Name: Najeeb Hameen
Firm: M Moser Associates
Practicing City: New York City
Type of Work: Workplace / Corporate Interiors
Featured Project: Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Location: 375 Hudson St, New York, NY
Completion Date: 2016
Your Role: Project Manager/Project Architect
Project Description: M Moser assisted Saatchi & Saatchi with evaluations of densification strategy to consolidate their business units into one floor by utilizing an open floor plan, which allowed for a series of collaborative spaces. The overall goal was to achieve a new space that was edgy, modern, and fitting of their creative brand. Existing office fronts were removed to contain costs, thereby creating open rooms on the perimeter. The walls provided ample opportunity for the creative staff to pin up work in process and display their creative efforts with the staff. The interior open plan has a floating linear slot wood ceiling strategically placed to create hub areas where collaborative spaces have been created. Shared conference room and meeting areas were dispersed along the perimeter to provide spaces with acoustical privacy and balance the open floor plan. The main café space has been located on the west side of the floor at the perimeter windows for sweeping views of the Hudson River.
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Photographer Credit - Eric Laignel
How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that it was an area of interest for you?
I am the product of a Jazz musician (drummer) and educator father, and former filmmaker now recently retired school teacher mother. I was raised in a creative household with siblings in the arts (Dancer/future educator sister and Jazz drummer prodigy brother). Being a talented and gifted teenager I was blessed to have an art teacher who helped me build a portfolio that helped me get accepted to LaGuardia HS. I was also enrolled in the year round pre-preparatory schooling program called Prep for Prep 9 which afforded me the opportunity to go to Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school. I finished up High School in Harlem at A Phillip Randolph Campus HS where they had an Engineering program that exposed me to Architectural drafting classes in which I easily excelled. The high school placed me in a summer program with the NYC School Construction Authority that assigned me to an internship on the construction site of the new Townsend Harris HS in Flushing Queens designed by HOK. That experience changed my life because I was shadowing an Architect and the Site Superintendent while working daily in the job site trailer seeing the inner workings of a building being constructed from the ground up. That summer solidified my path towards Architecture and here I am today still in the field of Architecture. My exposure to music, film and other expressive fields has greatly influenced and informed my work as can be seen by the broad reach of my completed project types.
What do you do?
I work as a Project Manager and have successfully delivered projects in Broadcast Media, Workplace/Corporate Interiors, Luxury Retail, Banking and Finance, Advertising Agencies, Research and Development/Technology, Residential, Hospitality and Restaurants, and Infrastructure sectors for global clientele. My role is to lead the effort to help take a client’s need for a new space to house their business, and my team’s vision for that space to fruition as a successfully delivered space ready to receive its new tenants and allow that culture to thrive in its new home.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
That process of implementing the design by bringing together all of stakeholders is what I enjoy. That process is successful by healthy collaboration and leadership of a team focused on delivering a space to the end users. Seeing a list of needs go from a floor plan with department and staff names to a fully populated space buzzing with lively energy is a fulfilling endeavor. The sense of accomplishment is achieved when the finished product is realized and handed off to the client.
What excites you in the work you do?
I am focused on successful implementation of the project delivery process and bringing to fruition the progressive ideas developed in my projects on behalf of my clients. Of course when the work that we toil over and devote months of our lives to gets recognized in a national publication or receives an award, is a moment that creates a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. However the most rewarding feeling is seeing a happy client thriving in their new space and receiving the feedback of how much their quality of life is improved by their new creative, sustainable and productive setting that I was directly responsible for. Being recognized by peers for something we do daily is an honor and a privilege to say the least. Working as an architect is a career that demands much in the way of time but it has a uniquely tangible reward in that we are providing a physical end product that goes into the world to be experienced by many after being created by the few.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
I gain inspiration from many places such as music, film, culture and a dedication to service. I enjoy being able to infuse my natural talents and interests within my work when possible. I also am involved with service and professional organizations so that sense of community and devotion to service fuels my client work.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?
One of my proudest moments was having a client so pleased with my work of leading the team to complete their new space, that this client showed such appreciation for my presence on the project that he requested the honor of attending my wedding. I was more than happy to have him and some colleagues join in attendance. Indeed it was a wonderful day that included the presence of a truly happy client to help me (and my wife) celebrate as I entered a new phase of life, just as I had done for him.
How long have you been involved with nycoba NOMA?
My history with NYCOBA and NOMA goes back to 2003 and I have served both locally and nationally in several positions. I am a former NYCOBA-NOMA Parliamentarian, Recording Secretary, member of the 2003-2004 NYC NOMA Conference Planning Committee, as well as the immediate past national Parliamentarian having served three consecutive two-year terms on the National Executive Board under four NOMA Presidents.
Why are you a nycoba NOMA member?
My time serving NOMA is very important and I annually give up my free time by volunteering to participate locally so that we as Architects of African descent continue to have a longstanding presence and a louder voice each year. Our membership benefits from members with history and dedication to the organization’s mission. Whether we are having a business focused session in a showroom where our firm practitioners are providing insight on various work sectors or we are nurturing young minds at the Project Pipeline Architectural Camp programs, our impact is widely felt and very necessary. I treat my NOMA membership dues like a utility bill in that they will automatically get paid because I believe we need NOMA like we need electricity in our homes.
What do you value most about your nycoba NOMA membership?
I get the most value from my NOMA membership when I interact with my fellow NYCOBA-NOMA members both young and old. We are trading ideas, sharing opportunities, providing formal and informal mentorship and tutelage, and most importantly building the bonds of family and friendship in this field of Architecture that has so few people of color. I love being able to share my time with my NOMA family and look forward seeing NYCOBA-NOMA continue to fulfill its mission and serve not only its membership but the greater community at large.