Sahel Al-Hiyari is a Jordanian architect and painter. He was trained in architecture and fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, and received a master's degree in urban design from Harvard University; he later undertook doctoral studies in architecture at the University of Venice. He is the principal in the architectural firm Sahel Al-Hiyari and Partners; previously, he undertook design work with Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) in Cairo, and Machado Silvetti Associates in Boston. During 2003, Mr. Al-Hiyari was the first architect honoured by the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, and thereafter worked closely with the architect Alvaro Siza in Portugal. Mr. Al-Hiyari's paintings have been exhibited in Jordan, Lebanon and Italy.
The project devised a visual structure for a new facade for an arts foundation, giving it a less domestic and more institutional appearance. It also involved some general preservation work on three 1920s houses. The idea for the layered form of the new facade emerged from the nature of the site itself - a complex stratification of diverse historical layers. Rather than attempt a nostalgic interpretation of the site’s historical content, the strategy was to add another layer hybridising the two elements - concrete and stone - that set the cadence of the surrounding neighbourhood.