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Muthu Krishna: Architect & Artist

Muthu Krishna is a skilled architect working for Hill International in Doha, Qatar. In addition to his architectural abilities, Muthu is a decorated photographer and painter. He has received several awards and accolades over the years for his art. These include the Photography Society of America’s bronze medal during the AFAN 2017 competition. Muthu was also named Gulf News’ Photographer of the Month in September 2014 and April 2017. Throughout his career, Muthu’s artistic skills have complimented and enhanced his architectural skills. Vice versa, his architectural skills have helped to shape Muthu’s continued artistic development. Hill is proud to have offered Muthu flexibility and development opportunities to support his growth as an architect and as an artist.

Originally from Bangalore, India, Muthu has been living in the Middle East for the past ten years. Having joined Hill in 2017, he has since worked on high-profile construction projects throughout the region. These include the Dhofar Beach Resort in Salalah, Oman and, currently, the Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar.

Since moving to the Middle East, Muthu has drawn artistic inspiration from the region’s unique landscape and culture.  “You can shoot landscapes featuring everything from sandstorms over a village to a foggy urban morning,” says Muthu. “There is classic Islamic architecture in rural souqs and there are glittering skylines in massive cities like Dubai. The diversity of visual material is stunning!”

Other targets for Muthu’s camera include the people of the Middle East. He has captured stylized portraits highlighting trends in fashion as well as candid images of cameleers in traditional garb as they move through the desert. Likewise, the food culture of the region has been a theme for Muthu. Dates, spices, coffee, and other local delicacies have been lavishly captured in his photography.

While scenes from the Middle East have captured his attention most recently, Muthu’s interests are expansive. “Nature is really my first teacher,” says Muthu. “Her various colors and textures have captivated me since childhood. We’ve been provided with an entire world to look upon, and I’d like to photograph moments around the globe.” Accordingly, some of Muthu’s work captures soaring mountain peaks and verdant waterfalls in Nepal.

For his artistic influences, Muthu looks to individuals like Steve McCurry, an American whose work has likewise engaged deeply with images from the Middle East. He also mentions the Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheik Hamdan Bin Rashid Mohammed. In addition to being a photographer who shares his photos via Instagram regularly, the Prince has supported the field of photography by establishing an annual photography contest.

Muthu’s passionate images of landscapes, fashion, portraits, and architecture have been celebrated in different channels and awarded by a variety of institutions. These include organizations in the U.S., the Middle East, and in India. In UAE and India especially, Muthu’s work has been highly appraised. There, he was chosen amongst the top 23 artists for Essen Communications’ “Fairs, Festivals and Rituals of India” photo exhibition. CNN broadcasted Muthu’s work during Dubai’s 2011 Fashion Week. Muthu was given the opportunity to cover Dubai’s 2012 Film Festival. Even the National Geographic has featured Muthu’s photography.

The most recent artistic triumph for Muthu materialized on December 2, 2019—UAE’s National Day. For the 48th anniversary of the national holiday, Muthu was selected to provide an art piece for an exhibition featuring forty seven of the finest artists across the world. This year, the exhibition theme was “Treasures of Arabia.” Two such treasures, the dates and the people, appear in Muthu’s photograph for the gallery. The photo depicts a man’s hands, rough and worked. These hands kindly offer to the viewer a batch of dates. “This inviting generosity seemed an appropriate theme for UAE’s National Day,” says Muthu.

Stunningly, Muthu accomplishes his artistry while working as an architectural professional on major projects for Hill’s team. During his first job with Hill, Muthu served as the FF&E (finishes, furniture, and equipment) inspector on the Dhofar Beach Resort project in Salalah, Oman. “A lot of the furniture incorporated natural elements—coffee tables were made from tree trunks and chairs incorporated tree roots for legs, for example,” says Muthu. “The finishes were also customized to a huge degree across the resort. These factors made the project very memorable. In addition, the client was very interested in the architectural details, so our discussions at progress meetings were very fruitful and productive.” Muthu helped shape the five-star image the Dhofar Beach Resort until 2019, when he moved onto his current project with Hill.

Muthu currently provides his architectural services as an architect on the HIA extension project in Doha, Qatar. This massive airport project entails high expectations and high pressure for the whole Hill team. But Muthu is undeterred. He says: “Hill has assigned me to a really spectacular project at HIA. I consider this project to be a milestone in my career since HIA was ranked as the fourth-best airport in the world and the best airport in the Middle East at the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards in 2019. It has served over 187 million passengers since opening in 2014 and is currently a candidate for ‘World Best Airport’ in the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. So, while I anticipate a lot of challenges, I’m looking forward to helping my fantastic team deliver this project at one of the world’s finest airports.”

The HIA expansion aims to increase the capacity of the airport to nearly 60 million passengers and 6 million tons of cargo annually. In addition to new airside and landside facilities, HIA’s expansion will include a 10,000 SM tropical garden with a 268 SM water feature in the central concourse. The extensions and upgrades require careful management, especially of their architectural features. Hill Lead Design Manager Dimitrios Prekas, to whom Muthu reports, says: “Muthu will be a great asset for our team in helping to keep the work at the airport in line with design specifications. As a painter myself, I really appreciate Muthu’s artistic eye. It will help him make decisions carefully about design plans and implementation, especially on portions of the project necessarily aesthetic in nature, such as the garden.

Conversely, Muthu regularly draws upon his own architectural expertise to help shape how he captures the world’s beauty. “For instance,” Muthu says, “I really appreciate the U.S. style of maintaining straight lines through architectural elements—a line that flows from flooring tile to the wall cladding to a false ceiling. You can find such lines emerging in nature or create them artificially for a shot. It creates a very interesting visual effect.” Muthu cites other architectural practices, like blending hardscape and softscape, for crafting diversity within an image. Whether viewing his photos or his architectural work, Muthu’s eye for perspective, angles, attention to detail, and aesthetic value is apparent.

“I’ve learned a lot since I started with Hill, too,” says Muthu. “Each project demands different levels of coordination between disciplines, so you always have to be prepared to learn more about your field and how it relates to other fields on a project. Plus I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with many people, who have different visions for what a certain finished project will look like. Working through those visions together with clients and colleagues has ultimately improved my artistic sensibilities.”

Muthu looks forward to experiencing more in the way of culture through Hill as well. He says, “Upon completing my service on the HIA project, I would like the opportunity to work in other countries around the globe. That way, I hope to learn more about and photographically explore cultures and architecture around the world. And I believe that opportunity will be open to me. In my experience, Hill has positive recruitment practices. They keep staff data carefully and so are able to bring employees back onto suitable jobs as they are announced.”

Hill International takes pride in all of its employees. We are excited to watch as Muthu’s splendid career as an architect and as an artist evolves. Please have a look at Muthu’s photography portfolio on his website here:

Hill proudly maintains an excellent body of professionals around the globe, but we are also always looking for new driven and talented professionals. If you are interested in bringing your personal and professional passions to the Hill team, take a look at Hill’s career page at: