong following (he has nearly 35,000 followers). A book followed this year, Drawing Attention: Architecture in the Age of Social Media, a RIBA Publishing bestseller; along with an exhibition of the same name at the Roca Gallery. His YouTube videos demystify the process of drawing – the most watched one now has over 22,000 views. He has also presented at schools of architecture. 

His reach is undeniable but has been given added impetus by his exploration of artificial intelligence, melding it with traditional sketching techniques. He has offered seminars on this to share his learning and experience with other architects. And all this while working in practice, completing his Part 3 and bringing up a young son. 

His entrepreneurialism has now secured him a new title at Gensler as architect and digital artist, working to understand and best to implement AI visualisation. With Gensler’s 7,000 employees it is clear his influence on the discourse around architectural visualisation will continue to grow.

‘He’s agenda-setting at the intersection of social media, AI and architecture, and is a thought leader in this space,’ said Betty Owoo. ‘He’s pushing the boundaries; bringing debate and expertise to an area that needs to be approached with responsibility.’

  • For a Design Museum manifestos event, Shaikh came up with this drawing to help rethink sacred space.
    For a Design Museum manifestos event, Shaikh came up with this drawing to help rethink sacred space.
  • Shaikh’s drawing: Shared place of worship.
    Shaikh’s drawing: Shared place of worship.
  • Hamza Shaikh’s drawing bringing together many of the best examples of religious buildings.
    Hamza Shaikh’s drawing bringing together many of the best examples of religious buildings.
  • Example of using AI to transform a sketch into a visualisation.
    Example of using AI to transform a sketch into a visualisation.
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What existing building, place and problem would you most like to tackle?
I am very passionate about rethinking sacred spaces. I believe the need for pause, reflection and awe within the noise of our busy cities is needed now more than ever. I see a unique and much-needed opportunity to revitalise our existing places of worship – especially those that have become disused or run down.

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