James Wright | FAIA, NCARB

Tannar Whitney | AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Director - Zone 1, AIA International Region

Associate at Skidmore Owings and Merill

Click here to e-mail


Tannar Whitney is a Project Architect with significant experience on large scale mixed use and civic projects both domestically in the United States and internationally.  Mr. Whitney has a leadership role in guiding projects from Pre-concept through Final Design, ensuring continuity of design intent through to detail execution.  As an Associate for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’s New York office, Mr. Whitney came to the UAE in 2010 to manage the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City project in Abu Dhabi.  During the ensuing 5 years, he has been instrumental in growing the firm’s Middle East practice and has worked on a range of building types in the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Prior to developing expertise in the Middle East market, Mr. Whitney was the Technical Coordinator for the expansion of JFK Airport’s International Terminal 4 in New York City, and earlier in his tenure with SOM, he was an integral part of the design group for super-tall and mixed-use developments in the Asia Pacific region; most notably SOM’s Digital Media City Tower in Seoul, Korea.

Mr. Whitney is currently a point person for SOM’s headquarter office in New York managing clients and monitoring project progress from SOM’s branch location in Abu Dhabi.  He collaborates with local partners, ensures projects obtain approvals and effectively manages the coordination process between the Architecture team and local consultants, while traveling to throughout the region as required.

Additionally, Mr. Whitney previously worked as a Designer for firms in Los Angeles, CA and in Honolulu, HI.  Mr. Whitney has taught as an Assistant Studio Professor at Columbia University in New York and given presentations in the Middle East on select SOM Projects and a range of other topics.

Mr. Whitney is a Registered Architect in the state of New York and a LEED Accredited Professional.  He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University in New York and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Before serving in his current capacity as the AIA Middle East 2015 President, Tannar previously held positions as AIA ME 2014 Vice-President and AIA ME 2013 Treasurer.