Hala El Akl, OEAL


Hala has over twelve years’ experience working on commercial, residential, retail and master planning projects in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. As an architect, urban designer and planner, she is interested in both the physical characteristics of a place and how planning, urban design, urban infrastructure and architecture can transform the urban experience and reshape contemporary culture.


In London, Hala’s work has focussed on architecture and master planning schemes, including a mixed-use development in Covent Garden at 90 Long Acre and the master plan of one of the capital’s historic estates, which sought to create a neighbourhood inspired by the diversity of the local culture. Hala also has contributed her expertise to a number of infrastructure projects involving Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail, addressing issues of urban transport and neighbourhood regeneration.


Hala co-led the award-winning concept masterplan for N+ Fashion City in Ningbo, China, a new urban genre that creates a city for fashion and contrasts the permanence of the built environment with the ephemeral transience of fashion. In the Qatar City Masterplan, she led the design of the Training and Education zone, and, in the nearby New Port Project in Doha, she established the urban principles of the master plan. She completed a residential-led concept masterplan in Lebanon, currently under construction, designed a high-end residential building in the Solidere District in Beirut, and has developed guidelines and architectural typologies for the residential district of the Arzanah masterplan in Abu Dhabi.


Other work includes the redesign, as part of an invited competition, of the Tour Montparnasse in Paris, a mixed-use development for Le Linéa at La Défense (also in Paris) and master plans for the University of Montpellier in France and for Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp, Belgium.


Prior to receiving her MSc in urban planning at the LSE, Hala graduated with a Master of Territorial and Urban Strategies from the International University Sciences Po in Paris in 2008 and a Bachelor of Architecture (with distinction) and Social Sciences from the American University of Beirut. She is a member of the Order of Engineers and Architects in Beirut, the Chair of the Young Leader’s Group for Urban Land Institute (ULI) Europe and the Chair of the Urban Art Forum for ULI UK.