Nabil Fanous, co-founder of Omrania, passes away

Nabil Fanous 1940 – 2017


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Nabil Fanous, co-founder of Omrania and a distinguished architect who made vital contributions to the places and people touched by his work.  On behalf of the team of Omrania, we wish to offer our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the family of Mr. Nabil Fanous.  Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you.

Mr. Fanous is remembered as an architect who had an exceptional design talent and a ‘sleeves rolled up’ approach to work. He had a special attention to details and was personally involved in design projects from start to finish.  He believed in the value of well-designed built environments, and in the close working relationship between architects and clients.  He also believed that each project is unique, and could have its own style and design solutions generated by the fusion of the specific ingredients of client, site, programme and budget.

Mr. Fanous studied in Leeds, England, where he received his Diploma in Architecture in 1963.  He started his career training and working with noted architects and construction firms.  In 1971, he started his own private practice in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  And in 1973, he joined Mr. Basem Shihabi to take on the international design competition of the GOSI Headquarters in Riyadh. They won the competition and partnered to form a small atelier.  Through hard work and innovative design solutions, the two partners grew their practice — Omrania — to become one of the leading architecture and engineering consultancy firms in Saudi Arabia.  In 1986, Mr. Fanous left Omrania, establishing an independent architectural office in London, where he continued his successful pursuit of excellence in design.

Mr. Fanous designed a series of signature projects across Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, England, Canada, Germany, Turkey, and the Philippines.  He was involved in some of the most celebrated architectural projects in Saudi Arabia, including the Tuwaiq Palace, Banque Saudi Fransi Olaya Branch in Riyadh, Spimaco Pharmaceuticals, Al-Rajhi Capital, the Arab Urban Development Institute, and the Saudi Embassy in Berlin, Germany.  The quality of his work has been recognized by a number of industry design awards such as the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998 for Tuwaiq Palace, the award of ‘excellence in design’ from the American Institute of Architects in 1995 for the Saudi Lighting Laboratory, and the Architectural Review / MIPIM Future Project Honourary Award in 2001 for the Al Qahtani Tower.  He was also named a finalist for the British Construction Industry Awards in 1998 and won the Innovation In Structures Award from the Institute of Structural Engineers in 1999, both for the unique glass cube room at the Arab Urban Development Institute.

Mr. Fanous served society via architecture for over half a century with great dignity and dedication. His contributions to Omrania and to the architectural landscape of Saudi Arabia will long be remembered.  May he rest in peace.