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Abu Dhabi / Buildings / Projects director

Jon Watts

John on a bicycle


Mott MacDonald respects and values each and every employee whilst actively supporting career development

Why did you choose to join Mott MacDonald?

I decided to join Mott MacDonald for one simple reason; Mott MacDonald respects and values each and every employee whilst actively supporting career development. This for me was extremely refreshing, in a marketplace of competitors particularly within the Middle East, that struggle at best to demonstrate such commitment to its staff.

What is the best thing about your role?

I would say that the most fulfilling part of my role at Mott MacDonald as Projects Director is the opportunity it affords, to both communicate with many different people in many different countries and collaborate with other business units within the company. My position also provides a great opportunity to be an active part of the company’s future business development in the region.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

I would define the company culture at Mott MacDonald as one of strong collaboration and teamwork. A culture that actively seeks the input of staff at all levels to solve problems, interrogate design matters, understand key risks and deliver projects to the highest quality and standards through the “CLASS” system (Communication, Leadership, Assurance of Quality, Supervision and Staff competence). Whilst each of the elements of this system are present in today’s marketplace, based on my experience to date, the successful combination of all five elements and active use of such a system on a daily basis is none more prevalent than at Mott MacDonald.

What project are you currently working on?

I am currently the Mott MacDonald Project manager for the “Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies” project; a post graduate education and research campus development, on a site located approximately 1 km to the north-west of Qatar University. The Project comprises of a total of 20 buildings with a combined gross floor area of approximately 66,000 m² spread over a 100 hectare site. The key elements of this project are buildings that provide facilities for Cultural learning, Research and Academia studies along with onsite Residential accommodation for both staff and students. The development also comprises of F&B outlets, sporting facilities, Day Care Centre, Health Clinic and a Mosque.

A majority of these above mentioned facilities are founded on a common podium above a Basement Level comprising of a 700 space car park and a number of Service Utility and storage rooms with a gross floor area of approximately 44,000m².

Mott MacDonald’s role for this project is providing sub-consultancy Engineering design services to our Client to B+H Architects, whom are Lead Consultant for this development owned by Private Engineering Office.

What is the best thing about living in the country you live in?

Living in United Arab Emirates provides the opportunity to experience a wide range of cultures and food along with the chance to meet many interesting people from all parts of the world. Being based in Abu Dhabi, the focal point for the city is the Corniche, which provides fantastic views by day and a wondrous display of illuminations and activity by night. Abu Dhabi is such an exciting and impressive city hosting the F1 Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship each year, along with many other world renowned sports events; I feel privileged to be part of this city and have the opportunity to see the development of world class developments.

Who or what inspires you?

My answer to this question is twofold; the “who” is my Father and the “what” is Modern Architecture. Like myself, my Father is also a Chartered Architect who has had a significant influence on my life. Traditional design skills, clear communication and most importantly professionalism are core principles that have been imparted to me over the years, and have assisted me greatly in my career to date. As an Architect, I have also been greatly inspired by Post War Modern Architecture or Modernism that was based on the "rational" use of materials, the principles of functionalist planning, and the rejection of historical precedent and ornament. Such early modern movement leaders as Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, completely revolutionised building design by reducing buildings to pure forms, removing historical references and ornament in favour of functionalist details to create beauty based on the inherent qualities of building materials and modern construction techniques, that still influence not only myself but the construction industry to this day.

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