Rags-to-riches stories are a classic, not for their ability to make the main participant famous, but for their power of being an inspiration to people facing different types of challenges. These stories have also helped many people break the ice in their respective industries. Like the person involved, a rags-to-riches story can propel you to unimaginable success.
Mohamed Hamdoun was born on the western side of Beirut, back when the town was glowing in the success of developments. Soon afterward, however, the country underwent civil war which led to massive destruction and deaths.
For a city that had been destroyed and rebuilt 7 times, the war was just another trying moment for the inhabitants. For the eighth time, not including the earthquakes, fire and tidal waves that had hit the city, the people knew they would get back on their feet.
At an early age, Mohamed Hamdoun knew what it was like to lose someone close; how to stand up even after a storm. No obstacle kept him from his dream of getting an education and pursuing one of the most revered courses and an illustrious career.
Journey to the Top
Mohamed Hamdoun went through a popular although not-so-prestigious school, the National Protestant College. He later studied BSc. Architecture and Design from the American University of Beirut (AUB) where he scored highly.
In addition to his academic qualifications, the acute mastery of both Arabic and English also helped Hamdoun to succeed in his career. He started his own construction company, Archistyle & Design at a very early age and has grown it to be one of the most reputable names in the city.
Mohamed Hamdoun has twelve years plus of experience in professional architectural design and consulting in institutions and offices in Beirut, Boston, New York, Cambridge, London, and Geneva. He has also received multiple awards in the banking and in the construction sectors.
But perhaps his greatest success is with his family. There is no success any man can claim if he can’t take care of his family. Mohamed Hamdoun has done a good job with his two daughters and son who are already going through school.
Protecting Beirut’s Heritage
There are roughly about 572 heritage properties that have not been tampered with in Beirut. According to Mohamed Hamdoun, at least 150 of such buildings have been lost to natural disasters and also investors demolishing them to erect skyscrapers.
In the recent years, there has been a momentum buildup in support of the heritage preservation movement in Beirut. Hamdoun is hoping that the government will soon pass legislation so that the districts with many heritage buildings are protected. His firm is working with other popular architects in the city to ensure that even as high-rise constructions come up, there is no further destruction of the few remaining heritage buildings.
He has also proposed tax incentives for property owners who protect and restore their heritage buildings. One heritage building that can be a monument for decades is the Red House. Although the new Culture Minister in Lebanon, Ghattas Khoury has removed it from the list of protected heritage structures, Mohamed Hamdoun is advocating for it to be used even as a library and to be placed back on the “untouchables” list.