Managing Partner Brian Johnson Recognised with Lifetime Achievement Award

By October 28, 20192019, Articles
Brian Johnson Godwin Austen Johnson

Recognising years of dedication to the architectural industry Brian Johnson has been presented with the 2019 Design Middle East Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Design Middle East Awards.

Chosen by a panel of judges the award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the design and architecture sector in the region during his/her career.

Brian first came to work in Dubai in 1975 when he was 25 years old and he was fortunate enough to have been made the Dubai-based partner of a UK practice some months later. He worked in Dubai until 1989 before deciding to leave to join a c.150 year old UK practice as a partner in what became Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ).

During this 14 year period he realised that Dubai was not only a fascinating place to live and work but also a land of opportunity and when he was asked to undertake a competition entry for the Dubai Creek Golf Clubhouse in 1990, based on his involvement with the Emirates Golf Clubhouse three years earlier, he realised that this was his chance to return to the UAE and to build upon his contacts and experience from those earlier years.

The Dubai Creek Golf Clubhouse, the Creek Yacht Club and the other two buildings on that project kept him busy for a while and then he was asked to design the Palm Tree Court Extension at the Jebel Ali Hotel.

He had originally designed the Dubai College in 1978 with his old practice and they invited him to take over the work again and this, combined with work with Mirage Mille on the One&Only Royal Mirage and the Bab al Shams Desert Resort, led to the majority of the work in recent years being in the hospitality and education industries.

“For the last 44 years the UAE has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to practice in a profession that I love – it has truly been a ‘land of opportunity’ for me,” said Brian.

Brian’s distinctive style and uncompromising resolve for design excellence has made him, and GAJ, the design firm of choice for many distinguished projects including Al Seef Dubai, Al Bait in Sharjah and Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa in Abu Dhabi and has resulted in the firm winning an array of architectural awards.