Hala El Akl, OEAL


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


In London, Hala’s work includes architecture and masterplanning 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 where the challenge is to create a neighbourhood inspired by the multiplicity of the local culture.  Hala also contributes her expertise  to a number of infrastructure projects involving 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, a new urban genre that conceives a city, a relatively permanent construct, for fashion, a quintessentially ephemeral pursuit. 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 masterplan. 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 masterplans for the University of Montpellier in France and for Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp.


Prior to receiving her MSc in urban planning at LSE, Hala graduated with a Masters in Territorial and Urban Strategies from the International University Sciences Po in Paris in 2008 and a Bachelor of Architecture (distinction) and Social Sciences from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon in 2007. She is a member of the Order of Engineers and Architects in Beirut, the Co-chair of the Urban Land Institute ULI London Young Leaders Group and the Chair of the ULI Urban Art Forum.